Entries in connected (2)



Assuming that evil does exist, I believe that when anyone judges someone else or sterotypes others or thinks/discusses prejudicial ideas or in any way acts to separate theirselves from others, they are acting in a way that is potentially evil or are beginning of a process that will clearly become evil. [I am not referring to the dictionary definition of evil as profoundly immoral and malevolent.]

The above definition of evil might seem kind of wierd or wrong, however my patients have taught me that what I mentioned above is correct. Every time one of my patients [or myself] non-specifically criticize or judge others it is wrong. It is wrong because it separates us from those people and as humans we are meant to be connected to each other. 

So, how can any of this be clarified much less validated. One way I validate this information is by having the opportunity daily to learn from my patients how they relate to others when they are being judgmental compared to when they are able to stop being judgmental [reduce it by a lot] and how that impacts the quality of their relationships. Over and over I have seen this change correlated with significant improvements in their relationships to others [including their families] and their own level of happiness. They are much less stressed and are able to not dwell on the past as much. 

So now I appear to be promoting giving up judging others as a way to reduce stress and increase satisfaction with our lives and our happiness. Well, I am. Now what do others say? I searched for information and found an article in Psychology Today from October 24, 2014 by Barbara Markway, Ph.D. entitled  "10 Reasons To Stop Judging People."  The 10 reasons are: 1. don't blame yourself as we are "hard wired to have fight/flight/or frozen" reactions and it is "natural" to judge others; 2. be mindful so you are self aware enough to catch yourself before you say something judgmental; 3. depersonalize the situation as you remind yourself that it is really not about you but likely reflects the conflict that the other person is having; 4. Look for basic goodness in others. We "naturally scan for the negative," but the positive is there; 5. Repeat "just like me." This reminds us that we are more like each other than different and actually from the same subspecies; 6. Reframe what you are hearing to consider that it really is not personal [about you]; 7. Be willing to look at your own behavior as this may be the source of  your upset with someone else; 8. Educate yourself about the other person and see if they may be disabled in some way; 9. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. We generally all do the best we can; 10. Feel good about yourself and you will be less likely to judge others.  A final comment by Dr. Markway states that judging other defines us, not others. There are many other articles and research that appears to support that we are happier if we do not judge others.

I disagree with Dr. Markway about her stating that it is natural to judge others and that we naturally scan for the negative about others.  I believe that we have learned to cope with our own insecurities by judging others and being critical of them. So, judging and criticizing others is not natural. But why then do we do these things? Many of us have had experiences when other people acted in ways that we felt overwhelmed and threatened. Then, to keep from feeling even more overwhelmed, we learn to judge others and be critical of them so we won't be fooled into trusting them.  We also try to keep things from getting worse by taking on responsiblity for others. These coping strategies may keep things from getting worse but they also alienate us from others that can lead to depression and anxiety.  

So, what can be do to stop coping by judging others and criticising them? It helps to be aware that we are doing this and then choosing [outloud] to stop doing it. We then will be able to learn that it is safe to stop judging and criticizing others and that we will actually feel calmer and less stressed if we do.

What do you think?




Much has been written about the wonders of being connected through the internet to the world and the potential problems of changing how we connect to each other.  My daughter forwarded an article from the NY Times by Barbara Fredrickson about this topic.  Ms. Fredrickson is a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and she was writing about research that she and her colleagues have completed that is published in a recent issue of "Psychological Science."  They measured the capacity for people to have warm interpersonal connections in daily life by having half of the participants chosen at random participated in a six week workshop on a very old mind-training practice called Metta that is translated as "loving kindness." that teaches developing warmth and tenderness towards oneself and others.  The participants who were exposed to the loving kindness workshop, were more positive and socially connected and also had improved "vagal tone."  

Vagal tone is the connection between your brain and your heart and other organs.  The higher the vagal tone, the better your brain is regulating your internal organs and immune system.  Also, Fredrickson referenced Stephen Porges, a behavioral neuroscientist, who has shown that vagal tone is important to facial expressivity and the abiity to tune into the frequency of the human voice.  Thus, it would seem that a higher vagal tone could improve one's capacity to connect to others, form friendships and be empathic.

So, it might be better to put down the i phone and say hello to someone.