Preconceived Notions

“Use your best judgment.”  “Where was your judgment?!?” “How dumb of you!”

All your life people tell you that you have to be judgmental and now I say don’t be. Where am I coming from?

Judgment has its place. Where would Little Red Riding Hood have been if she had not used her judgment? Little Red stew coming up! But sometimes being judgmental is not a good thing.

The purpose of the duck/rabbit exercise was to demonstrate how limiting preconceived notions – judgments about how things are going to be – actually are. You expected to see a duck. Lin cued you to see a duck in her post. I suspect many of you had to really look for the rabbit. With the judgment of what ‘should’ be there, you missed what could be there.

Bringing it a little closer to home. What were your preconceived notions about life with AMD? How about “My life will become very limited”? Now if that was your preconceived notion of your future, would you have reached out and tried to still be involved? If you thought that was the way it ‘should’ be, I rather doubt you would have. However, the truth of the matter is, things don’t have to be that way. You just were not open to seeing the rabbit – the alternatives – because you had accepted the duck – your preconceived judgment of how things should be. You saw what ‘should’ be there instead of what could be there.

Judgments can get in the way of acceptance. Remember the dialectic is “we cannot change that which we do not accept”. Accepting there is something wrong is the first step to getting it fixed.

The example I used before was the judgment fear is for wusses. I am not a wuss therefore I am not afraid. That fear is for wusses is a judgmental statement that keeps the fear from being acknowledged and the cause dealt with.

How about this: “My vision got really cloudy all of a sudden. Weak people are always running to the doctor. I am not weak so it is probably nothing. I will wait for my appointment next week.” Is that judgment going to lead to acceptance and getting the problem fixed? I would say not.

Another way we use judgment is to put ourselves down. How many times have you heard someone declare he cannot dance? He declares he has two left feet and sits on the side instead of getting up…to get down. Self judgments make us very self-conscious.

We ignore a whole universe of coulds because of the shoulds: people with two left feet should avoid the dance floor. What fun is that?

Which brings us to the last ‘what’ skill, participation. I am just going to do a few words on participation but it is basically this: jump in with both feet and dance like no one is watching.

Do things with wild abandon. Ignore the shoulds. Ignore the critical little voice judging you and dance.

Sometimes judgments can be damned.

OK, does that better explain the Duck or Rabbit page? Don’t hesitate to leave your comments.

Next: name that emotion

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