“Helping another” a friend just shared with me, “can only be done in the absence of judgment.” This rang true for me and gave cause to consider more deeply how judgments are felt by others and how those feelings affect their openness to receive.

An Analogy of Judgment

To give an analogy, it’s like opening a water valve to a garden hose to water a garden. If we say to a teammate, “Way to go, good job” at the completion of a milestone, while underneath we’re feeling that this person is a slouch, then it’s as though we’re attempting to water a large garden with the valve only 50% open. While we’re saying, “Way to go, good job” we are only 50% genuinely intending to give praise, and 50% in judgment of this person’s work ethic. The net effect is only 50% effective and in some respects counterproductive because if the receiver is able to sense underlying feelings he may feel insincerity in our words, which breads distrust.

A Common Example

A more common example might be that we give praise to a teammate while there is just an inkling of judgment in the back of our mind. Mostly our intention is to build this person up, to give encouragement—let’s say 95% good intention, 5% judgment. Yet, that inkling of negative judgment means our intention is not 100% pure.

“When our intention is pure the resistance to change falls away in the space of total trust.”

Now you could say that opening the valve to 95% flow is pretty good—that no one will notice the difference between 95% and 100%.

Yes, and no …

It’s true when watering the garden, but in the realm of intention and sincerity we may never know when a teammate of ours is able to sense that 5% judgment just enough to always be wondering in the back of his mind if he can truly trust us.

And …

Pure Intention

It is also true that when we hit the mark of 100% crystal clear intention magic begins to happen. Pure intention is not often achieved, but when it is people become compelled to follow a vision that is conveyed with such purity. And when it comes to helping people, when our intention is pure the resistance to change falls away in the space of total trust. In this way you could say that people feel the purity of our intention and the sincerity of our efforts and that total trust follows.

Releasing Judgment

The way we achieve pure intention is to release judgment, which is not necessarily easy to do. It takes practice, often times years of consistent practice. Yet, imagine for a moment how amazing your life would be if you operated from a place of non-judgment and pure intention? This is the space in which we can truly help people shift to the next level, to inspire a team around a vision, to cultivate deeply meaningful relationships, to be a change agent, a harbinger of goodness.

Tip of the Week

Pick a nagging judgment that you’ve held for years, one that you know does not serve you and yet it persists in your thinking. Ask yourself where this judgment came from. Travel through your mind to the original source of the judgment. When you’ve found the originating point of the judgment ask yourself how important the judgment is to you. Now take a deep breath and as you release the breath release the judgment along with the breath. Do this three times. If the judgment you chose is related to a person, the next time you see this person take a deep breath and release and notice the difference. This is just one practice for releasing judgment. There are many. Give it a try.

Acknowledgment: Thank you to Kelleen Griffin for sparking the idea for this blog.