How can you tell the difference between irrational judgment and rational judgment?
There is, after all, that kind of judgment that people mean when they say, “She has excellent judgment about people”, “He is an exceptional judge of horses”, “She exercised great judgment when she purchased that land” or “The judgment of the jury was fair”.
This can be a tricky topic, because often people get riled up, defending their irrational judgment as necessary, crucial and even a sterling character trait.
For people on the path to Self-realization, it is important to understand the difference between types of judgment. I separate them into two categories: ego-based, emotionally-charged judgment and neutral, or evaluative, judgment – also known as discernment.
The ego-based type of judgment stems from fear and is locked in the right/wrong perspective, and is therefore irrational and unhealthy to hang onto in the long-term. The neutral type of judgment, or discernment, is based in rationality and is a wonderful quality to cultivate.
So, again, how can you tell these apart?
Easily. The answer will come immediately upon assessing your emotional state – by checking your internal feeling barometer. If you feel triggered, upset, annoyed or irritated in any way, then there is a negative charge of energy present. If you feel good in an ego-based way, such as self-righteous, better-than, smug, superior to someone, or if you feel overly happy, excited or manic, there is a positive charge of judgment present.
True discernment – or evaluative judgment – comes from a place of total neutrality, and when you reside in that place, all of your thoughts are in alignment with energies of peace and Loving. This is the feeling that yoga or Tai Chi teachers would describe as ‘centered’.
To avoid confusion, when I refer to the term ‘judgment’ in this series of blogs, I will be using it to mean the irrational kind of judgment that is attached to a feeling of good or bad, right or wrong. When I am referring to the neutral kind of judgment, I will use the word ‘discernment’ to promote clarity. In short, if a thought makes you feel off-centered in any way, this is an indication that judgment, not discernment, is present.
One helpful way to visualize how this works on a feeling-level is by picturing a pendulum – like that of a grandfather clock. Imagine it hanging down your center inside of your body. You can imagine the pendulum as your internal feeling barometer.
If you are residing in Loving, your pendulum will be still and centered, hanging in a completely neutral position in alignment with the Loving. You will experience a sense of internal stillness or peace.
If your emotional pendulum is swinging off-center, you are residing in right/wrong reality, because the swing of your internal barometer will be in either good or bad territory, indicating that judgment is present. You will feel an emotional response inside that upsets your peace in some way, large or small.
Can you think of a time when you felt neutral discernment? Next, can you think of a time when you felt emotionally-charged judgment? Which do you more frequently experience?
Once you begin to really tune in to your own feeling barometer, you will easily be able to tell if you are in judgment or neutral discernment. If you find yourself running emotionally-charged judgment, you can begin to apply compassion inside of yourself liberally. When you are in neutrality, you will feel very steady and centered with your body completely at ease. Say, “I now easily feel the difference between ego-based judgment and the neutrality of discernment.” The more awareness you can bring to your state of Being, the faster you’ll move into the peace of the Loving.
Many Blessings of Joy and Vibrant Freedom
Action Step ~ Recognize the difference between rational judgment (discernment) and irrational judgment (emotionally-charged judgment).
Declaration: “I now easily experience the difference between ego-based judgment and the neutrality of discernment. Judgment causes my feeling barometer to swing off-course, while discernment feels centered, steady and peaceful.”
Additional Support: Listen to this 8-minute closed-eye process on choosing neutral evaluation over judgment: please refrain from driving while listening.