Research Paper By Phoebe Charn
(Life Coach, FRANCE)
Is proving ourselves right and others to be wrong or judging other people’s thoughts and actions make us a better human being?
In the world we live in, winning and losing have become a culture. The political arena is often entangled with many differences of ideas that no positive actions accomplished. Our news project only stories of discord and power contest.
Modern life challenges can certainly appear overwhelming.
We do not even realize that we are living in constant judgment. Everyone does. We have gone on long enough with this unconscious worship of judgment and criticism. It is time to stop and to learn how to use judgment as a vehicle for consciousness and healing.
Maybe, there is another way to learn and see our judgment on others or ourselves.
My interpretation of Rumi’s field is a space of love and acceptance. A place where we listen more than we speak. It applies not only concerning to our daily life as a person but also to the life of a coach.
We judge from the waking moment and continue throughout the day, consciously or unconsciously. It is hard not to judge. Moreover, a lot of us are not even aware of that. I struggle with judgment every day as I judge others and myself.
I am curious about the science of the human mind behind judging others and ourselves. With this understanding, I hope to better manage my judgment as a person and as a coach.
What is judgment?
Under the American Psychological association dictionary: judgment
- the capacity to recognize relationships, draw conclusions from evidence, and make critical evaluations of events and people.
- in psychophysics, the ability to determine the presence or relative magnitude of stimuli.
Understanding Why we judge?
The evolutionary theory posits that it is human nature to judge, to determine a friend or foe, to categorize people, and how to proceed.
We judge because we have a mental process called cognition that is involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension. These cognitive processes include thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem-solving.
There are many different angles to research when it comes to judging. The foundation of this topic is based on understanding the character of the human mind.
It is essential to know how cognition works. Still, it is more important to understand what influences the thoughts that lead us to judge others and ourselves.
What influences this judging?
To further understand what influences our thinking and judging, it is necessary to understand what makes up the human mind, which is what this research investigates.
Many psychology and spiritual articles were written about judgment; often, judgment is related to ego. But why, ego? What has it to do with judging?
Concept of Ego
Theory of Personality
In the world of psychoanalysis, two names prominent when it comes to the ego.
In Freud’s personality theory (1923), what forms a person’s personality comes in 3 parts of the mind. The id, ego, and superego.
The unconscious id consists of humanity’s most primitive desires to satisfy its biological needs. The superego (also unconscious) contains the socially-induced conscience and counteracts the id with moral and ethical prohibitions— the conscious ego functions as a mediator between the two.
We understood from Freud’s theory that the id is the instinctive and primitive part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives, as well as hidden memories.
- The ego is the decision-making component of the personality. It is to mediate between the unrealistic id with the real external world. Like the id, the ego likes to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It achieves its end, satisfying without causing harm to itself or the id.
- The superego acts as the judge of good or bad as a moral conscience. The superego consists of two systems: The conscience and the ideal self. The conscience can punish the ego by causing feelings of guilt. For example, if the ego gives in to the id's demands, the superego may make the person feel bad through guilt.
- The ideal self (or ego-ideal) is an imaginary picture of how you ought to be. It represents career aspirations, how to treat other people, and how to behave as a member of society. The superego may punish behavior that falls short of the ideal self through guilt. The superego can also reward us through the ideal self when we behave 'properly' by making us feel proud.
If a person’s ideal self is too high a standard, then whatever the person does will represent failure. The ideal self and conscience are primarily determined in childhood from parental values and how one was brought up.
The id, ego, and superego sum up what and how each and individual one of us constructs who we are.
The ego is the “I” and our identity. It is a set of codes we created for ourselves to interact and operate with the world. We judge others, and ourselves base on our own set of codes, anything that does not fall within our code will be considered because the ego does not like to be conflicted.
Personality encompasses all of the thoughts, behavior patterns, and social attitudes that impact how we view ourselves and what we believe about others and the world around us. Many factors make one who he is today, including genetics, his upbringing, and his life experiences—our belief which is primarily set during our childhood.
Remembering that our ego does not like to have tension, anything conflicting with our reality will cause fear or guilt.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. –Carl Gustave Jung
In Carl Jung’s theory, he agreed with Freud that the unconscious played an essential role in personality and behavior, he expanded on Freud’s idea of the personal unconscious to include what Jung called the collective unconscious.
In the Jungian collective unconscious mind, he speaks about four fundamental archetypes of human personality, which are the Self, Persona, The Shadow, and animus.
- The self, according to Jung, is the sum of the total mind that looks forward, that contains the drive toward fulfillment and wholeness.
- The Persona is an element of the personality adapting to different roles in our daily life. It is like putting on different masks when you take up different roles when you are at work or to family. The Persona is seen as the "public relations" part of the ego, that allows us to interact socially with ease. Those who identify too strongly with their personas can run into problems—think of the celebrity who becomes too involved with his or herself as the "star", the person who cannot leave work at work, or the academic who seems lofty to everyone. Doing the above mentioned can disable someone's personal growth, as other aspects of the self then cannot properly develop, hindering the overall development. The Persona usually grows from the parts of people that wished once to please teachers, parents, and other authority figures, and as such it leans heavily toward embodying only one's best qualities, leaving those negative traits which contradict the Persona to form the "Shadow".
- The Shadow: Those characteristics that we dislike, or would rather ignore, come together to shape what is called the Shadow. This part of the mind, which is also heavily influenced by the collective unconscious, is a form of complexity and is generally the complex most accessible by the conscious mind. Jung believes that "where there is light, there must also be shadow"—That is why the Shadow has a vital role to play in balancing the overall mind. If a well-developed shadow side is missing, a person can quickly become shallow and preoccupied with the opinions of others, a walking Persona. Just as conflict, light and dark are necessary to our personal growth.
What is interesting about Jung’s theory is the Shadow concerning judging.
Those traits that we loathe, or would rather avoid, assemble to form the Shadow. They are aspects of the personality that we chose to reject or repress. For some reason, we all have parts of ourselves that we dislike or we think society does not like. Therefore we pushed those traits into our unconscious mind. It is the repressed aspects of our identity as our shadow self.
However, the problem is that you are not necessarily aware of those parts of your personality that you reject. According to Jung’s theory, we distance ourselves psychologically from those behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that we find dangerous.
Rather than confront something that we do not like, our mind pretends that it does not exist.
What happened to these unconscious rejected or repressed traits?
Seeing the Shadow within ourselves is difficult but seeing shadow traits of others are so much easier.
Projection is what Jung describes that we identify in others what we won’t admit also lies within.
Our conscious mind keeps away from our flaws, to deal with them on a deeper level, we magnify those flaws in others.
By rejecting them, we project onto others. When we project them to others, judging is the tool we use to make us feel better about ourselves.
John A. Sanford Quote:
If we judge others, it is because we are judging something in ourselves of which we are unaware.
What is the implication for coaching?
As human beings, we are continually searching for self-definition by viewing ourselves in the context of our fellow “others” on this earth. One of the ways we do this is to be continually searching for the “sameness” or “difference” with the people we encounter in life. Often, the search to realize our uniqueness leads to being judgmental.
On an everyday basis, most of us are likely to be judgmental as a way of elevating self-importance and assuaging our feelings of deficiency.
There is an underlying sense of moral superiority and righteousness when we are judgmental.
In this dynamic, whether we are judging ourselves or others, we lose the sense of tolerance, compassion, and objectivity that is probably most required.
Being judgmental can drain us.
When it comes to coaching, the job of the coach is to be able to help clients move forward. If a coach is often judging his clients, it will come in the way to have a fruitful relationship with the client.
If a coach is judging what the client says about other people, judge about their solutions, their behavior, or thinking. When brainstorming ideas, the coach might think “oh no, I would not do that” or “oh yes, a fantastic idea” – obvious judgments taking place. Some are obvious, but often judgments are unconscious.
When the client feels that he is being judged, there will be left with little space of trust or even having it damaged. Therefore, judgment is not something helpful in coaching. For a client to express themselves fully, they need a place which is safe for them and trust in the coach before any other thing can happen. The fundamental of any human connection starts with confidence. Human connection is an energy exchange between people who are paying attention to one another. It has the power to deepen the moment, inspire change and build trust.
Therefore, having an awareness of the existence of judgment is so critical for a coach. Otherwise, coaching cannot occur.
How to release judgment?
As we are all different from one to the other, and we come from different cultures and upbringing. All our experiences would most probably be different as well. For a coach, it is crucial to be mindful that the reality of our clients is not always the same as ours. The curiosity about the client’s perspective and seeing their world through their lens is of utmost importance.
To do that, we must first release our perception and release our judgment and assumption of what it should be for them.
In the book of Judgement Detox of Gabby Berstein, Her definition for judgment is “ a separation from love”.
It is impossible not to judge but accepting the fact that we do judge others and ourselves is the first step to releasing ourselves from judgment.
With acceptance, we will be more aware when it arises.
With mindfulness practice, we can learn to recognize when judgment comes in and learn how to understand and discern it, instead of getting caught in the habit of the mind.
Being non-judgemental is not about stopping ourselves from judging because it is impossible, and it is human nature to judge.
Instead, being mindful about it when it arises and acknowledging it.
According to Jon Kabat Zinn, taking an attitude of non-judging is a more effective way of handling it.
Some practical ways of doing this non-judgment practice are :
Since judgment is a habit that causes the mind to narrow and makes us see people and circumstances with tunnel vision, based on our past opinions or experiences.
Practicing mindfulness means being aware of what is happening in the present moment, which helps ground you in the “now”.
Meditation is the practice of giving your attention to one thing. It helps you become detached from situations and outcomes, which can help you to shift away from judgments energetically. It is about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. One does not try to turn off one’s thoughts or feelings. It is learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, one may start to understand them better. Instead, you will begin to experience and appreciate things precisely as they are (even things that may have previously thought to be undesirable or frustrating).
Meditation involves sitting comfortably and silently and focusing your attention on your breath as you let go, relax and do nothing. It helps to ground you in the present moment and eventually allows you to move beyond the conditioning of your mind.
Like any new habit or shift in your mindset, being non-judgmental takes practice.
Keep a journal
Self-talk helps layout thoughts.
Take time to record your self-talk in a journal. Reflect on the day’s experiences and how you felt at the time. Are there any thoughts or assumptions behind your feelings?
Perhaps you may even see when you are judging yourself. Journaling can help discover how often you are judgmental and have an increasing awareness to help make changes. Journaling can give you a greater understanding and confidence in who you are.
The emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a psychological acupressure technique that supports your emotional and physical health. It combines the cognitive benefits of therapy with the physical benefits of acupuncture to restore your energy and heal your emotions.
Tapping is very easy. You stimulate specific meridian points on the body by tapping on them with your fingertips.
EFT is one of the most powerful ways to bust through blocks, relieve physical pain and heal any negative emotion.
The ego is a constructed self of how you see yourself. It is a rigid identity, where a set of beliefs, patterns, and ideas was created and what most people label as “personality. The ego is very defensive about your identity. It is the part of our mind that refers to everything in terms of “good” or “bad”, “me” and “not me.” The ego is living in a perpetual state of fear. The ego loves to feel superior, and fears were feeling inferior. We all have an ego, and we cannot get rid of it. We cannot kill it or kick it out of our heads. We can, however, recognize it when it pops up. We do not have to let it run our lives.
With this understanding, we have a choice to take simple steps on becoming aware of and releasing our judgments.
As Mother Teresa quote:
If you judge people, you have no time to love them. (The same goes for judging yourself.)
The Jungian Model of the Psyche | Journal Psyche. http://journalpsyche.org/jungian-model-psyche/
Non-judgement. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Non-judgmental Awareness – Habits of Mind –
EFT tapping https://gabbybernstein.com/tapping-release-judgment/