We live in a world and we are all beings whereby categorizing makes life simpler on some level. One word that describes this process is ‘judging’. It is so useful to judge in so many ways, isn’t it?
If you took the time every day to get to know each and every person you met in order to gain a fuller understanding of how you should interact with her or him in the future… You would never eat or sleep or make it to work. You have an incredible brain that is able to process large amounts of information from your past experiences that allows to make a call on whether or not to spend time and energy with any person or project or celebration. Judging helps you to make decisions quickly and then get on with life. There is another side to judging as well. The other side is that when you judge you are basing your decision on what has taken place in the past or what other people have told you rather than using any new information to live life. Most likely you were warned at some point ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. Again, this has two sides. I know I typically enjoy meat, but if I hadn’t tried a friend’s vegetarian lasagna I would not have been so delighted in how good it was (And wanted the recipe for myself).
One massive disadvantage with judging is that you probably don’t need any more practice with it. This is a skill that you have practiced maybe too much. I would like to give you an absolutely beautiful tool to practice another skill that adds value to life. It is called curiosity. Many people may think of curiosity as something you were either given at birth or not. Only half of that statement is true because every single person on the planet was born with curiosity. What are the benefits of curiosity? Well… Learning, growth, delight, surprise, better communication in relationships, and self-awareness are just a few of the aspects in life you gain when you practice curiosity. When was the last time you met with someone and they truly listened to every word you uttered? My guess is that it was on a first date for most people. On a first date there is a desire to get to know everything about you. It feels fantastic when someone is truly curious about you, doesn’t it? Now, if you practice curiosity, you can give that gift to someone else in your life. I challenge you to be sincerely curious the next time you have a conversation with your roommate, friend, partner, child, sibling, or parent. It will have an immediate and significant impact on your relationship. I’ll give you another tip: curiosity is all about listening and allowing someone to tell you what they want to tell you rather than pushing them to answer the questions you want answered. When you are curious you will begin to see the world in a different way. You will be able to pay attention to details you may have forgotten exist even in your own house! Curiosity allows you to take in much more information from what is happening now instead of ignoring new information to get through your day faster.
There is a risk and a reward to practicing curiosity in life. The risk is that you may learn something new that doesn’t really help you in life or simply takes up more of your time. The major reward is that you begin to interact with the world in a very different way. You engage with the world and those around you and end up enjoying more moments in each day. It is far more restful for your spirit to engage with the world rather than simply rush to your next task. As I write this post I am on a passenger train and the trees and landscape are absolutely stunning! This post has taken way longer than usual to write because I keep stopping and admiring the view outside the window. While I always feel like I’ve accomplished something when I finish another post… Today I feel fulfilled and at ease with my world in a unique way. I feel connected and connection is your heart’s deepest calling.
So should you practice judgement or curiosity? Both have their place in your world every day. Neither is wrong in and of itself (though there are great dangers in judging people) Because each helps you live in the world in different ways. Judging helps you turn on ‘auto-pilot’ and just get things done while curiosity helps you engage with and enjoy the world on a deeper level. My suggestion is that both are important in various ways in life, but that you are probably great at judging and not as great at resting your spirit by fostering curiosity and engaging with your day. My suggestion is that you try practicing curiosity today. We live in a world and we are all beings whereby categorizing makes life simpler on some level. One word that describes this process is ‘judging’. It is so useful to judge in so many ways, isn’t it?