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The Integrity Of Being Non-Judgmental

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This is the age of being non-judgmental. So, does this mean you love and accept your neighbor who is a registered sex offender? Do you not say anything to your best friend when her partner is cheating on her, or stealing from her, because you don’t want to judge and be negative? Where does being non-judgmental begin and end? And what if non-judgment is really cowardice instead?

Native people all over the world, before so-called civilization, did not have police or prisons. Tribal members held each other accountable, on many different levels. You could not act in a way that was harmful to the rest of the tribe, without someone calling you out and bringing you before the elders, the shamans, or the tribal council. Tribes would punish or exile any person that caused harm to the tribe.

These days, if you dare call anyone out for their misconduct, you risk being branded as negative and judgmental, and told you need to practice unconditional love. Sadly, this means that it usually takes decades of abuse, before something like the Me Too movement, or any form of human or civil rights abuse is finally brought into the light and confronted.

Sociology and Social Psychology label tribal culture as form of collectivism, meaning the good of the majority comes first, before the needs of the individual. But in some circles fearmongers prefer to label collectivist behavior as ‘socialism’ or ‘communism.’

Our judgments, like our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own ~ Alexander Pope

Modern culture is extremely individualistic. It is the extreme opposite of collectivist behavior and communal priorities. Individualistic cultural norms means the needs, wants, and desires of the individual take precedent over the good of the ‘tribe.’ A slogan like ‘profit before people’ comes to mind, for example.

People also have different definitions these days of what is acceptable behavior, and everyone has different priorities. For some it is family first, while for others it is to get ahead and perhaps leave the family behind to do so. In some cultures arguing and haggling for a price are considered normal and friendly, whereas others would find this to be outrageously rude, undignified and completely unacceptable behavior. In some cultures heavy drinking and hitting women is acceptable and even endorsed, while in other cultures strong women run the family and have the defining voice when it comes to family decisions.

Each of us has our own background, ethnicity, cultural norms, family traditions, and so on, which guide our behaviors, morals, and integrity. Our value system has been handed down to us through our cultural background and family environment. We take these things for granted and they are usually unconscious.

But if you are unconscious about your history in this life, you are actually in the dark about your beliefs and cultural norms, and you cannot make the best new choices, because you do not even know there are choices to be made. You cannot change yourself without first waking up to where you currently are, including your beliefs and behaviors that were programmed into you by the beliefs and culture of your family tree, as well as the specific details of your parents’ background, such as was sexual abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, and so on.

As a soul, if you came here to awaken this life, you came here to transcend. You cannot transcend without first learning the lesson you came here to learn from your family of origin. Learning the lessons of your chosen family of origin is part of your soul evolution. To transcend, you must first graduate from the class called ‘learning about your culture and your family history’ in order to then have the courage to make choices and live differently, rather than living unconsciously.

Even if our opinions are justified, criticizing others usually makes them wary and defensive. And it takes our attention away from our own lives, which we can change ~ Diane Dreher

Once you discover the behaviors and norms you currently take for granted, you will also discover whether or not you have the innate skills to be someone who can stand up to others when you observe injustice, cruelty, illegal activities, thievery, and lying. You may not be able to even see these things if your cultural and family background is one of ‘mind your own business, no matter what you see is going on.’ You may have been taught, for example, through your family background, to only look out for yourself and that ‘getting ahead’ in life comes before any other distraction, or even morality.

Living with fear, or being fearless. Striving to be perfect, or living authentically. These are some of the choices you will have to make as an awakened spiritual being. It is impossible to be ‘non-judgmental.’ All your choices are based on judgments.  You have to judge to make choices. When you dress, you judge what will look good, or feel good, or what will impress, or what will make you blend in. Every piece of food you put in your mouth is a choice, based on what you judge will taste good or make you feel good.

You make judgments and judgment calls all the time. When you discover you made a mistake, you get to improve your judgment and judgment calls. But when it comes to morality, or integrity, suddenly everyone wants to take the position that they are non-judgmental. Why? When you decide to eat chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla, it is because you have judged that chocolate will taste better. You have not condemned, or criticized, or rejected, or attacked vanilla. If someone chooses to be offended by your choice of ice cream flavor, it is their business and their choice. You cannot live life trying to avoid offending people. Well, you can, but it is not emotionally or spiritually healthy and choosing avoidance is not the path of soul evolution.

You have a right to choose your relationships with friends, lovers, co-workers, employer, and so on. You have a right to your choices regarding integrity, and what you will and will not tolerate in your community. That doesn’t mean you have the right to persecute others for their choices, but it also doesn’t mean you have to ‘let it go’ when people are lying, cheating, stealing, or treating others badly. Taking a stand is not judgmental in a bad way, and not taking a stand can be judgmental in a horrible way.

There are no rules and no manual. When you choose to live from the heart, and with balance, life becomes fluid. It becomes an art form, sculpted by having a real spiritual practice other than social media, shopping, and making up narratives about ‘being a purple flame,’ and so on. A spiritual practice means cultivating the ability to Listen to the energetic language of source and receiving guidance that is beyond words and beyond human law. This can only be done through action – the action of listening, usually through silent meditation.

Judging is preventing us from understanding a new truth. Free yourself from the rules of old judgments and create the space for new understanding ~ Steve Maraboli

Standing up for things that matter is not different than standing up for the flavor of ice cream you prefer, except that people’s lives and well-being are at stake. Fair wages, human trafficking, gender freedom and equality, racial equality, drug and alcohol use, sexual orientation, illegal immigration, filing for false disability, and so on. The list is endless. All require responses… and no response is also a response.

What is the difference? Why will people stand up for their choice, based on their judgment, for example, that purple hair is a must have, but will kowtow to a bully, or refuse to bring up someone’s drug use or cheating mate? Because, when it really matters, when the subject is important and people have a stake in what is going on, be it power, money, control, they will react, and often react aggressively.

So, is it cowardice to keep quiet? Sometimes keeping quiet is cowardice, and sometimes it is not. For example, if your safety is being threatened, silence might be in your best interest for the time being. There is nothing wrong with the choice of keeping quiet, as long as it is a conscious choice, and not an unconscious reaction due to your cultural background.

However, to mask your choices, or avoid looking at your choices and the reasons for your choices, under the façade of unconditional love and being ‘non-judgmental,’ is an action that causes a great deal of harm to yourself, others and society.  The choice of ‘no choice’ blanketed with the veil (or cowardice) of calling your choice ‘unconditional love’ or being ‘non-judgmental,’ actually cultivates the escalation of physical and emotional violence, abuse, theft and dishonesty in general. It gives permission for the behaviors to continue, and even escalate.

Everyone has thoughts and opinions about what they see going on in the world around them. Choosing to not say anything, perhaps because you think it is the more spiritual approach, is still a choice.  Become mindful of, and responsible for your choices, including those you would call friend. Choose to hold people accountable, or choose to look the other way. Sticking your head in the sand is still a choice. I know I count on the people I love, to have the courage and the love for me to bring up topics that are difficult and challenging (in addition to love and hugs) so that I may grow. I consider that a gift from them. Where else will we get profound, heartfelt feedback so that we may gain insights in order to make new and better choices?

If you are pained by external things it is not they that disturb you but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now ~ Marcus Aurelius

There are many ways to make statements when you see or experience wrongdoing, ranging from choosing diplomacy and timing to choosing to be very assertive. Just because you make a statement that expresses your opinion and choices, does not mean you are criticizing or condemning the other choices made, or the people making those choices. You are simply showing up as authentic, present, mindful, aware, and willing to discuss, or at least consider and listen to other viewpoints – all signs and skills of maturity.

You are not responsible for the reactions of others. And one thing is for sure, if a person reacts with anger or aggression, you can be sure you ‘hit a nerve.’ If you hit a nerve, you can bet it is an area in which that person is wounded and is currently unable to consider, confront or heal. You are like a masseuse that hit a tight muscle, and when that unyielding muscle is touched, even lightly, there will be pain. When that happens you are showing a person a place that needs healing. Now, it is up to that person to make choices. She can attack you, or she can go home and consider what she heard… and hopefully ponder why she overreacted.

Tolerating differences of opinion, without going to war, but also without hiding, is a profound sign and skill of maturity. Calling someone judgmental or negative for being authentic (while you refuse to take any responsibility for your own reaction) only encourages people to lie not only to others (especially those close to them), but often to themselves as a response to the pressure from others wanting you to conform.

Finally, hiding under the blanket of being non-judgmental means you are robbing people of the opportunity to learn and grow, to hear and consider different opinions and choices. This is how we see a culture of compliant sheep come into existence.

If you have trouble expressing yourself, read, learn, and practice. There are excellent books on the subject. If you have fear about expressing yourself, get some help with a person with professional expertise. Participate. Help society to grow and be healthy. Dare to help individuals to grow, be healthy, and be accountable for their choices. Teach the children. Learn to have the courage to show up in your own life… and to encourage those you love to show up in their lives.

About The Author: Nonna

Nonna lives in Southern California, and is a professor of psychology and a teacher of psychic development, energy work and meditation, who has recently finished her PhD. She has been a counselor for both humans and animals for thirty years, removing energy blocks through her expertise in the spiritual arts. She also has numerous years of study and practice with classic psychological therapeutic models, family work, twelve-step processes, nutritional and body/mind/spirit healing, complementary, alternative, and quantum medicine. Nonna is brilliant at unearthing the gems in every client's soul and polishing them to a fine finish. To release your own soul's sparkle, contact Nonna at

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