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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  Judge not lest ye be judged
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Wednesday, July 3,2013

Judge not lest ye be judged

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.
An individual I know made a mistake. It was the kind of mistake that was very personal and really no one’s business, however it quickly became a topic of conversations in the form of gossip. I really don’t want to participate in gossip. For all of the right reasons I find it incredibly useless, often hurtful, non-productive, and simply ego-driven. Yet sometimes, for all of the wrong reasons, I can’t help but indulge. I’ve grown to the point where now, most of the time, I am at least strong enough to resist participating in gossip, but that doesn’t mean I am not listening and, depending on the person, experiencing some level of satisfaction when someone who is not easy to empathize with does something that makes their standing in “Perfection World” fall a few pegs. I am not proud of this truth. But it is the a truth nonetheless. Other times, at weaker moments, or with a person who is of a particularly unsympathetic ilk, I might even add my own two cents. I never feel good about it afterward. And I think to myself, “ What is it about you that needs to feel somehow superior at that moment to gratuitously feed your ego at the expense of someone else?” Even when, again, that person may not be very likable. I want to be the kind of person who empathizes. I already know that the traits in that person that I find repelling are the very same in me, which is why I even recognize them. I know intellectually that the person is just a human being with strengths, weaknesses, lessons to learn and their own bruised ego just trying to get along in this world. Why is it so hard not to judge?

In twelve step programs, the first step toward recovery, or serenity, is acknowledging that one cannot control one’s addictions or behavior. Step two is surrendering to a higher power for the strength to face the challenge of moving in another direction. These steps have proven themselves invaluable in the realm of addictions, but they can also be quite useful for any change we wish to make in our lives, no matter how big or how small. Recognition of any weakness of character is crucial on the path to enlightenment. Something so benign as envy or jealousy or competitiveness can be a barrier to growth when it encourages our egos to dictate our thoughts and perhaps even our actions. Step 1: My name is Jonna and I’m an ego-aholic. In actuality, I’m really already practicing and vacillating between steps 10 (continue to take personal inventory and admit when wrong), 11 (seek guidance through meditation and/or prayer) and 12 (carry an awakened message to others), but self-actualization is a life-long pursuit, thus when life teases you with tasty nuggets of whatever your weakness, it is important to remain conscious and remember to honor our highest truth. This is the only worthwhile pursuit. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. Amen.

 

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Concerning your questions as to why it is hard not to judge and feed our own ego, I can only say that human beings are competitive and we have flaws. As you said, "I already know that the traits in that person that I find repelling are the very same in me, which is why I even recognize them." 

Always keep the realization in mind that one can spot traits in others because we have those traits and have seen them within ourselves. Hopefully, most of us are having a positive impact.  Communication is the key, so that "gossip"cannot be all bad, and it may be constructive if it leads to improvement and better behavior by some. 

 

 
 
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