Understanding where my critical judgements of others come from.

I went to a workshop about overcoming fear.

While I was there, I became highly critical and judgemental of a particular person who was sitting calmly, meditating, and sharing helpful techniques on how to overcome fear.

What?!

Why was I being so critical of a person who wasn’t doing anything to annoy me or make me feel uncomfortable?

This episode is a live exploration of the feelings which came up during the workshop, and an attempt to explore the deeper roots of my critical judgements.

Show Notes

Something Which Scares Me 04:58

  • It scares me when a person understands a lot of information intellectually but hasn’t embodied that knowledge for themselves. Then they present that information to others as if they understand it completely.
  • My fear didn’t come up as fear at first, it surfaced as an extreme critical judgement of others.
  • I experienced extreme critical judgement for someone who was sitting calmly and meditating.

Why Was I Feeling So Critical of This Person? 05:50

  • Even when they were sharing helpful insights on coming through fear, I felt they were being incredibly fake.
  • I felt they were reciting what they had read and practiced but it wasn’t a full understanding of what those words actually meant.
  • I sensed they were upholding a story of who they thought they were and how they wanted others to perceive them.

The Signs I Look for Which Indicate Someone’s Being Authentic 09:54

  • Is the person representing their internal experience on the outside, for others to see? If not, why?
  • A feeling of distrust comes up for me when I sense someone isn’t in-tune with what’s inside them.
  • I’m not suggesting that people should share their every thought and feeling, or their deepest darkest secrets. Simply to acknowledge their current level of knowledge and honestly represent their current emotional state.
  • The person I reacted to was presenting themselves as a spiritual master. It seemed the story of them being perceived as a master, was greater than the knowledge they had actually internalised for themselves.

Why Did I React So Critically to This Person? 13:20

  • I was aware that, separate to my emotional reactions, this person was genuinely calm and at peace. They were also sharing helpful things with other people.

I could see that my reactions of anger and frustration didn’t match the reality of what was actually occurring.

  • When I realised this, I turned my attention back to myself to understand what was occurring.

I’ve Done the Same Thing Myself! 15:32

  • After reading The Power of Now, I was telling people about the information I’d read as if I’d known it for years.
  • I didn’t feel I was being inauthentic in the moment but I also didn’t have a full understanding of what I was talking about.
  • When someone would ask me to explain what I was talking about in more detail, I realised I didn’t know everything about the subject I was talking about; I hadn’t internalised the information for myself, I was simply re-presenting the information I’d read.
  • A question for myself: Why do I need to understand something completely before I can tell other people about it?
  • This dynamic has come up for me before. In Episode 36, I explored similar judgements which came up while I was listening to other people talk about spirituality and self-growth.

The Fear Comes from a Place of Distrust Inside Me 18:49

  • I can’t pinpoint an exact event which has caused me to distrust others, but I can imagine a parent telling me something in a way which came across as absolute truth, and then later finding out that what they were saying wasn’t true, or only subjectively true for them.
  • This distrust of others was surfacing as extreme critical judgement.
  • I could see my reactions did not align with what was actually occurring in the situation.

Turning the Spotlight Back on Myself 20:57

  • Looking at my judgements, I can see I was experiencing fear which took on the form of critical judgements of others.
  • I don’t need to know why I’m afraid of people of not representing themselves authentically; I only need to know that it’s an issue for me.
  • When I feel critical of someone I know to look inside myself and look at how much distrust might be present for me.
  • I then bring myself back to the present moment and ask myself, ‘Is it safe to trust this person even if I don’t agree with what they are saying?’ Usually, the answer will be yes.

Mentioned in This Episode

Featured image by paolobarzman

Licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)