Judge Not

I think there is a big difference between being opinionated and being judgmental, however, they seem to have the same result, in that one person feels criticized, and the other person feels  superior.  I am the ridiculously liberal daughter of a ridiculously conservative family, the proverbial black sheep if you will, and I have little, if anything, in common with my family regarding social issues, politics, religion, war and peace, or society in general…yet, I love my family very much and feel deeply loved by them.  I am faithful to NPR, Rachel Maddow, and Jon Stewart, just like they are faithful to Fox news, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly.  I like to think of myself as very left of center, perhaps some would call me a wannabe-socialist, and they simply think they are correct and I am wrong.  Part of my personal evolution has been to “get over” feeling judged or criticized, and simply to accept others as they are and hope that they accept me as I am, and to default to the go to “F**k ’em” if they don’t.  It takes a lot of work, I mean, really, we want people to like us right?  However, part of becoming who you are is understanding that YOU have to like you, and what you think and how you think.  That job belongs to nobody but you.  Like we learned in The Four Agreements, what other people think of us or about us is none of our business.

I gave up years ago thinking one was right, me, and one was wrong, them, because I realized all that really matters is what I believe, what I think, and how I try to live on this earth, and try to be the best possible human I can, on this go-round in this physical life.  I have learned that this is the best way to live, for me.  I no longer believe that what I think about anything at all, be it poverty, war, abortion, the environment, or Wall Street, matters to anybody else…all that matters is what I believe, from what I have read, heard, and seen, and I try to live my life accordingly.  I try to be informed, I am well-educated and well read, and I do my best to get information and process it, it’s all we can do.  I can only live in a way that feels right and good for me, and I can only hope that others do the same.  I respect your beliefs and values and hope you respect mine, no matter how divisive they might seem.

I have long believed I am far more ‘Christian’ in my beliefs of what it means to be a human on this planet, what it means to “do unto others,” what it means to be kind and be good, than some I have met in my life who claim to “know” Jesus or believe in God or claim to live a Godly life.  I learned a long time ago that we are what we do, and how we act, not what we say and what we say we believe, and I accept this.  This is the way things are.  I suppose  I was in college when I stopped trying to understand how other people think, or to make sense of why they think like they do, in all subjects or areas that were different from my thoughts.  I figured out that *we ALL think the way we think is THE way to think.*  I figured out that no matter how uninformed, misinformed, or oblivious somebody might seem to me, I understand that this is how I must appear to them…so STEP 15 is not about “changing” really at all.  STEP 15 I think is more of a celebration; embracing what you believe, and owning it, and just understand that it may not be right for me, or your neighbor, and what I believe may not be right for you or my neighbor, but it’s o.k.   You don’t have to judge or criticize that which is different, you don’t have to push what you believe down the gullet of anybody else, in fact, you don’t even have to ever let on to anybody what your framework, philosophy, or beliefs are.  If they work for you, that is all that matters.  “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now”  just as they are, just as you are, just how they think, just how they look, no matter what they believe or you support, not someday.  Yes, right now…


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