I once judged someone I was coaching. It was my 3rd day on the job, meaning my 3rd day of coaching training. My “client” shared something about her life that, as it turned out, was a trigger for me. I felt myself closing against her. I heard my thoughts: How can you do that? Why would you believe that? I wished she hadn’t told me. I wished I wasn’t coaching her.
And then, after what could have been moments or minutes, my Higher Self stepped in.
Ashley, you want to be a phenomenal coach. If you’re going to be a phenomenal coach you can’t judge those you’re coaching. So listen. Just empty your mind and listen. Listen.
So that’s what I did. I turned off the mental chatter and heard, really heard, what she was saying, what she was struggling with. And then I coached her through it. Without judgment.
At the end of the session she thanked me, especially for not judging her.
In the short span of time that we came together in search of her truth I saw her–her depth, her pain, her desire. And we were ever after connected to one another.
As Bruce D. Schneider writes in Relax, You’re Already Perfect:
Throughout your life, people have judged you and you have judged them. As you created and perpetuated judgment, you also created and perpetuated an illusory feeling of separation between you and those around you. This feeling of separation has led to more unhappiness in your life than you can imagine. You are better than no one and no one is better than you.
We judge to make ourselves feel good enough or worthy, to preserve our “right-ness,” yet in a cruel twist it ends up doing what so many of us also struggle against–judgment separates. We desire meaningful connection to others, yet our egos keep us from having it as we attempt to build ourselves up in ways that never work anyway. So we remain void of both connection and of feeling that we are enough just as we are.
You encounter countless opportunities to judge others. What can you do to make it less likely that you will?
- Take a deep breath and quiet your mind. Don’t let judgmental thoughts in. Don’t let any thoughts in until you can trust that they’ll be compassionate or loving.
- Be curious. Ask questions that you’re genuinely interested in hearing the answers to. You never know when a response may move you from judgment to empathy. (A great one to think about even if you don’t feel comfortable asking it is, “What do you really want?” You’ll often realize that the other person probably wants the same things you do.)
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Imagine you’re sharing something that you feel uncertain, vulnerable, or defensive about. How would you want to be responded to? Do that.
- Work on yourself. The better you feel about who you are and the choices you’ve made the easier it is to not judge others.
- Have lots of conversations in which you suspend judgment. You’ll soon be able to see our common humanity and judgment of it will no longer be a temptation.
Want help working on yourself, so you can judge less and connect more? Schedule a complimentary coaching session!