Judgement demands punishment.
– David Kessler
I was arrested by these three words when I heard Kessler make this statement in an interview with Brene Brown.
Becoming unoffendable has been an intention I’ve been working on for yours. Is it even possible? Probably not, but it’s a worthy goal. As a trainer that specializes in optimizing communication and increasing EQ in company cultures, I recognize that being offended is a huge roadblock in relationships. When we get offended, we transition into a mindset of “I’m right and you’re wrong”. That’s a sure way to shut down meaningful communication. We no longer listen to the other person as we are too busy defending our own position.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”Stephen Covey
When you feel offended by another, it’s a sign you have passed judgement. The statement “judgement demands punishment” implies that someone is going to get hurt. It might be you. It might be the other person. Most likely, it will be both of you. Therein is the motivation to make the effort to bridge the communication gap. We need connection with others desperately – especially after dealing with a global pandemic for more than a year. Emotions have been running high in all of us. And it’s easier to judge another than to try to understand them.
This topic came up in a discussion about Kessler’s latest book, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. Kessler authored several books with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, known for her work on the five stages of grief. The stages of grief provide a parallel to the way we navigate change. We go through denial, anger, deliberation, action, and acceptance. This “new” sixth stage, finding meaning, is crucial and encouraging.
We are collectively grieving the loss of so many things we knew and loved. We are all grieving differently and sometimes the way another is responding to the changes can make us crazy. Empathy and understanding are needed now more than ever. It’s a struggle to live in a polarized world. Judging others fuels disconnection. Disconnection increases the divide.
If we want a different outcome, we have to change something. And it starts with choosing to be kind.
When I am able to resist the temptation to judge others, I can see them as teachers of forgiveness in my life, reminding me that I can only have peace of mind when I forgive rather than judge.Dr. Gerald Jampolsky
Think how much healing can happen if every single one of us makes an effort to put aside our need to be right and decides walk in love. It’s beautiful to imagine.