Friday, December 19, 2008

Judgement vs. Judgmental

Obviously, they come from the same root. One is something we do to survive and to get through each day. One is something that hurts us and others.

2. the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, esp. in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.
3. the demonstration or exercise of such ability or capacity: The major was decorated for the judgment he showed under fire.
4. the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgment as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.

Judgmentalism is my personal burden. I am constantly struggling with this inner demon.
  1. Of, relating to, or dependent on judgment: a judgmental error.
  2. Inclined to make judgments, especially moral or personal ones: a marriage counselor who tries not to be judgmental.
My minister called me yesterday to let me know that in her reference letter, this was the place that was a "growing edge" for me. I'm putting it out there, because I really believe in my need to be more transparent and to be held accountable, and because I need help to get past this hurdle. I reassured her that this was something I was actively working on with my spiritual director, and that it is something that I self-identified as a weakness in my Meadville Lombard interview. And then proceeded to give a judgmental answer to the next question ;).

From some post on UUpdates yesterday, I ended up at this link. I think it was supposed to be funny, but I found a lot of it just mean. And I have certainly done my share of bashing Christians and the lack of real Christian thought and adherence to Christian morals in those who identify themselves as such. This is the kind of thing that I could easily find myself doing about group X though - making moral judgments in a way that is hurtful and not loving or kind, and that is not judgement for the sake of making informed choices, but as a way to diminish another group. That is not a UU value that values the worth and dignity of every person.

So where is the line between judgement and judmentalism for others? It's sometimes very blurry. So this will be a place of internal reflection and growth for me going forward - and not just reflection but action. I have struggled with this for years and it's time to start transforming it into something else, if I can just figure out how.


David G. Markham said...

Hi Kelly:

Excellent post! I work on it too all the time.

I don't want to be psychobabbly but it helps to use "I" messages instead of "You" messages.

As you point out, the difference is that it is OK to take a position or stand on things, but not OK to put others down. Sometimes when you take a stand that disagrees with other people they will accuse you of disrespecting them or putting them down, but you aren't you are just taking a position which they don't like.

Another example is that humor can be a great tool in communicating with people but you have to laugh with them not at them.

I think just being aware of the point you make, the difference between judgment and judmentalism is 90% of the battle.

I like your post.

All the best,

David Markham

Kelly KH said...

Thanks David. I think that I do a great job of using "I" messages one-on-one, as I've worked in human services, etc, but I don't do as good a job when I'm talking about groups of people - THOSE Christians, THOSE parents, THOSE xxx. That's where I get tripped up, and I need to do a better job of remembering that THOSE groups are made of individuals.