Rise Above Judgment and Shame

Judgment has multiple meanings in our society. The most comprehensive definition I can think of is the cognitive process of reaching a decision or drawing conclusions on a person, situation, or event. It is typically an opinion that people form that may or may not be grounded in objectivity and/or facts. As humans we all form judgments and opinions that are based on our personal experiences, beliefs, feelings and emotions. However, we must remember that no matter how true these judgments may feel to us, they are simply our own opinions.

Shame also has multiple meanings in our society. Like all other human emotions, it has no boundaries as it is an emotion that is experienced universally across all social classes and cultures. It has been defined comprehensively multiple times. It is a powerful, provocative and overwhelming emotion to experience. When it comes to defining this emotion, most would agree that it is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress that is associated with creating a negative evaluation of the self. It’s the feeling of being incompetent, unworthy, or feeling like you are a disgrace.

When it comes to human relations, we must remember that perception influences our daily lives in every way possible. Perception is an unconscious process that occurs when we take in information from our world and use that information to form our own reality. Human perception is influenced by multiple factors that make up the unique equation of who we are and the reality that we form for ourselves.

Some of the things that influence our perception include our past experiences, and the assumptions and expectations we have of ourselves and others. Each of us has a unique set of character traits, that are influenced by biology, our environment and upbringing, and our education. Each of us develops our own self-concept which is influenced by our culture, faith, values, preconceived notions, and our present circumstances.

It always amazes me that even though we are all unique and face our own unique challenges and struggles that as a society we continue to pass judgment on others. I can’t say that I am perfect or have all the answers because that would be foolish of me to say. But I do know that as the human race we must seek to understand each other before jumping to conclusions and shaming others. As a clinician, and more importantly as a human being I have seen the damaging effects that judgment and shaming can have on the lives of people. I have worked with countless individuals who have been shamed and humiliated and the damage can take years to correct. In some cases, it leads people to contemplate or commit suicide.

As a society we must collectively work together to help heal the people that have been paralyzed with the traumatic consequences of judgment, shame, and all the other ills that afflict humanity. We must practice forgiving ourselves and forgiving others and freeing ourselves from holding on to pain. The reality is that we may never get that apology from the people who have wronged us, and we have to learn to let things be. We can’t control anyone’s behavior or decisions. We can only control how we choose to proceed, and what decisions we wish to make. We must help each other find peace and we must consciously choose love and compassion instead of judgment and shame.

We must all look inward, and free ourselves by seeking the truth and listening to our heart.

Remember to always live for yourself and don't worry about what others think or say about you. It's none of your business anyway.

We must stop judging others for their mistakes or the way they live their life just because it’s different from ours. We are all unique and we must understand that not everyone will live according to our personal values. We are all a unique equation that shapes how we live our life. Although it’s easier said than done we must find the courage to remove ourselves from people or situations that are toxic. Stay true to yourself and let those people who have wronged you or caused you pain begin their own journey of self-healing.

Remember that before you form an opinion or judge someone you must understand that there are things that we all have faced that make us who we are. Everyone has a struggle it’s part of life, everyone is simply trying to live and survive. We never really know the pain and struggles that people are facing unless we ask instead of making assumptions and passing judgment.

As a society we tend to quickly judge people who we perceive as different, but the reality is that we all share in the human experience. We are all equal. The universe, the truth, it’s all within us. We have within us the ability to heal. We must consciously choose love and compassion over hate and shame. Always seek to understand first before making judgments.  

If you have wronged others seek to change, seek forgiveness, seek treatment, seek help. Heal yourself and let the people you hurt heal in peace, let them live their life. Move on and live your life, heal yourself too. Let the past die, choose to live your life in the moment.

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