“You can’t really go to someone who is judging you and ask them for an honest answer. Which explains why most people can’t get an honest answer from themselves.” – Paula Langguth Ryan
When I posted the above quote on my Facebook page a few months ago, it sparked some interesting reflection for my community. One member was kind enough to post some additional questions that came up in her quest for reawakening to her authentic self.
“Can we ever be truly objective – with ourselves or with others – when we cannot leave behind all of our history, experiences, preferences and prejudices?”
Let’s break this question into two parts, starting with the tail end. The question assumes that we cannot leave behind the past. Which is what our ego would have us believe. The truth is, we can make a choice to release any and all meaning we have given to the past.
A Course in Miracles says: “Judgment always rests on the past, for past experience is the basis on which you judge. Judgment becomes impossible without the past, for without it you do not understand anything. You would make no attempt to judge, because it would be quite apparent to you that you do not know what anything means.”
All judgment disappears when you become willing to recognize that you do not know what anything means (ACIM Lesson 1: Nothing I see means anything.) Add two additional words: Nothing I see means anything ABOUT ME and you free yourself from perceived judgments of others as well.
Our opinions, likewise, are colored by our past. If you say “rap music sucks” or “that politician is ruining our country” your statements are based on your beliefs, not on any measurable facts. They’re not honest opinions – they are judgments. Our ego will point to facts that support our beliefs, but the initial opinion or judgment is based on nothing objective.
The only true honest answer is “rap music doesn’t resonate with me” or “that politician’s ideas of what is good for the country are different than mine.”
An actress recently revealed that her children aren’t vaccinated and she has no intention of vaccinating them. When asked about it in an interview, Kristin Cavallari (photo courtesy of US Magazine) said “I’ve read too many books about autism and the studies.”
Suddenly people everywhere had an opinion, based on their own judgments, about her choice. Based on studies they believed in, based on their own fears and desires, based on their thoughts about celebrity influence, and so many other factors. Cavallari later clarified her statement, by saying that not vaccinating was what she and her husband, Jay Butler, desired for her family, and that she wasn’t making a public statement for anyone else.
Cavallari owned what was right for her and what resonated with HER and did not denigrate anyone else’s choices. THIS is an honest answer.
When we think someone is judging us, it is because WE are judging ourselves. When we become willing to strip away the “story” and our judgments, something amazing happens. Our fears and hopes and dreams are revealed, rather than concealed. And that, my friend, is where you find your authentic self.