We’ve come to a great chasm in our country precipitated by polarizing viewpoints of what is best for our country. There is a harsh and bitter divide brewing in rhetoric, snarky humor, and resurfacing of buried hurts and prejudices. Families, friends, cohorts, fraternal organizations, and other associations are experiencing tearing apart over oppositional viewpoints. We are rapidly moving toward the nation divided of which Abraham Lincoln posited we would not stand.
The word judgment suggests that we’ve come to a decision after careful thought. Yet the judgments being lambasted upon respondents to Facebook posts seem much more impulsive and emotional. Careful thought has gone begging. The word, judgmental, on the other hand, displays an excessively critical point of view.
I grew up with extremely critical parents. As a troubled adult, I found that legacy creeping into my vernacular whenever my own personal self-judgments got projected onto nearby others. Easier to deflect the self-criticisms perhaps than to own up to the underlying self-esteem issues at the real heart of the matter. If I wasn’t projecting onto others; I was self-flagellating in damaging words.
It took some time of attempting to walk in another person’s shoes and the vagaries of my own life’s unfolding, to realize how harmful criticism is (both self and other). As an artist and author, I’ve been the recipient of criticism that demonstrated our collective wounds in glaring clarity. I found a quote in a book I just read that captured this for me poignantly. “…first rule of being an artist or doing anything creative is to do it for yourself and consider the source when someone criticizes your work.”
The bible reminds us to cast not the first stone yet stoning with words seems to be the game du jour of our present environment. From a shamanic perspective, words can be spell casting. One of the first Toltec premises for a more joyous life, is to become impeccable with our words; reframe from causing harm.
Beyond our words doing harm, are our negative thoughts. Each, and every, time we see someone perhaps dressed in a way we do not approve of; our judgment is telepathically sent to the person. A sensitive person perceives this. Imagine the fog of judgment floating through the air every day just from our less than stellar thoughts. Now add pixels of projected negativity through our tablets, cell phones, computers, etc. It’s amazing we are not all going around like the old cartoon character Joe Btfsplk in Li’l Abner who always had a dark cloud over his head.
So, what is the solution? How do we arrest this judgmental tendency in ourselves, our circle of friends, and our nation? My answer is paying attention; noticing. It begins with us. From our first thoughts when we get out of bed until the last thoughts before we go to sleep, we are thinking. Much of the thoughts are not positive. If we tune into any media daily, we have had our consciousness filled with thoughts of human failings. Add to that our own self-judgments and then our stated unhappiness with those around us, and we have a compost pile of very putrid debris.
First solution is NOT to berate yourself; very important. Notice the thought; thank it; advise it that you are complete with its message; and send it back to the nothingness from which it came. No harm; no foul. Follow this with a positive thought about whatever was coming up.
I KNOW this is a huge challenge. Facebook is filled with negative media and just a few truly inspiring stories. If you’re posting 10 a day; make 9 of them positive. If you must post a negative to arouse people towards change, couch the posting by substituting “Ain’t it awful” with “this is such a great message for us to really awaken and affirm, though actions and words, for a more humane perspective.”
Most definitely, I am not advocating for burying our heads in the sand when crucial issues for human existence are at stake. Simply suggesting, I am, that we spin it to the positive. “Look how clear this example is for bringing us to collective change for good. See how it is demonstrating in vivid colors, the ways we need to change and experience our society. What a gift!”
Look, I’m not setting myself up as a saint here or saying that I do this all the time. Good Lord, no! What this tome is about is taking baby steps towards a consciousness of love and compassion so that we do create a world where everyone thrives. We do everything we are capable of to create positive change for the common good. And, we take time to look inside the flowers of life to see their magnificence!
"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies...Something your hand touched some way, so your soul has somewhere to go when you die...It doesn't matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it, into something that's like you after you take your hands away." Ray Bradbury
"You can't make footprints in the sands of time by sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?" Bob Moawad
😊 A little humor to end on!