We are hard-wired for survival. To judge the situation quickly and correctly, to identify the enemy or friend was crucial for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. They had to pay attention, or they were dead in a heartbeat. As we became agricultural society and began to rely on domesticated animals our lives became safer, however it is still important to judge people and situations correctly. We may not die if we misjudge the situation today, but we can become a victim of a crime or… wild animal attack.
I never understood the zookeepers who befriend tigers and lions. Our society makes us soft in the head with all that “do not judge” nonsense.
Here is the situation. You work at the zoo. Your job is to feed the tiger (you can also picture your “crazy ex” instead of tiger).
Oh, he is so cute, just like a pussycat!
The tiger is excited to see you – that makes you feel good. One day you come to the cage and the tiger roars and tries to claw your eyes out. He must be having a bad day!
The non – judgement expert’s advice: Be mindful. Although judgment is a natural instinct, try to catch yourself before you react, speak, or send that nasty email and do any potential harm. You can’t get your words back. Pause. See if you can understand where the person may be coming from. Try to rephrase your critical internal thought into a positive one, or at least a neutral one. After all, we really don’t know the reasons for someone’s behavior.
My advice: use your eyes- you are dealing with a tiger. It is not a dog, cat or any other domesticated animal. It will never be your friend. If you are actually in the cage with the tiger – get out at once!
The non – judgement expert’s advice: Look for basic goodness. This takes practice, as our minds naturally scan for the negative, but if we try, we can almost always find something good about another person.
My advice: Don’t make a victim out of yourself. Realize it is probably a good tiger, therefore you should not be anywhere near it.
The non – judgement expert’s advice: Repeat the mantra, “Just like me.” Remember, we are more alike than different. When I feel critical of someone, I try to remind myself that the other person loves their family just like I do, and wants to be happy and free of suffering, just like I do. Most important, that person makes mistakes, just like I do.
My advice: The tiger loves its family, just like you do. The tiger wants to be happy and free – you should definitely stay out of its way.
The non – judgement expert’s advice: Look at your own behavior. Sometimes, we may be judging someone for something that we do ourselves, or have done.
My advice: The tiger will be a tiger. Analyzing your own behavior in the cage with it, is not a smart thing to do.
The non – judgement expert’s advice: Give the person the benefit of the doubt. Someone once told me, no one wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I’m going to be a jerk today.” Most of us do the best we can with the resources we have at the moment.
My advice: If you used your eyes, saw you were dealing with a tiger, made numerous excuses for him, and still decided to be friends… well, let’s just say – you deserve each other!