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Understanding Judgement and Opinion: A Journey Towards Self-awareness and Discernment

At Firefly Within, I often explore the intricacies of personal development and self-awareness. A significant aspect of this journey involves understanding how we interact with others, particularly how we judge or form opinions about them. While both processes might seem similar, they stem from different places within us—often influenced by our past traumas and our innate ability to discern. Today, we'll delve into the nuances between judging others and forming opinions, shedding light on how each process affects our relationships and personal growth.

The Nature of Judgement

Women gossiping and judging others.

Judgement is a word that often carries a negative connotation, and rightly so, as it involves forming a conclusion or assessment about others that usually comes from a place of bias, criticism, or negativity. What's critical to understand is that judgement often springs from our unresolved issues or past traumas. When we judge others, we're typically projecting our fears, insecurities, or unresolved emotions onto them. This mechanism can be a subconscious defense strategy to protect ourselves from perceived threats, but it often hinders our ability to see the person objectively.

For instance, if someone grew up in an environment where trust was frequently breached, they might judge people who remind them of those past traumas as untrustworthy without substantial evidence. This reactive judgement serves more as a reflection of the judge's past and less about the person being judged.

Forming Opinions as Discernment

In contrast, forming an opinion is a more reflective and discerning process. It involves evaluating someone based on observations and interactions, then deciding what role or relationship—if any—they should have in our lives. This doesn't necessarily come from a place of emotional reaction but from a thoughtful consideration of how the person aligns with our values, boundaries, and life goals.

Discernment allows us to navigate through relationships more wisely, recognizing which connections are nurturing and which may be toxic or draining. It involves a conscious decision-making process that respects both our well-being and the intrinsic value of others, without being clouded by our past.

People meeting for the first time and forming an opinion about each other.

Examples to Illustrate the Difference

Imagine meeting someone new at a social event. If you find yourself instantly disliking them because they remind you of someone who hurt you in the past, that’s judgement. You're not really seeing the person in front of you; instead, you are seeing the shadow of someone from your past.

On the other hand, if you spend time observing how this new acquaintance interacts with you and others, and you decide their behavior doesn't align with your values—say, they are disrespectful to others—you might form the opinion that this isn’t someone you want to get close to. This decision is based on discernment from their actions, not a projection of your past.

The Path Forward: Embracing Self-awareness and Healing

To shift from judgement to discernment, we must first become aware of our tendency to project our past onto others. This awareness can be cultivated through mindfulness practices, biofeedback, therapy, and deep self-reflection. By healing our past wounds, we reduce the likelihood of these wounds coloring our perceptions of others.

Secondly, embracing discernment involves continually asking ourselves why we feel a certain way about a person. Is it because of what they have done, or because they remind us of someone else or something else from our past? Being honest with ourselves about these distinctions helps in making more balanced and healthy decisions.

Understanding the difference between judging and forming opinions is crucial in our path to deeper self-awareness and more fulfilling relationships. By recognizing where our feelings come from—our past traumas or our genuine discernment—we can better navigate our social worlds and grow into the best versions of ourselves. At Firefly Within, we encourage you to explore these facets of your interactions with others, as this awareness is a beacon that guides you to your true self and your inner light.

Many blessings,

Karin Wolfe, HHP, CBS

Owner at Firefly Within

Karin Wolfe, Holistic Health Practitioner, Certified Biofeedback Specialist, Owner at FireflyWithin

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