Judging Myself for Judging You (For Judging)

As a friend shared about another’s recent error in judgment, I found myself reacting. As she told how the person involved should have known better, I immediately remarked on a time I thought my friend behaved in a similar way. Rather than simply showing compassion for the other person’s experience, or being more curious about my friend’s thoughts, I immediately did what I did not like hearing her do. Here I sat judging a friend for judging someone else. Then, of course, I started judging myself for judging her.  

When I was practicing law, I usually advised my clients to pause a few seconds before answering a question. It is so much easier said than done. Our primitive minds tend to go into reaction mode. Judgment tends to occur without much thinking or pausing. Of course, judging does not allow us to see the fullness of the situation and tends to create rather than resolve conflict. As I have discussed many times, what people do and say generally reflects a way to meet a need, which means we were both trying to meet needs.  

What needs? By telling the story, my friend perhaps wanted to meet a need for clarity or connection, and by pointing out her past, I was trying to show understanding for the person being discussed. Then, by judging myself, I wanted to express more compassion for my friend. As so often happens, we created the exact opposite results. Much more effective ways exist for meeting the needs for clarity, connection, understanding, and compassion.  

When I find myself judging, I usually am experiencing some other unmet need. It may be my own need for support or understanding. Being aware of these needs helps identify other ways to meet them that align better with who I want to be, and plays an important role in resolving conflict within myself as well with and for other people. When you say and do things that you prefer not to say and do, what do you usually need?  How do you meet those needs in a way that best serves you? 

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Most widely known as Lonzo's human, mediator, speaker, and author Sherry Ann Bruckner works with leaders and organizations to create peace, resolve conflict, and transform visions into results.

From her twenty-plus years' experience practicing civil and family law, and her own personal experiences with silence and violence, Sherry Ann understands how much inner peace impacts outer peace. A graduate of Hamline University's College of Liberal Arts and William Mitchell College of Law, she also studied conflict resolution at Rothberg International School in Jerusalem. Sherry serves as a neutral on matters ranging from bias and employment discrimination to marriage dissolution and caring for aging parents. A speaker and trainer on the global stage, Sherry gives you and your audience practical skills and the confidence to use embrace your personal power to create peace. Through helping thousands of people navigate their way through conflict, and finding her own way to inner peace, she shares the transformational power of clarity, compassion, curiosity, and cribbage.

Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or give her a call at (320) 808-3212.
Sherry Ann Bruckner

Be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.