Judgment vs. Opnion

Posted by tinythoughtguy on October 8, 2013 at 7:55 PM

I have frequently heard the idea that, “In order to live a truly wonderful life we need to be free of judgment” or that, “Living in judgment is the root of our problems” and many more such phrases related to the negative impact that “judging” has on our lives.

In the interest of saving my soul from the damnation of judgment, I have decided that the blog this week will discuss my biased opinion about preferences being judged as judgments +;0)

Certainly, I can agree that when we judge others we are actually making a statement about ourselves rather than the other person/people. Furthermore, when we judge others I believe we are limiting our opportunity for growth because rather than appreciating somebody for who they are, we are essentially saying that they should be different; they should be or do as we say.  This is not helpful to us or to them and by not judging others we are better off: I can agree with that.

In addition to judging people, when we judge circumstances and situations there is also a negative impact on us because our judgments impede out ability to accept a situation and therefore, prevent us from letting go or moving forward; I can see that as well. Where I disagree with the concept of “non-judgment” is that it seems there is a blurring of the line from where an opinion or preference ends and a judgment begins. This is to say that I think people often take the concept of “non-judgment” too far and then there is the perception that having an opinion/preference is a bad thing.

If I were to go to the ice cream parlor and order a strawberry ice cream, that to me is a preference and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I am not saying that Vanilla and Chocolate are bad characters and nobody should spend time with them, I am just saying that I like one over the other - a preference. If somebody were to ask me why I was “judging” the other flavors I would probably ask what was in their cone.

Perhaps that is a goofy example, and one could say it is quite obvious that this is a preference - not a judgment. Ok, so if we make the scenario a little more challenging, where there is a little more grey area, would this change? If, for example, you leave your favorite ice-cream parlor late at night and on one side of the street is a biker gang, smashing bottles and yelling, and on the other side are some nuns coming from church, which side of the street would you walk on?

With me confessing my sins here in this blog, I am allowed to hang with the nuns, so that would be my “preference”, or would you call that a judgment? I “judged” the bikers not to be the best folks to hang out with at this time and I chose the nuns, is that bad? Now, even if we say that I hurt the bikers’ feelings by not going to their side of the street, I still say that I am allowed to have a preference regardless of whether or not they think I “judged” them.

The point is that having a preference for something, like having limbs in working order, is not a bad thing and I believe that having an opinion is one of the ways we navigate through life. If we had no opinions and we were 100% indifferent about everything wouldn’t we just be rocks or vegetables? How would we survive, how would we grow, without opinions or preferences? Maybe with some people we wouldn’t know the difference (oops, a judgment), but I feel there is a significant difference with how the word “judgment” is used and what, I believe, it actually means in the context of having a fulfilling life.

I think the problem lies in how we define “judgment” and, rather than disagree with somebody who implies that we are judging, it seems that the easy way out is to appease the judger (ironically) and just avoid sharing our opinion/preference.

This post is quite long already, so I will sum it up this way: if I have a preference for something, or an opinion about something, that is my right and I don’t see that as a judgment; however, that right ends where the other person’s rights begin. This is to say that we are all entitled to preferences and opinions, and it is my OPINION that when we try to force those views on others, or onto a situation, that they become judgments and this is when they have undesirable consequences.

Until next time, I’ll be chillin’ out with the nuns, please say “hi” to the bikers for me.

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