J is for Judgmental
I am currently blogging, along with my daughter, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started, and get the rules here.
Judgmentalism (not technically a word, but highly useful) is an aspect of the “false self” that we put on because we don’t feel good about who we are. This falls under two categories that I can think of. The first is that I don’t feel adequate, or secure, or competent, so I judge other people and cast them below myself so that I can feel better about who I am. For example,
She is so vain and self-absorbed.
By definition, I must not be either of these things if I can recognize them so clearly in someone else. Or so the thinking goes.
The second is one we don’t often talk about, but it stems from my over-concern with what other people think about me, so I judge someone/something in order to make sure others know I don’t approve of certain ideas or politics or behaviors. For example,
“Did you see that movie?” “No.” “It was really good. Not that all the swearing was necessary or anything.”
Here someone cannot fully endorse a movie without picking apart its perceived flaws, standing in judgment over it, and trying to make it as clear as possible that they, though they enjoyed the film, are moral enough to see the film’s moral shortcomings and distance themself as much as possible. Not from the whole movie, mind you, just from that one particular woman’s left breast, or from that one guy’s right butt cheek (unless of course the guy wasn’t hot, and unless the woman’s breast was a nursing breast on a National Geographic special)
Scene 1 (bondage to judgmentalism)
“Hey man, I saw you coming out of the bar the other day. I honked as I drove by, but I don’t think you saw me.” “No, I didn’t! I just stepped in to use the bathroom.” Or worse yet, “I went in to share Christ with a friend.”
Scene 2 (freedom)
“Hey man, I saw you coming out of the bar the other day. I honked as I drove by, but I don’t think you saw me.” “No, I didn’t! How have you been?”
In scene 1, I am into image management. I have to make sure no one gets the wrong idea. In scene 2, I have stepped out of the game. I don’t have to manage my image anymore — I have left that to God. I have stopped justifying myself, not by arrogantly flipping a mental bird to the world around me, but because I have made peace with my imperfections and flaws, and those of others, and simply do not need to make sure people are always thinking what I want them to think.
To give up judging is to release control of our image. But what if we ARE our image? What if we sense, or fear, that we are hollow inside? Then our image is all we have, and the thought of giving it up will be terrifying and seem like dying. That is why people cling to judgementalism with such tenacity. It is why almost everyone says you shouldn’t do it, and yet almost everyone constantly does it anyway.