About 6 months ago I focused on trying to be kinder for Lent. One dimension of this was to be less judgmental of other people. By the end of Lent I realized that it’s harder to actually change my internal critical self than to give things away. Today, over half a year later, I’m noticing even more judgmental thinking. Maybe this is because of increased awareness, maybe it’s because there’s more to be judgmental about in our recent political climate, or maybe this is just a deeper spiritual issue.

After reflecting on this conundrum awhile, I’ve come to the conclusion that a helpful step might be to separate trivial judgments from substantive judgments that are worth spending emotional energy on.

For example, some trivial energy drainers that I’ve noticed in myself are:

  • On a plane I saw a woman with a full size pillow. I was tempted to say, “You don’t travel much, do you.” (To save space, I like to bring only a small inflatable pillow for long flights.)
  • Or “Whatever possessed that woman hobbling through the airport to think that wearing 3 inch heels was a good idea?”
  • While we’re on airports – Why on earth does CVG have long stretches of carpeting on the floor? It makes it harder to clean. If they want to reduce sound, do it with wall or ceiling sound deadeners. (I emailed this feedback to the management.)
  • At worship services, my internal liturgist sometimes thinks, “That song should be done at a quicker tempo.” Or “The lector should be trained to speak more clearly.”
  • When hearing people give public instructions, I wince at wordy, overly complicated directions.
  • On the radio, when the host ends an interview with, “Thank you for being here.” the guest should simply say, “You’re welcome.” not another, “Thank you.” Also, hosts on serious programs should not open the program with “Hey!” in an effort to be casual and friendly. “Good morning,” “Good Evening,” or “Welcome” work fine.
  • Oh yeah, can we all stop saying, “so…yeah” when closing a statement.

So, these are a few of my pet peeves, and I know they are all trivial. Perhaps venting them once here will help. I’m sure others probably have at least as many gripes about annoying mannerisms that I have. (Note to my brothers and kids: You don’t need to comment on this. 😕)

The point is that as much as I’ve committed to letting go of these trivial judgments of others, it’s taking a long time to free myself of such internal judgments. I welcome comments from readers on how you deal with trivial matters like these.

And why should you care? Because it weighs us down in negativity when we need our psychic energy to go towards actions that can make a positive difference in our world.

Stay tuned for my next blog post which will propose moving beyond trivial judgments to finding constructive ways to channel justified anger into action. Think politics, sexual abuse/cover-ups, global warming. So…yeah!