And It Generally Doesn’t Make Us Happy
Some of the world’s greatest wisdom traditions teach that to get what you want, look at removing that which you don’t want.
So, one way to get happiness is to remove all the things that make us unhappy.
And one of the things that causes the greatest unhappiness is judgment.
When Did Judgment Last Make You Smile?
Think about the last time you said something mean about someone else—were you feeling good about yourself?
What about when you compared yourself, spiritually, financially, health, or otherwise—when you judged yourself against someone else, did you find it led to long-term satisfaction?
When something unexpected happened to you, and you judged the event as “bad,” did it give you want you want?
And of course, when you received judgment—from a boss, a partner, a parent, or even someone who you dislike—did you enjoy it?
When you judged FOX NEWS, or the Liberal Media, or the driver that cut you off, did you find yourself happier, more successful, with deeper friendships, or closer to God?
The point need not be labored further. Judgment is directly tied to unhappiness. And generally correlates with us not getting what we want.
Going Deeper: Judgment is Actually Impossible
A Course In Miracles provides a scathing and beautiful description of this process, taking us deeper into the insanity of judging. By seeing how ridiculous the idea of judgment really is, we are more able to hold our habitual judgments lightly, see that we are indeed making a choice to judge, and learn to choose once again.
“The aim of our curriculum, unlike the goal of the world’s learning, is the recognition that judgment in the usual sense is impossible. This is not an opinion but a fact. In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present, and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?”
Remember all the times you thought you knew all the ‘facts’ you needed for judgment, and how wrong you were! Is there anyone who has not had this experience? Would you know how many times you merely thought you were right, without ever realizing you were wrong? Why would you choose such an arbitrary basis for decision making? Wisdom is not judgment; it is the relinquishment of judgment.”
Be Gentle With Your Judgments
The tricky thing here is to be gentle with oneself, as there is no need to judge judgment either. To do so would again lack humility, pretending you had access to a ton of facts you do not have access to.
Instead, my encouragement is to simply notice the judgment as it arises. Watch what judgment brings into your life. It generally brings drama, emotional pain, separation from others, guilt, fear, and isolation.
Making Decisions Without Judgement
Watch with patience as the judgments arise again and again. Slowly but surely, you will come to doubt the efficacy of judgment, and over time its power will fade.
Then you can make decisions and take actions from a motivation of love. These actions may include setting strong boundaries or correcting error—like a parent who helps their child learn to walk—yet without judgment. Who judges a baby’s initial inability to walk?
 Not This, Not That
In some Eastern philosophies, for example, one transcends the limits of the ego not by asking “What am I?” but asking “What can I definitely say I am not?” I, Jordan, am not my thoughts—they come and go. I am not my body—it changes. And so on until we see the nature of emptiness and wake up to a state of peace and bliss.
Or take A Course in Miracles, a Western wisdom tradition, which aims to “remove the blocks to the awareness of Love’s Presence” which is thought to be our natural inheritance.