When Philadelphia Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie signed Michael Vick to a two-year contract last week, he did more than turn his team into a lighting rod for controversy; he gave America a quick lesson on passing judgment.
Without thinking, people pass judgment on everything and everybody on a daily basis. But what we don’t realize is that being judgmental can keep you from enjoying your best life. How? It’s simple. The need to rate others and impose your standards only helps to create barriers in your relationships or stop a relationship before it can even start.
Martha Williamson, executive producer of the CBS hit, Touched By An Angel, speaks on it firsthand. In a recent video blog, Williamson tells a story about an afternoon luncheon where an acquaintance she knew began to speak negatively of a woman who had just walked in the room.
Williamson says she fed into the gossip at first, but soon realized she had no cause to pass judgment because she too had been guilty of the exact “crime.” Though she never said what she had done, she knew that it wasn’t her place to keep discussing the woman and ended the conversation.
Can you relate to Williamson? When you’re about to pass judgment on someone, remember, these things:
- Take a trip down memory lane. Have you done something that would embarrass you if your friends, family or coworkers found out? Whether big or small, most everyone has done something they regret. How did you feel when others looked at you disapprovingly? And, what did it take for you to get past the situation?
- Save your positive energy. Dwelling on negative situations takes more energy than its worth. Each time we judge someone or even yourself, you make a deposit into an emotional bank that will never pay off in positive dividends.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover. When a person makes a mistake, people often assume they did wrong because of a personal weakness or character flaw. Resist the urge to judge and offer people the benefit of the doubt because you may never know what is going on in their lives.
Forgiveness is the key
Learning how to forgive ourselves and others for making mistakes is the cornerstone of a balanced and peaceful life. When you learn to forgive, you do more for yourself than you ever know. Lurie, who is an unapologetic dog owner and lover, put all his beliefs and judgments to the test in bringing Vick aboard.
“I've had an opportunity in the past week to have conversations and listen to the words of three people that I admire greatly, three people in the National Football League, who for me, are at the top of the pedestal when it comes to integrity,” Lurie said during the press conference announcing Vick’s new position.
“I learned a lot,” Lurie added. “I learned the process with Michael on what’s happened over the last few years. After multiple conversations I felt more open. (I felt) more open to giving a human being a second chance, who possibly could become a socially active NFL player who actually could do great things off the field.”
For more info: Check out Oprah Radio Host Dr. Robin Smith talk about living your life with less judgment.