Humans are judgement machines. We can’t help it. Since the beginning of time, we have had to judge everything. In the beginning, this was a survival mechanism. “Is this going to eat me?” “Should I stay or should I go?” Back then, it was only about survival.
We humans are still asking ourselves questions on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the questions we are asking tend to cost us joy instead of saving our lives. The sad part is that we don’t even realize we are doing it. Our consumer-based society has been programmed through the years of advertising that this is how we should look at everything. The most insidious of all questions and the one that has caged our society is “Do I like it?”. We ask this question about everything.
-Do I like the new person I just met?
-Do I like this new church I just visited?
-Do I like this meal?
-Do I like my spouse?
-Do I like my car?
-Do I like my neighbor?
-Do I like my job? My in-laws? This article?
We have been programmed to judge everything. This is misery. We seek perfection in all things. From restaurants to neighborhoods to spouses to governments. In reality, we are just a bunch of spoiled brats. We only enjoy something if we “like it.” This constant judgement will rob you of real joy because nothing will ever be perfect. The pull to judge every moment of an experience versus the ideal robs us of the moment.
When we gather as friends, the conversation can often turn to judgement. The saying “misery loves company” is especially true in today’s society. This is the undercurrent of our culture and here is why. If I don’t “like it”, someone else is to blame. Instead of accepting the responsibility for our personal satisfaction, we pass the responsibility on to others. Think about it. How often do you show up to be served or entertained? If you are like me, nearly every time! We all do it and it is a very difficult habit to break. Breaking this habit will do more to increase your level of contentment than any pill they can offer. Here are some suggestions for reducing your narcissistic tendencies:
When we defer to judgement, we lose some of the greatness life has to offer. We subjugate our responsibility for being satisfied. We never really get that “when I” spot. It will elude us all our lives if we continue to rely on others and society to satisfy our insatiable nature. When we accept less than perfect from others and begin to appreciate what they have created for us, our outlook begins to shift. When we accept that things go wrong, and life is a struggle, we enable ourselves to work through the trials. To truly live life is to truly accept responsibility for our lives. Be honest with yourself in answering this question: Am I frequently basing my level of satisfaction with my life on my value judgement of every experience? I struggle with this answer because I am living in the age of unparalleled compare and despair. Meditation has truly helped me to realize that very little truly matters and that the goal of marketing and social media is to convince me that everything matters. I am still a judgement machine, but I am learning to not let the values of society be my measuring stick. Instead, I ask how it compares to my personal values and then make a choice whether to take it or leave it. My challenge to you is to delete your Facebook app from your phone. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that it enhances your life. It is a petri dish for compare and despair. If someone needs to get in touch with you, they will find you. I am not saying delete your profile. Just relegate usage to a computer and not your smart phone. Trust me – your level of satisfaction will go up tenfold if you are grateful for what you have, look for what is right, and spend your energy in service. The choice is always yours and with the choice comes responsibility.
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