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    How to be Less Judgmental (Of Other People – and Yourself) | La Sarmiento

    We can love and accept people for who they are, but it's important to separate their behavior from their true self. Removing toxic behavior is okay, but discernment allows for compassion and understanding in our relationships.

    enFebruary 27, 2023

    About this Episode

    Meditation and mindfulness doesn’t uproot your capacity to be judgmental, but it can help you see the value in being judgmental by learning how to work with the judging mind. 


    La Sarmiento has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1998. La is a mentor for the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, a teacher with Cloud Sangha, and a contributor to the Ten Percent Happier app.


    In this episode we talk about:


    • How mindfulness can help us identify when we’re being judgmental
    • The difference between discernment and judgment
    • How it can be so delicious to be judgmental of others – but why it’s actually harmful to ourselves and others
    • The four questions to ask when we notice ourselves going into judgment mode 
    • How to operationalize the phrase “am I suffering right now?” 
    • Investigating the motivations behind striving for success 
    • Why owning up to being a jerk is sometimes the exact right answer



    Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/la-sarmiento-564

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    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Practicing mindfulness can help us recognize and differentiate between discernment and judgmentalism, leading to a more positive mindset and avoiding ill-will or hatred. Asking four simple questions can also help us overcome our inner judgmentalism.
    • Comparing oneself to others and judging them based on one's standards can lead to a false sense of superiority, isolation, and internalized judgment. Mindfulness and self-awareness can help address these tendencies, leading to greater connection and belonging.
    • Be kind and honest with yourself, acknowledge your feelings, and recognize it's okay to feel scared or insecure. Mindfulness helps in recognizing unhealthy survival mechanisms, showing up, doing your best even when you mess up.
    • Acknowledge and accept emotions as human while processing them with mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion. Avoid suppressing emotions and make skillful choices instead of reacting impulsively to situations.
    • To stay open-hearted, evaluate if your heart is open or closed, and if you are suffering or free, empowered or disempowered, and connected or disconnected by practicing discernment and asking questions. Engage with life without judgment and cultivate patience, understanding, respect, love, and compassion.
    • Practicing mindfulness allows us to be more discerning by taking inventory of situations and speaking from our own experiences instead of projecting judgment. While comedy and gossip may involve judgmental elements, it's important to be aware of self-deception and consider the context. Cultivate discernment and mindfulness in your daily life.
    • Mindfulness is a helpful tool to recognize our emotions, be present in the moment, and stay away from judgment and gossiping. By asking the right questions and paying attention, we can avoid hurting others and be more compassionate.
    • Whenever you're suffering, pause and investigate how it's affecting your body, emotions, and thoughts. Tend to yourself in the moment. Don't overwork. Question yourself about what you want in life and push yourself out of doubt and insecurities to live fully.
    • Our worthiness is inherent and trusting ourselves leads to peace. We must examine what we truly want and define what is enough for us. Small group and individual mentoring can help us achieve grounding, happiness, and peace.
    • Success does not have to come at the cost of self-judgment and self-laceration. It's important to evaluate whether our motivations stem from ego, fame, or insufficiency, and instead, focus on genuine love for a cause or person. Mindfulness can help us slow down and make better decisions by assessing how we relate to the world.
    • By noticing and acknowledging our judgmental and comparative thoughts, and practicing self-compassion, we can develop present moment awareness and decrease the need for things to be different, leading to a more fulfilling life.
    • Focus on the present moment, view distractions as opportunities to build mindfulness, and thank inner demons for trying to help, instead of being overcome by self-judgment, anxiety or regret.
    • Don't judge yourself or others, instead accept and embrace flaws, practicing self-validation and kindness cultivates compassion, inner peace, and trust.
    • We can love and accept people for who they are, but it's important to separate their behavior from their true self. Removing toxic behavior is okay, but discernment allows for compassion and understanding in our relationships.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    How mindfulness helps to recognize judgmentalism

    Mindfulness can help us differentiate between discernment and judgmentalism. Being judgmental isn't valuable. Inner judgmentalism can lead to a feeling of ill-will or hatred. Nitpicking every decision and second-guessing compulsively can lead to painful thoughts. La Armo shares a story of his personal experience where he used to judge others to feel better about himself since he was insecure about himself. We can detect when we are being judgmental with the help of mindfulness. Furthermore, we can also learn four questions to ask ourselves when we notice that we are going into judgment mode. We can ask: Am I suffering right now? How can I say this differently? And so on.

    The danger of compensatory judgmentalism and how it affects one's relationships and self-perception.

    Comparing oneself to others and judging them based on one's own standards can create a false sense of superiority and further isolate oneself. This kind of judgmentalism can originate from feelings of insecurity, doubt, and lack of acceptance. It can play out in both childhood and adult years, affecting relationships and creating internalized judgment towards oneself. La Sarmiento's experience highlights the danger of compensatory judgmentalism, in which people try to feel superior by judging others, stemming from feelings of inferiority. Mindfulness and self-awareness can help recognize and address these judgmental tendencies, leading to greater connection and belonging.

    The Power of Self-Talk and Mindfulness in Overcoming Neurotic patterns.

    Talking to yourself in a gentle and kind way can help counterprogram old neurotic patterns. Acknowledge your feelings and be honest about what's going on for you. Recognize that it's okay to feel scared or insecure. Humanizing our experiences can be the key to being authentic and healthy, rather than hiding behind a facade. Mindfulness can help in recognizing that your younger self and the survival mechanisms you developed to protect yourself from hurts no longer serve you well. With practice, we learn to be kinder and gentler to ourselves and trust that we will show up and do our best, even if we mess up.

    Balancing Cathartic Normalization with Mindfulness, Wisdom, and Compassion.

    Cathartic normalization is helpful in dealing with inner dialogue, but overdoing it may not be beneficial. Mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion are essential to process emotions and feelings. It is important to notice when we are suffering and take responsibility for our own feelings. We have a choice in how we proceed once we recognize our suffering. Pushing away or suppressing emotions only leads to harboring them, which can make us react impulsively to situations. Accepting our emotions and feelings as human and processing them as they come up can help us live more mindfully and make skillful choices.

    How to stay open-hearted and avoid judgmental thoughts

    To avoid adding to our own pain, we should not internalize societal stories or project others' judgments onto ourselves. Practicing discernment and asking questions about whether our hearts are open or closed, if we are suffering or free, empowered or disempowered, and connected or disconnected can help us stay open-hearted and avoid judgment. Our heart being open means having the capacity to engage with life, cultivate patience, understanding, respect, love, and compassion. Engaging with life without judgment and cultivating discernment is key to stay connected and avoid separation and isolation.

    The Importance of Discernment vs Judgmentalism in Mindfulness

    Practicing mindfulness can help us become more discerning instead of judgmental when making choices or reacting to situations. Being discerning involves taking inventory of all that's present and happening and speaking or acting from our own experiences instead of projecting judgment onto something else. While there may be some deliciousness to being judgmental at times, it's important to consider the context and be aware of self-deception. Comedy and gossip may involve judgmental elements, but the context in which they occur matters. Dharma teachers imitating their Indian gurus is not cool, and comedians like Dave Chappelle have been called out on some of their comedy. Overall, it's helpful to cultivate discernment and mindfulness in our daily lives.

    How Mindfulness Practice Can Reduce Gossiping

    Gossiping can be hurtful and not ethical. Mindfulness practice helps to notice when we are suffering and to recognize our emotions. La Sarmiento advises asking four questions when feeling judgmental: Is my heart open or closed? Do I feel connected or disconnected? Do I feel free or am I suffering? Am I feeling empowered or disempowered? Mindfulness of the body is the first clue to recognizing our emotions. The more we practice, the more we can quiet our thoughts, be with our emotions more fully, and create ease and spaciousness in our bodies. Mindfulness practices help us to be with life as it is and not cause harm to others through gossip.

    A Life Hack To Alleviate Suffering And Live Fully.

    A simple life hack to alleviate suffering is to pause and ask yourself if you're suffering and investigate how it's affecting your body, emotions, and thoughts. It's important to tend to yourself in the moment to live fully and be cool with yourself. While some people may need to push themselves to get motivated, it's harmful if they overwork themselves and don't have time for anything or anyone. It's essential to question yourself about what you want in life - fame, fortune, ease, or happiness, and push yourself out of doubt and insecurities. Ultimately, it's about being with your suffering to live life to the fullest.

    Decolonizing Our Hearts, Minds, and Bodies to Find Inner Peace

    Our worthiness is inherent to us, we don't have to prove it to anyone else. Decolonizing our heart, mind, and body helps us to unlearn the internalized messages we receive from the culture. We have to examine and understand what we really want from our life. Trusting ourselves and believing in our abilities does not lead to complacency but to a deep sense of peace and equanimity that enables us to face any challenge that life throws at us. We get to determine what is enough for us, regardless of what others think. Small group mentoring and individual mentoring can help us find happiness, grounding, and peace.

    Challenge Assumptions and Reevaluate Motivations for Success.

    Do not assume that self-judgment is the only way to achieve success. Investigate whether this strategy is actually making you happy and if it's fueling assumptions that self-laceration is needed to be effective. Varying levels of luck and privilege can affect our choices. Motivation can be fueled by love for a cause or a person rather than ego, fame, money, or insufficiency. A mindful practice can help slow down and evaluate how to relate to life, as life itself is beyond our control. Ask yourself what mode of thinking you are in when faced with a decision: judging, comparing, or fixing?

    Breaking Free from Mental Habits that Prevent Mindfulness

    Judging, comparing, and fixing are ways in which we try to survive in the world and feel superior to others. However, these mental habits prevent us from being present and experiencing life as it is. To break these habits, we need to notice when they occur, acknowledge the suffering they cause, and practice self-compassion. By doing so, we can decrease our need for things to be different and tend to our emotions. Mindfulness and meditation can help us develop present moment awareness, which is essential for living a fulfilling life.

    Mindfulness and Overcoming Inner Demons

    The present moment is valuable and precious, but people are often conditioned to focus on the past or future, leading to anxiety and regret. Self-judgment is a common obstacle to mindfulness, particularly during meditation, and the key is to avoid getting caught up in it. Instead, celebrate the moment of waking up from distraction and recognize it as an opportunity to familiarize oneself with habits of mind. Both anger and self-centeredness can be inner demons that distract, but it's possible to thank them for trying to help, even if they do so unskillfully.

    The Importance of Acceptance and Kindness towards Oneself and Others.

    Self-judgment and judgment of others can be hurtful and lead to a painful relationship. Accepting oneself and others for who they are, flaws and all, can bring about healing and inner peace. Internalizing criticism and judgment only leads to berating oneself and feeling inadequate. Acceptance, kindness, and gentleness towards oneself and others is the key to compassion and happiness. Learning to not internalize or judge others' opinions and thoughts can bring about transformation and trust. Accepting the flaws of oneself and others allows for the acceptance of humanity and encourages the notion that no one is perfect and that's okay. Self-validation is crucial. Kindness towards oneself and others encourages compassion and a peaceful mindset.

    Accepting without endorsing: The Importance of Discernment in Relationships

    Accepting someone for who they are doesn't mean endorsing their views that we find unacceptable. We can love them but not agree with them. It's important to discern between a person's behavior and who they truly are as a person. Even the most despicable person has innate goodness in them. Making this distinction helps us have compassion and understanding for others, rather than throwing them out of our hearts. It's also okay to set boundaries and remove toxic behavior from our lives. If we as a society can move from judgment to discernment, we can function way better at an interpersonal and macro level.

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