A few weeks ago I had written about a client’s questions pertaining to her relationship and interactions with a married man.  It’s a sensitive topic… and very commonplace. After posting, I had several colleagues and coworkers approach me about the topic and say how they knew someone or was friends with someone who was doing/had done the same thing.  Some stories ended in heartbreak, some in renewed love. It was interesting to observe the opinions of people. It made me think about judgement, something I have to be extra vigilant as a counsellor and I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s a struggle. I was brought up with very strong opinions and to unpack them and reconstruct my belief system is a constant work in progress.  
 
This is why I value the opinions and feedback of others, solely for that outside perspective. It doesn’t necessarily affect my foundations, but it does allow me the opportunity to explore other options, ideas and perspectives. To me, that’s what being opening minded and willing is all about.
 
Understanding the sensitive and controversial nature of the topic and taking into consideration that my experiences influence my perspective on the topic, I had a few coworkers, colleagues and acquaintances take a read before posting. I didn’t want my philosophy to affect the philosophy of the topic. It didn’t 🙂 
 
Eventually, I’ll get to a point where I can write as I want and not worry about what other people think, but I give up a bit of that freedom when I identify as a counsellor. Counsellors apparently can’t have opinions (this is why I think my future as a counsellor will be short-lived… or put on hiatus until the young blood cools down a bit)
 

Close your Eyes and Open your Mind.

 
Everyone has opinions, beliefs, assumptions — everyone has their own philosophy, and we are not in a place to judge them for it. Judgement is reserved for the person who has all the facts. Think about a legal environment, a courtroom — the judge makes a decision after hearing both parties, both arguments, both conclusions and then draws a conclusion based on all of the above abiding and according to the governing laws. That’s how judgement worksThere are rules, there are facts, there is reasoning (and rules on how to reason – the practice of law) and a conclusion.
 
In our day-to-day situations, we don’t know all the rules, we don’t know all the details, and our reasoning is biased, so how can we claim the authority to judge someone? Who are we to say whose philosophy is better? Whose life experience is better? 
 
We can’t, really.
 
Having more “life experience” really doesn’t matter when you haven’t learnt from them, then they’re just mistakes and that’s no foundation to stand and condemn others from. You tell me someone hasn’t lived your life, they haven’t walked in your shoes, they don’t share your experiences or understandings, but guess what, you haven’t walked in theirs either. It goes both ways, my friend.  
 

Are you playing "victim" in the blame game?

 
Judgements are formations of our opinions, they’re our conclusions. Pre-conditioned or not, there is a process of reasoning involved in reaching conclusions. My conclusions, or my philosophies, are a result of my life experiences, my knowledge, my understanding, my perception — these are factors that affect my reasoning abilities.  Our reasoning is the link between the premises and our conclusions. All these things are affected by who we associate with, where we go, what we do, all these things have the ability to influence us. This is why it’s important to have that outside perspective, if we solely seek counsel from people within our peer/social group, who share the same mindset, the same thinking/reasoning, it’s like a cult, how are we getting a different perspective? We’re just getting reaffirmation of the conclusions we have drawn.
 
Think about it, it’s a comfort zone and how much change has ever occurred in comfort zones? None. That’s why it’s called a COMFORT zone! It’s COMPLACENCY!
 
So what’s the moral of the story? Two things… lucky you 🙂  
 
One:
We have no authority to judge or condemn other people.
Momma always said, “when we point one finger to others, there are three pointing back.” … and we’ve ALL got skeletons in our closet.
 
Two:
Get out of your comfort zone, get off your high horse, get over yourself and open your damn mind.     
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