What a joy when you buy something, take it home and the label effortlessly peels off leaving not a trace of gummy guck behind. However, when the opposite happens and it stubbornly adheres to your new item, whether it's a gift or a goody for yourself, it's horrible. Not only is it frustrating to spend time trying to remove it, but what is new begins to look used and old. The half-peeled paper cheapens the product regardless of the amount you paid for it. Somehow it seems devalued.
Judging and Labeling Others
The same thing happens when we label others and ourselves. Another word for it is judgment. And when we affix the judgment with super glue -- what a mess.
Pretend you are about to meet Ron Johnson for the first time. A good friend of yours has made a critical comment about Ron beforehand. How does that affect you when you meet him? Are you open-minded and free from judgment or do you keep reading your friend's label planted firmly on Ron's shirt that says, "Ron is dull." Do you take the time to find out how you feel about Ron or do you excuse yourself abruptly and walk away thinking, "I don't like dull people."
Careless and Cruel Comments
The biggest trap in the world to fall into is that of making careless and cruel comments about others. It is difficult not to jump in and fan the fire with our own critical take on another. It is equally as difficult to remain immune to the disparaging remarks and innuendoes uttered by others.
Why is this a favorite pastime? It fills the void. Care to discuss what it fills it with? Toxic waste.
Critical judgment always results in creating serious plumbing problems -- internally and externally. And just what did you create today with your thoughts and words?
Heavy-handed judgment often tries to disguise itself in the mask of humor or, worse, the "I'm only trying to be helpful" stance.
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How Do You Treat Others?
How we treat others is simply a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. When we value ourselves, we cannot devalue another. Secure people do not put other people down. They accept others as they are and look for their positive qualities.
That does not mean smiling on a bad situation or tolerating harmful behavior in another. It means intuitively understanding people and situations and knowing when and when not to act or speak. There is a vast difference between judgment and intuition.
The Difference Between Judgment & Intuition
Intuition allows you to discern the truth about an individual or situation. It works to protect you and helps you to make healthy decisions. Judgment, on the other hand, is a critical assessment stemming from fear. It's cold, calculated and limiting.
Intuition presents you with insights that lead to actions that are thoughtful and loving, no matter how tough they appear to be. Intuition is a response, not a reaction. Intuition is healing, not harmful. And it arises from the voice within that can only be heard when there is no judgment taking place.
You will never have enough information about people to judge them accurately -- so why bother? The path of judgment leads nowhere. It is a trap that enslaves the person making the judgment.
Is It True? Is It Useful? Is It Necessary?
The next time you are about to cast a quick judgment, ask yourself the following questions: Is it true? Is it useful? Is it necessary?
Then there's the hideous monster of self-judgment that devalues you and ridicules your dreams. Every time it rears its ugly head and puts you down, it diminishes your self-confidence. Over time, if not restrained, it will break your spirit.
It is a challenge and very difficult to refrain from making snap judgments about others, especially when everybody else is doing it. But you are responsible for your own evolution, not others. Do you want to meander aimlessly with the herd? Or would you like to rise above it to where you can see clearly and chart your own course?
The key to removing labels is to begin by valuing yourself. Your sense of true value cannot be understood at the level of the intellect. It needs to be acknowledged and understood at the level of feelings. It is heartfelt.
Pay attention. When you fall into the trap of putting yourself down, stop, and then forgive yourself. Acknowledge that it is not the truth. Oh, you think it is? Where did that belief come from? I suggest that you reassess your attitude toward yourself immediately.
Were you raised with the "good person-bad person" theory? If so, there is no way out of that judgment trap other than to throw the entire theory out the window. We all have bad behaviors, which we can choose to change, or not. But to label yourself as a bad person is completely self-defeating.
Remember Who You Are
We are here simply to remember who we are. And it is possible to do so without using herbs to increase memory, but if that helps, take them. Do whatever works to remind you of your internal truth. Walks in nature, movies that ignite your compassion, or books that spark your humanity often work wonders. Soul-searching talks with friends, intimate moments with lovers, and precious time spent in solitude all help to rekindle the truth of your spirit.
Ponder on the miracles of the universe; the glorious galaxies; the sun, moon and stars; the exquisite designs, sounds, colors and fragrances of nature; the eclectic and creative array of animals; a newborn baby. Awaken to the beauty of life. How can you be any less than miraculous?
That very truth, when deeply felt, will prevent you from devaluing yourself or others. People you might have walked away from in the past because of hasty judgments might even become wonderful new friends. And never again will you be intimidated or influenced by the judgments of others. What people think of you will become none of your business.
You will be too busy designing the life you truly want. The power of constructive love will then be yours to build with as you wish.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Wisteria Productions.
The Power of Constructive Love: How to Live Your Dreams
by Susan Ann Darley.
The Power of Constructive Love will challenge your to break through the seduction of your past and move forward toward your personal and professional goals. This book will inspire you to find the courage to honestly express yourself, to honor your talents and to share them with the world.
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About the Author
Susan Ann Darley is the author of The Art of Becoming Visible, which offers practical marketing tools to artists and is a direct result of The Art of Becoming Visible classes she taught for five years. She is also the author of The Power of Constructive Love. She specializes in helping people use and market their talents through creativity coaching and writing and she also coaches businesses. She offers a complimentary coaching session by phone. Visit her website at http://alzati-leadershipcoaching.com/
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