Why does staying in judgment keep us from forgiveness?
“What an idiot! I look fat in this, I hate my hair. I’m such a crappy mother or I can’t get anything right.” Most of us judge ourselves more frequently than the regular doses of criticism we dish out to others. But that is the point; because judgment is all about us.
“You must be picking up on my biological father. He is a complete scumbag and with any luck he’ll die in pain soon.”
Those bitter words came from a sweet lipped, pretty faced, young woman who responded to a question I’d asked. She was completely unaware of her vitriol. Her response was as casual as if she were talking about ice-cream.
Old anger and resentment was so deep in her that she had no idea the judgment she held for her father was a reflection of her own belief. It was her fear that she wasn’t good enough. That was the message she heard from her father’s self-destructive behavior. Her pain was so imbedded that she missed the truth that his actions were about his own self-hate; not about her worth.
Sometimes we wield our judgment like a sword cutting down the perpetrator while looking for validation of our feelings from others.
“My father is a liar and hurts people. He only calls once a year promising to call back but never does.” The raw pain that resides in the young woman hides behind her angry words and her nonchalant stare.
A listener might say, “Yes, he is a jerk, a loser, better not to have him in your life.”
In this way we hold onto our anger and pain feeling justified about our judgments. We completely miss our lack of self-esteem which is a byproduct of our dysfunctional relationship. It’s likely that our self-loathing wreaks havoc in our other relationships too. Generally, we blame that on our crappy father or any other likely culprit which keeps us from forgiving, letting go or learning to love ourselves.
We swear that our ex-friend, sibling, neighbor, parent, co-worker, boss or ex-partner is hateful, a drug addict, an alcoholic, a liar, a cheater, a thief or any number of behaviors which will support our reason for judgment and personal dislike. It is why we claim to keep our distance because as long as we can judge others, we never have to forgive or consider our own opportunity for growth because we can substantiate our feelings through the seedy behavior of another.
What we may overlook is that everything in our lives offers a choice of who we can become and our judgment, no matter how many people agree with us, keeps us from forgiving. Judgment is always about us and so we have the choice to forgive and allow love. I chose love. What will you choose?