Seeing the best in life's challenges

Judging vs. Evaluating

on February 22, 2012

If we aren’t supposed to be judging, does that just mean that anything goes?  Everything is ok, we are just supposed to accept it?

My view is, not exactly.

I define judging as deciding whether someone or something is right or wrong, good or bad.  It’s nothing more than putting on a label.  It stops there.

Evaluating, however, seems close to judging, but I think there is a significant difference.  I believe very strongly that we are not to judge, but we HAVE to evaluate constantly if we are to grow and learn.

Evaluating means thinking about, observing, trying to understand, and contemplating, all with the goal of figuring out what you can learn and how you can make better choices.  Life gives us opportunities to evaluate all the time.  BUT if you get caught in the trap of judging, you assign a label and stop there.  You give up the opportunity for the lesson.

Evaluating is hard work.  To be really good at it, you have to recognize when your perspective is clouded – when your feelings are hurt and you have the urge to strike back; when you are feeling insecure or needy; any time your ego gets in the way.  You have to develop the ability to be open-minded, take a detached view.  You have to make sure you are not making assumptions that might not be correct.  At the end of your evaluation, your conclusion might be summarized like this:  “hmmm…..interesting.”

The only person you can control is YOU.  So it’s really a waste of time to decide what other people should or shouldn’t be doing or saying or thinking.  You can take all those other opinions into consideration, make all your observations, but in the end, YOU get to decide the choices you make and the actions you take.

There’s nothing wrong with expressing your viewpoint on a situation, especially if you have thought it through.  But rather than telling other people what they SHOULD do or think, I believe we should (haha, notice that?) just present our opinion as our opinion, and let others make up their own minds.

My observation is that, in general, people spend a lot of time focused on others, trying to control or change others.  And that takes away from the real work of focusing on YOURSELF.  Another way to look at it, is that people spend so much time fighting reality, they never deal with WHAT IS.

After you evaluate, then you can decide, for yourself, what you have learned and what you choose to do.  (You already know that my opinion is that the goal is to choose based on LOVE.)  This is not easy.  The easy way out is to slap a label on someone or something, get mad or indignant or self-righteous or feel like the victim, and avoid the hard part.

I’ve encountered many situations that have felt uncomfortable, that I did not “agree” with.  The way I look at these now, is that, after I have evaluated them, I just have to make choices consistent with what works for me, what “feels” right for me.  I’m not talking “feels right” in the sense of selfishness or ego, I am talking about tapping into that Inner Knowing that comes from Pure Intent.  In some cases, I choose “not to participate” even though others think I “should” do this or that.  I don’t care to label the situation “wrong” I just don’t give it my energy.  In this way, I instead surround myself (as much as possible) with situations and people that are consistent with my choices, but I do not waste energy or time trying to change those I am not comfortable with.

Sometimes, there are consequences to this approach that might seem unacceptable.  But even if you make a different choice because you cannot bear the consequences, it is still your choice.

Once I started to take this approach, I became aware of how we are constantly judging and trying to control others.  I had no idea how much I was judging and feeling the need to control.  It felt strange, at first, because it felt like “giving up” my values, but it’s really not.  It’s me taking responsibility for those values, rather than deflecting them off on somebody else.  It’s the “working on the plank in your own eye” rather than the “speck in someone else’s.”  And it’s also having faith in God, that God will take care of everything – it’s not my job to play God.

One response to “Judging vs. Evaluating

  1. […] how the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves and our society are balancing, how we can move away from judgment and the mentality of “right” and “wrong”, how each person has their own unique perspective […]

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