We are all born with an intuition – a sixth sense for people who do not judge us. But what causes people to judge us in the first place?
Ever since our birth, we have been learning about the world – about its rules and its norms, about what is legally permissable and socially acceptable. Tied to this learning is our heritage, our culture and our childhood. Together, these imprints along with our unique life experiences constitute our conditioning. This conditioning is essential to be functional in a complex civilization with its social structures, even though our bodies and our temperaments are designed for living as hunter gatherers in the wilderness. As a result, our very identity is the result of our conditioning.
Judgement is the filter created by our conditioning, through which we see and understand people around us. It is our conditioning that whispers to us if somebody else’s actions are good or bad, virtuous or sinful, cruel or benevolent.
There is a fundamental problem here – one of perspective. We know very little about other people and their life’s unique struggle. Even the ones closest to us. News and social media prove how easy it is to misinterpret somebody else words out of context. Our insight into most other people’s lives is so small, that their words, beliefs and actions are always outside of our context.
When somebody does not judge us, they do not measure the merits or the demerits of our words, actions or our decisions. For them, we are perfect just the way we are, for imperfections only exists in a realm where our conditioning determines what perfection looks like. In the absence of judgement, there is no evaluation. There is only acceptance.
The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom. – Tara Brach
It is acceptance along with care, that are the defining qualities of a mentor – a person who cares for us and cheers on our success, helping us go where we wish to go rather than telling us where to go.
We all have a sixth sense for mentors like this in our lives – people who are freed from the conditioning that manifests as judgement. In the moments we interact with them, we bask in their freedom – one that allows them to believe in us, and inspires us to believe in ourself.