Do You Accept Others Without Judgment?
Have you noticed that as much as you pride yourself in your inclusionary thinking, you are still making judgments about people and situations? It was pointed out to me the other day, by a dear friend, that while they don’t believe I stereotype in the typical sense of the word, I draw conclusions about people, businesses and situations – who they are, their values, priorities, strengths, interests, gifts, and skills. And, then I put them in their own private “labeled box” – this is xxx, and this is what I know about them. My dear friend tells me that while this is not stereotyping, it could lead people to believe that there is little wiggle room for change. It could also lead to people feeling judged.
Being a life coach, and a student of change, this was a disconcerting observation for me to hear. So, I did what I do… I started doing some research to determine what this means for me.
In the online English department, it is stated that Stereotypes can be either positive or negative, but they are all unfair and misleading. In general, stereotypes reduce individuals to a rigid, inflexible image; they do not account for the fact that human beings are complex and multidimensional, with unique attributes. Stereotypes suggest that people or groups of people are the same, when, in fact, they are quite different. Stereotypes about human beings tend to dehumanize people, placing all members of a group into one, simple category.
These generalizations have their roots in experiences we have had ourselves, read about in books and magazines, seen in movies or television, or have had related to us by friends and family. In many cases, these stereotypical generalizations are reasonably accurate. Yet, in virtually every case, we are resorting to prejudice by ascribing characteristics about a person based on a stereotype, without knowledge of the total facts. By stereotyping, we assume that a person or group has certain characteristics. Quite often, we have stereotypes about persons who are members of groups with which we have not had firsthand contact or fear.
ardictionary states that Judgment is an authoritative opinion. The act of judging; the operation of the mind, involving comparison and discrimintation, by which a knowledge of the values and relations of things, whether of moral qualities, intellectual concepts, logical propositions, or material facts, is obtained.
The online Webster’s dictionary says Discernment is the cognitive condition of someone who understands, the perception of that which is obscure, and the mental ability to understand and discriminate between relations. Interesting enough, discernment is the capacity for judging.
Good information to gather. I then spent some time pondering how my studies in spirituality play into this, and what I have learned and continue to learn as I pursue personal and spiritual growth.
The first half of the fifth verse of the Tao tells us the wise (wo)man does not hold anyone or anything as especially dear or disfavored. (S)he offers up her treasure to everyone. When practicing the Tao, one eliminates as many judgments as possible. The simplest way is to recognize yourself in everyone.
Unity has adopted the practice of greeting others with the Hindu greeting of Namaste. In Sanskrit the word is namah + te = namaste which means “I bow to you” – my greetings, salutations or prostration to you. The word ‘namaha’ can also be literally interpreted as “na ma” (not mine). It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another by recognizing the belief that the life force, the divinity, the Self or the God in me is the same in all. Acknowledging this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we honor the divinity in the person we meet.
By practicing this thought process daily, you begin to recognize that appearances mean nothing and that only by knowing and honoring the connectedness of all persons, situations and things you encounter can you eliminate criticism and labels.
This exercise has been good for me, and perhaps by sharing it, has provoked thought. I do attach labels to people – they are spiritual, they believe in family first and foremost, they currently perceive themselves as victims, their stated priority is not supported by their actions, etc. By practicing discernment, I am more able to see my perception of their truth, and encourage and support their awareness of their truth (and correct my perceptions), which often enables growth on an individual or professional level, for them and for me. This practice is supported by love, which is my treasure to give away to everyone who is willing to receiving it.
Namaste, my friends. May your New Year be truly blessed.
Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions, located in Lincoln, NE, is a business, career and personal life coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. She provides support and encouragement as her clients set intentional goals to attain their desires, holding open the space they need to stretch and grow. Her website is http://www.collaborativetransitions.com, and she can be reached at (402) 484-8098. You can also catch on the Rainbow Bridge Coaching and Healing blog.