Are You Being Judgmental or Discerning?

“Beware so long as you live, of judging men by their outward appearance” Jean de La Fontaine

by my friend Lea over at oceanofperspectives.com

Life can be rather contradicting. I’ve been doing a lot of inner reflection recently and have had a few discussions with people I know, about various aspects of life.

To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about, the first contradiction I have difficulty with, and maybe you do too, is not judging people. I was taught that one should not judge and I have tried to avoid being judgmental. The thing is that not everyone who comes into your life is beneficial to your happiness or sense of well being and some people can be out right detrimental to you. I’m sure you can think of at least one person, whether from your past or is currently in your life to some varying degree, who matches this description.

Living Without Judging

You can not live in the moment with awareness without determining whether a relationship with someone is good or detrimental to you in some way. To give an extreme example, I was married to a very abusive man. In the beginning of the relationship, there were little behavior indicators that I was not comfortable with and my intuition was sending alerts constantly. But those alerts were always followed with my mother’s words, “Do not judge!” So I would feel a need to overlook or ignore these signs and the intuitive feedback I was getting.

These three words has made it impossible to set personal boundaries and enforce them. I would intuitively know when someone was crossing a boundary with me, but I felt powerless to enforce my boundaries because that would be “judging” them.
What Does Judging and Being Judgmental Mean?

Judgmental- Of relating to or involving judgment. Characterized by a tendency to judge harshly.

Judging- To form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises. To hold as an opinion.To form a negative opinion about-Merriman-Webster Dictionary
Can You Avoid Using Judgment?

I don’t think you can. We use our judgment every day in decision making. I think we can all agree that the intention of the saying, “Do not judge,” doesn’t pertain the decision making process that helps us decide, for example, where we would like to live and so on, though such decisions require use of our judgment.

Two more words that could be used are discern and discerning. If we look at discern and discerning, we will find these definitions-

Discerning- Showing insight and understanding.

Discern-To detect with senses. To see or understand the difference-Merriman-Webster Dictionary
When Judgment Becomes Discerning

Essentially, when you are aware that someone is disturbing your personal energy field, who is causing you repeated or constant negative feelings that interferes with your peace of mind, your inner balance and sense of wellbeing, you can view it as being discerning and any decision to remove yourself from the influence of this person requires using your judgment of what is best for you.

Do not judge refers to being unfair to people solely because they are different than us in some way and is ego based. If your opinion or judgment of someone makes you feel superior to them in some way, then you are using judgment negatively and with your ego. Racism and sexism is a form of judgment and displays its negative aspects. Using our judgment for correcting negative influences in our life, including other people, is a necessary process for our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health.

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