Photo of J'aime ona Pangaia

About Those Who Critcize

by J’aime ona Pangaia
Copyright 2013

I wrote this in response to a photo-quote post I saw on FB that was essentially about how one should not judge others because of the harm it causes them. I’m offering a "Voice Dialogue" perspective on this issue.
Other people’s criticisms of us don’t hurt us unless we already agree with them on some level. For example, if you said, "The problem with you J’aime, is that you dye your hair," that critique wouldn’t harm me, because I accept the truth that I dye my hair and all my feelings surrounding this choice. I know about the part of me who disapproves, due to a set of values, and the part of me who likes to dye my hair because of a different value system.
If you said, "The problem with you J’aime, is that you are too judgmental", that critique wouldn’t bother me because I accept the truth that there’s a part of me that judges. If you said, “The problem with you J’aime is that you’re not loving all the time” that wouldn’t bother me because I accept that there are parts of me who are not ‘loving’. If any of these things did bother me, it would be because of some rule I would have identified with, that my hair SHOULD be naturally colored, that I should NEVER judge, or that I should be loving ALL the time. And it’s a terrible set up for failure to have some spiritual rule going on in us that we SHOULD BE loving all the time and NEVER judge, etc., - simply because we are much more complex human beings than that.
Those kinds of rules help us to conform to perceived socially defined ways (the ‘thou shalts’), but they don’t in any way help us to become more conscious. And people who identify with those fixed rules STILL fail, but then condemn themselves for it. More to the point is the challenge of how does one develop awareness and acceptance of all these complex inner selves (natural/ created, loving/ not loving, judgmental/non-judgmental, etc.) and be in active relationship with others? Not so easy, but well worth the challenge.
When someone judges us, it’s ultimately a revelation of what they have disowned in themselves. It points to what they feel vulnerable about. When someone judges you, if you can, pause, and reflect within yourself. Is this stinging me? Does some part of me believe this too? And what do other parts of me say/feel about this?
The reason I begin to move away from consistently judgmental people is not so much because of their judgments, but because all that judging energy gets in the way of experiencing any kind of pleasant linkage. Otherwise, our relationship is cluttered with all the projections of their disowned selves and for me, that is tiring and a bit lonesome! I can speak to this easily, because I have been working for many, many years with the judgmental system in me. It’s been a long journey bringing it to my consciousness and this journey has been fueled by a longing for more of what Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone (creators of Voice Dialogue) call “energetic linkage’.
It’s also worth differentiating negative judgments from discernment about ‘what belongs to you’ (another great concept the Stones came up with). I could have a part of me that judges rock and roll with a whole lot of nasty feelings (e.g., it’s, juvenile, angry, etc.) - meaning, I’ve disowned those qualities in myself. Or I might indeed own those very qualities and yet discern that rock and roll in general just doesn’t speak to me - maybe jazz music is what ‘lights my fire’. There’s no negativity towards rock and roll, just not an alignment. It can come with a shrug, ‘I just don’t care that much for rock and roll.”
Now, if someone you’re talking with loves rock and roll, and is even identified with rock and roll, AND they have a major Inner Critic, they can personalize this statement as a judgment against them. The thought might go something like this, “I’m a rock and roll lover and since s/he doesn’t care for rock and roll, s/he doesn’t care for ME – s/he is rejecting /judging me.” Again, this kind of situation makes any real and respectful linkage difficult and is a magnet for a very negative bonding pattern if one or both people get hooked. On the other hand one CAN have a very nice energetic linkage with a person who doesn’t enjoy all the same things that you do, via respect for the sovereignty of the other.