I have spent quite a bit of my contemplative time looking at opinions and judgment. Specifically, where the two mingle and where the two are clearly different.
I catch myself proclaiming opinions but later wonder if these sometimes self-righteous statements are really laced with judgment. I have been struggling with expressing myself based on my opinions/beliefs/experiences and balancing it with judgment.
Maybe being judgmental isn’t the same thing as having and expressing an opinion. Being judgmental—at least how I have come to learn about it—is not about discernment. It’s about judging the beliefs, actions, inactions and opinions of others. To me, it is that stand-off attitude and make a statement of all-knowing authority that if spoken would make the person feel bad.
Here’s what I see as the difference between judging people and having an opinion: an opinion is a viewpoint, a so-called judgment based upon observation in the context of our own experience and bias. We all have them.
The difference I feel is when we have an opinion with a “charge” to it, when our opinion is fueled with emotion then the opinion is most likely a judgment.
We’re making someone wrong. We’re being judgmental. We’re separating.
I am trying to learn that it is a waste of time and energy to be so invested in another person’s actions or beliefs. It’s challenging enough to improve ourselves, and it’s virtually impossible to attempt to improve other people.
Most of the time, being judgmental is about being right. Rather than focusing on being right, I am learning to have a check-in with myself to look for what exactly is behind my emotions and need to express an opinion. Then I am trying to voice my heart-felt thoughts in way that has nothing to do with being “right” and everything to do with seeking to understand.
After all, isn’t being human about being a seeker? Wanting to understand? Being open?
Just my opinion. ;)