Judging Prevents Change
Excerpt from: Who’s REALLY Driving Your Bus?
By James O. Henman, Ph.D., Psychological Associates Press, 2003.
Take a moment to reflect on your life up to this moment. It is important to let yourself notice accurately, without judging what you see. How would you describe your life up to this point? As a whole, how do you feel about your life up until now? As you begin to experience this reflection, how are you feeling about what you are noticing? Most people are not aware of this Second-Order process in their feelings. They tend to lump all their feelings together under a single label. They then assume their “feelings” are the direct result of the situation they are struggling with. Judging has a very negative impact on your ability to make changes because of the impact judging has at the level of Second-Order feelings.
If you stop and think about it, it makes perfect sense. If you begin to feel very bad about noticing an unhealthy pattern in your life today, it is only natural that you will begin to avoid noticing. When you stop noticing a pattern, change becomes impossible.
The reason that your Old Program filters are able to continue, in spite of the fact that you would reject many of the fundamental principles and assumptions that form your Old Program, is because you are not consciously aware of your filters. Judging interferes with noticing, and greatly increases your subjective feeling of pain. It also increases the chances that you will push away your awareness, in order to avoid the painful feelings associated with judgmental awareness.
Notice what happens if you let yourself “feel good about noticing” the things in your life that have negative feelings attached to them. One trap that many people fall into is feeling bad about what they see, rather than feeling good about noticing the unwanted situation. When you let yourself feel good about noticing accurately, as the first step in the change process, it affects your entire experience, by creating a new perceptual filter. For now, let yourself begin using “no fault learning” imperfectly as you begin applying what you are learning in this book.
To live consciously, aware of proactively seeking to borrow the Lord’s Eyes and His Nature, to respond through His Spirit to what you see, makes recovery a very different process. It becomes an allowing rather than a forcing. You need to accept any dysfunctional elements from your past, and take the responsibility to learn healthy attitudes and assumptions to deal with these problems in the present, as a new creation.
We need to remember that God has given us His Holy Spirit to illuminate our path, share His Wisdom, and draw us closer to Him. Change and growth are possible. The way you approach change will determine how successful you will be. God knows that an attitude of grateful humility will help you in your process of growth and change. The Spirit’s light is a lantern, not a flashlight. It illuminates in all directions with loving Truth and Grace, not with a harsh, judgmental light shining in only one direction.