Have you ever noticed that some people are very quick to criticize or judge others?
They make unkind comments about someone’s looks, skills, values, religion, etc. etc. and honestly, it pains me at the core to see this.
You see, we are not as separate from one another as we think we are. Judging others is no reflection on the person being judged, it’s a reflection of the person doing the judging.
When we choose to see the worst in someone, or to focus on what we don’t like about them, two things happen:
1. If it’s a person you interact with, your attitude will influence their behavior. For example, if you have an employee who doesn’t perform her tasks as quickly as you would like, you might judge her as lazy and consciously or unconsciously, you will treat her like a lazy person, which can lead her to start thinking of herself as lazy, and her work will slow down even more.
But… what if you chose to see the best in her instead of the worst? What if you thought to yourself, “she’s meticulous and always delivers excellent work!” – sometimes one has to slow down in order to be meticulous. Then, with this new approach, you would find yourself seeing her differently, in a more positive light, and again, your “vibe” (your conscious and unconscious attitudes and behaviors) toward her would influence her behavior. This has been proven time and time again, most notably in the Hawthorne Effect and the Pygmalion Effect.
2. When you look for the good in others, you discover the best in yourself. In effect, you are training your Reticular Activating System to “sort for the good” in your environment. Have you ever experienced the phenomenon whereby when you decide you’re going to buy something specific, suddenly you see it everywhere? I’m not talking about search engines picking up your preferences and suddenly you see related ads – I’m talking about, for example, seeing a specific article of clothing that you want, and suddenly everyone – random people on the street – are wearing it. What happened is you trained your brain that “this is important” and so it naturally seeks it out in your environment! Now – if you have trained your brain to seek the worst in people, you will naturally see the worst in them. But you can train yourself to see the good, too, and the more good you see in the world, the more good you will see in yourself!
Tip: Whenever you find yourself judging someone, think about why it is you’re so zoned in on that flaw or whatever you dislike. There is something within you that you don’t like that causes this perception! Going back to the “lazy employee” example, if you were brought up believing that only hard work will bring happiness and success, then you naturally project that belief onto your employee. But try seeing things her way. Perhaps she’s so worried about losing her job that she’s paralyzed, because when she was growing up, her parents criticized her and found fault no matter what she did. Practice this kind of awareness, and you will start to have a much more compassionate view of the world.
You can also exaggerate the trait to make it have less of an emotional impact on you. Make it so ridiculous and outlandish – blow it totally out of proportion – to make the “real” trait lose its potency. If someone’s lazy, imagine them so lazy that they won’t even lift a spoon to their mouth or pick up a phone to text someone. Imagine them being so lazy that they won’t even open their mouth to talk, or open their eyes to see. Take it to the extreme – and suddenly their everyday behavior, that used to drive you nuts, will make them look as industrious as an ant or a bee!
3. Role-modeling is the best way to positively influence your children. Kids learn FROM YOU how to treat others, how to treat themselves, and how to behave in society. They see everything, all the time. They may not say anything but they do notice the way you speak and even look at your spouse. Whether you flare up or diffuse a situation… whether you react or respond…
Tip: The behaviors you see in your children are mirrors of your own behavior. Don’t take this as judgment – take it as the precious gift of awareness! Mediate on something negative your child has done, and instead of thinking about punishing them, reflect on why they acted or reacted the way they did.
When you start to see the whole world as a mirror of who you are, the puzzle pieces come together. You become much more empowered as you see that your perceptions and beliefs make you see a completely unique world… that things change as a result of the way you perceive them… and that by changing your beliefs, you literally change your world.