How to be Good?

To judge or not to judge, that is the question for this bitesize episode.

November 29, 2021 Sarah Buckmaster Season 1 Episode 18
To judge or not to judge, that is the question for this bitesize episode.
How to be Good?
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How to be Good?
To judge or not to judge, that is the question for this bitesize episode.
Nov 29, 2021 Season 1 Episode 18
Sarah Buckmaster

For this Bitesize Episode* we’re taking a few minutes to focus on judgement.

Judgement is an integral part of our everyday life; it’s about making considered decisions to come to sensible conclusions, and in many ways it’s essential to keep us safe and functioning. But, as many of our podcast guests have highlighted, when it comes to judging others and – especially judging the good, or bad, in others - we have to be careful.

This is a 7-minute reflection on judgement and the impact it has on our day-to-day happiness.

If you'd like to support this podcast, please visit https://www.buymeacoffee.com/exploregoodness - we appreciate you listening and supporting each episode.

Thank you!

*In Bitesize Episodes, we take a few minutes to focus on a theme, topic, or piece of advice related to “How to be Good” that’s come up in our interviews. We'll talk about how we can put advice from our interviews to practical use in our daily life

 

Show Notes Transcript

For this Bitesize Episode* we’re taking a few minutes to focus on judgement.

Judgement is an integral part of our everyday life; it’s about making considered decisions to come to sensible conclusions, and in many ways it’s essential to keep us safe and functioning. But, as many of our podcast guests have highlighted, when it comes to judging others and – especially judging the good, or bad, in others - we have to be careful.

This is a 7-minute reflection on judgement and the impact it has on our day-to-day happiness.

If you'd like to support this podcast, please visit https://www.buymeacoffee.com/exploregoodness - we appreciate you listening and supporting each episode.

Thank you!

*In Bitesize Episodes, we take a few minutes to focus on a theme, topic, or piece of advice related to “How to be Good” that’s come up in our interviews. We'll talk about how we can put advice from our interviews to practical use in our daily life

 

[Podcast Theme Music: upbeat electro/beats]

Sarah Buckmaster  0:03 
Hi everyone, I'm Sarah and this is the "How to be Good?" podcast that explores what it means to be a good person in today's world.

[Podcast Theme Music]

To judge or not to judge? For this bitesize episode we’re taking a few minutes to focus on judgement.

Andy Phillips (atheist)
We have to be very, very careful how we judge the good in others.

Sarah Buckmaster
Judgement is an integral part of our everyday life; it’s about making considered decisions to come to sensible conclusions, and in many ways it’s essential to keep us safe and functioning. It’s an important part of many societies when it comes to law-making and social-organisation. But, as Atheist Andy Phillips highlights in the quote we’ve just heard, when it comes to judging others and – especially judging the good, or bad in others - we have to be careful. 

Andy Phillips (atheist)
The truth is, it's a lot easier to be a good person if you're well fed and secure. You know, first world problems. This is what we're talking about. It's much easier to be a good person if your life's good. This world is a harsh place. And there's a lot of people on this planet that don't have the things that we do. So we have to be very, very careful how we judge the good in others.

Sarah Buckmaster
And this is where we come to the ineffective – and often harmful – side of judgement: unnecessary judgement of others. 

As part of this podcast, I’ve spent almost two years interviewing incredible people from very different belief-systems – from India and the UK to the USA and Trinidad. From Jewish Rabbis and Buddhist Abbots to Pagan Druids and atheists, they all have very different backgrounds and cultural experiences, and many of them have been – and still are – the target of unkind judgement.  

So, in talking with them, what always stood out to me was how each of them advocated and so strongly supported acceptance of those with different beliefs to their own. In my conversations with the interviewees, the conversations about non-judgement were never about not having an opinion – or not sharing your views on something, it was about being confident enough in your own beliefs to accept those who may be different from you and engage respectfully with them. 

As Muslim Imam Abdulah Polovina shared in his interview;

Muslim Imam Abdulah Polovina
"No matter whether Muslim or non-Muslim, or Christian, Jew. I mean, we are all humans. I believe we came from same source, you know, so we need to be there for each other." 

Sarah Buckmaster
We’re living in a challenging time where current issues are highlighting the many differences between us, debates around the pandemic and vaccinations quickly escalate to aggressive and hateful arguments, fear and frustration around climate change and global poverty drive many to voice angry opinions in opposition to others, and disagreements when it comes to religion and politics have always driven people to strong judgements about what’s wrong and right, and how others should be doing things.

A bit like binary thinking, judging others and attacking those who think differently to us feels like it keeps us safe, but it does the opposite. Judging others just strengthens our self-judgement muscle – so the more unkind, impatient, and unwilling to accept others that we become, the more unkind, impatient and unwilling to accept ourselves we will be.  

As Earl Nightingale said, “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.”  

Now, the reality is that we are always going to judge others – judgement and comparison is a part of life and we’ve developed it as a skill to survive. So this bitesize episode isn’t about trying to aim for perfection, a completely judgement-free life… it’s just about recognising when we start making unhelpful and unnecessary judgements - and considering not only the pointlessness, but also the harm of acting on those judgements. 

What’s interesting is that we usually judge others in the areas we feel we are lacking, or that require our attention. 

So, when you notice yourself judging someone, use the judgement as an opportunity to have a quick stock-take of where you are with yourself in that moment. How we judge others tells us more about ourselves than anyone else. Return the focus to yourself, work out what wound needs healing and take care of yourself rather than harming others. There’s so much truth in the age-old saying that “hurt people hurt people”. 

And – if you’re looking for some inspiration in this area, Sikh Human Rights Activist, Simran Singh, shares a guiding prayer meant to keep Sikhs humble and remind them that everyone is equal before God:

Simran Singh
Our guiding prayer is: I'm not good, and nobody's bad. So where does that leave me? That leaves me with self-respect, prayer that I get to do my best every day, and forgiveness.

Sarah Buckmaster
Since talking with Simran, I’ve used that prayer – I’m not good, and nobody’s bad – at times when I’ve noticed myself judging others or judging myself. I’ve found it a beautiful way to reconnect with the people around me, and it’s a powerful reminder to stay humble as we move through the world

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the interviews for this podcast, it’s that judgement of others doesn’t make us happy. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. 

True happiness is grounded in mutual understanding and respect among different people and cultures. We may not agree with everyone we meet, but we can create community with the people around us, embrace and enjoy our differences, and get more comfortable with the grey areas of life. 

We may live in a world full of differences, but as Catholic Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen reminds us, when it comes to wanting to live a good life, we are so much more alike than different.

Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen 
We are so much more alike than different. There are so many more things in our lives - the smile, the nod, the kind word.. Those things are tantamount to what it is to be human, to be good, to be relational. And what a joy. What a joy.

[Podcast Theme Music comes in, and then gently fades so it's quietly playing in background as Sarah begins talking...]

Sarah Buckmaster  25:44 
If you've enjoyed this episode, and would like to hear more episodes and interviews exploring the question of what it means to be a good person in today's world, then please visit www.howtobegood.co.uk or subscribe on your favourite podcast listening platform.

And if you'd like to support the podcast, then head over to buymeacoffee.com/exploregoodness, and you can buy me a warm drink to help with the creation of these episodes.

Thank you for listening. Please share with your friends. And if you have any questions or suggestions, email me at any time. It's sarah@howtobegood.co.uk and I always love to hear from you.

Thank you!

[Podcast Theme Music, fades out]

Transcribed by Sarah Buckmaster