The Judgment Gauntlet

Welcome to life. We live in a universe that watches us. Each one of us, with our eyes, ears, noses, fingers, mouths and minds uses these senses to watch the others.  We don’t just watch, we judge.

As children we don’t judge so much. We explore. We ask. We try.

“What is this?”

“Get that out of your mouth.”

And so we learn to judge.

From our limited perspective, judgement works two ways.  We judge others and others judge us. The secondary layer to this two way judgment is us imagining other’s judging us and others imagining us judging them. That’s where it starts to get tricky.

This imagined judgement is the judgment gauntlet.  As we wander through life, total strangers look at us and we imagine how they are judging us. This causes us worry.  At work or school, people look at us and we imagine how they are judging us. This can cause serious anxiety.  At home, and in the company of our friends, we continue to imagine how people our judging us. If we imagine negative judgments from this group, it rocks our core. When we are alone, we replay all of these judgments in our heads and they become our idea of reality.

As we are judged, so we judge.  We watch people and think things about them all the time. We have a standard to which we hold humanity and when they miss the mark, we make note of it.  The more intimate the setting, the more likely we will let our judgements slip out of our mouths.  Regardless of what we say, we tend to broadcast our judgements with our expressions. This is how we create the gauntlet though which we run.

In order to leave this gauntlet, we have to stop creating it.  We have to recognize that our judgements are not based on truth so much as our moods.  If we are feeling good, we will judge those around us kindly.  If we are feeling scared or cranky, we will take it out on the world.  Also, if we are feeling off, we will imagine everybody is judging us harshly. It is important to be able to recognize your own mood, then you can see how it impacts your judgments and your perception of others.

As you learn to recognize how much and how harshly you judge others, you will see that how you imagine others are judging you reflect your judgments of them. As you notice this, you can change your habit.  If you train yourself to judge people positively, you will start to imagine people judging you positively.  Eventually you will stop judging at all.  You will look past people’s judgments and feel only compassion for them, and for yourself. You will have left the gauntlet.

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