Formerly The Yoga Studio of Johnson County

The Wisdom Within

Suzette Scholtes - Yoga Director

By Suzette Scholtes

Love Being Free of “The Judge”

Dear Suzette,

“ Your comments yesterday about the differences between being discerning and being judgmental were truly valuable. It certainly is true that as soon as personal judgment is expressed, possibilities for discussion or taking in a new idea are stopped. Your spoken words in class often have a chance of penetrating our defenses. I'm glad you have the courage to share.”


Judgments hurt! It stops communication and blocks intimacy.

I met with an executive the other day for the first time. I share that my work is teaching yoga. His look and body language altered the conversation. The frozen smile could not mask his arrogance and superiority. He may as well have said to me, “So where exactly do you wait tables?”

Not that there is anything wrong with waiting tables! (see here it is easy to slip into a judgment.) So with that encounter and Laura’s email the same day, I think it’s time to tackle this complex topic.

What I talk about in my classes quite often is that judging something is not the same as discernment. While judgment can be destructive, discernment is still needed to live from a place of wisdom and choice. If you are at the grocery, and see apples shinny and red or apples brown and rotting, which do you choose to buy?

Often judging others is hiding some unconscious need to feel superior yet often the person passing out the judgment has no clue. In their head they are golden. I would suggest but it is subjective that people who judge harshly may have issues with self-trust or trusting others. Or they are so full of themselves, they have to bull-doze their opinion around like those big SUVs that dominate the highway.

Each of us have the right to think and choose to make our decisions based on our assessments, our boundaries, our beliefs and hopefully “to cause no harm.” We need to discern what and who we want to take on, what is safe, who we should or shouldn’t trust, who we wish to share and care about, etc.

As I grew as a person, what I learned to do first was let go of judging MYSELF-- often incessantly. Then a whole lot of wonderful things started to shift for me for the better. I became less apt to get down on myself in any way when I let that old patterns go. I would realize that this “tension” was not really coming from me but being projected by the other person. Then I made the choice to pull away, forgive myself and them for this fast judgment. The key I find is to forgive myself for getting caught up with them in the first place and then to really use discernment in what I wish to share with them. This takes away from a true level of intimacy I like to create in that vulnerable way of caring and sharing. That may sadden me but then I’m not putting myself in that place of being attacked by them any more.

Now to be clear on the difference of judgment and discernment. For me, being judgmental comes from the “I am right; you are wrong mindset.” As for discernment, this skill is used when we choose to make an informed decision from an objective point of view. We use our integrity (being moment-to-moment responsible) to honor ourselves and others, trusting our inner voice/intuition more through love than fear.

If we free ourselves from judging ourselves and others, we live in love more than fear and celebrate the joy of self-trust ever more. That, reader friend, is a heady freedom!


Suzette Scholtes discerning voice is heard at Yoga School of Therapeutics where she is founder and director of teacher training. Learn to deepen quality of life by touching your inner resources for more health and happiness. (9l3) 492-9594.

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