Real Communication Begins When You Get Past Your Judgements - Grasshopper
Judgements are normal, and when they feed on themselves they become the glue that keeps communication from flowing.
Judgement has gotten a bad name over the years. “Don’t be so judgemental” is a phrase we often hear or say. Judgement is part of the human software package and if you don’t use it, you do so at the risk of your own peril.
Its step-sister, discrimination, has also gotten a poor reputation because many people have it filed in their mind exclusively as racism. It’s not. Discrimination is also a useful part of the package we all receive.
The natural state of affairs is to have a judgement rise up as a response to a stimulus. The way we judge is a learned behavior. We learn it from social, cultural and parental conditioning. Here’s the downside of judgement: Conditioning a very young child to display hate towards another race and grow into an even bigger bigot.
Once we have been conditioned to a stimulus, our response is basically the same each time, until we learn that we abandon our free will by not putting a wedge between the stimulus and response and offering ourselves a choice.
So what happens when it’s in everyone’s best interest to have a pow-wow to search for the common good and people stick with their judgements? You have a formal event where communication never gets past the surface level and remains robotic and sludgy. Reminds me of something I remember from high school History . . .
Our teacher told us that World War II was inevitable because the seeds for it were sown in the treaty of World War I. There was little communicating and lots of judgement in place at the Treaty of Versailles.
The key to getting deeper into communication with someone is to notice your judgements while they are happening. Recognize immediately that you are automatically putting out a piece of learned behavior. Once you recognize your judging process, it is easier to put it off to the side and begin real communication. The judgement will always be there if you need it back.
“Judge quickly” is another way of saying to notice your judgements. “Judge quickly” means to allow your judgement, and then let it go. The difficulty in communicating with another is when we have a judgement and spend all our time justifying its existence and then labeling it as “right.”
Whether you are judging someone for their ideology or the way they hang toilet paper, you turn it into high drama when you hold on to the judgement. You occupy your thinking with all the thoughts of being on the side of the angels and blind yourself to another’s halo.
Many judgements and discriminations that we learned work well. For example, it’s a productive use of judgement to know how to discriminate between an uncut melon that’s ripe and one that’s not. That’s the upside. Notice that these discriminations and judgements don’t seem to have “right” attached to them. They have the label “useful” as their description. These rarely get in the way of communication.
The ones we would be best served to notice are the ones that keep us riding high in the saddle with our nose in the air. These are the judgements that The Grasshopper warns us about when he says that “most people would rather be right than happy.”
Judgement and prejudice have their place but never work well in the arena of communication. Reminds me of an old boss I once had . . .
He would say, “This is a conversation where I talk and you listen.” That’s never a conversation; it’s a monologue and has little to do with communicating.
If you are having a monologue in your head about how stupid, evil, wrong, etc. another is, you’re chances of reaching them or learning something new from them is tainted.
My experience is that my learning increases when I notice and set aside my judgements about another long enough to have a real communication.
Real communication is a level playing field where each person is afforded the courtesy of their expression without pre-judgement. It’s from this level plane that new ideas flow. It’s unbigoted brainstorming that allows a flood of real communication.
I’m thinking of a new reality TV show that will prove this point. I call it DATING IN THE DARK. I wonder how many more pleasurable encounters we would have with others if we could only sense them without the baggage of judgement.
All the best,
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