Letting Go Of Our Willfulness: Our Judgements


Some people derive a subtle pleasure when they can demean another person.
It provides them with a sense of superiority and satisfaction. As a matter of fact, they tend to have harsh judgments of just about everyone, excluding themselves, of course. They place far more importance on the flaws in someone and overlook any good qualities that person might have. They may realize the price their judgmentalism costs them, that is, how other people avoid them, but they care more for the air of superiority they gain from it. And then they may get stuck in the rut of putting everyone else down without knowing how to stop doing it.

At times we ourselves might have a condescending attitude toward others. After all, it’s hard to ignore all the babbling fools we see on TV. And we know some of our coworkers get by just by flattering the boss; they haven’t put in a full day’s work in a long time. In fact, we form opinions of other people much more easily than we realize. Almost anyone we can think of has their drawbacks and weaknesses, although we might not tell them about it. But we form judgments of them nevertheless.

Our vanity is bolstered by these negative judgments we have about other people. It is one of the ways our egos attempt to survive. We develop an inflated image of ourselves and think we thereby make ourselves indestructible. Sooner or later, however, someone is bound to pull our cover and observe how pompous we have become.

We learn that judging others is a form of willfulness, in the sense that we want others to behave as we think they should. Then we wouldn’t have such a low opinion of them. But much to our surprise, they couldn’t care less about our impression of them. They’re too busy dealing with their own issues. Instead of being so impressed with ourselves, we would be better off learning how to let the love of our inner Source flow through us to others.

Richard G. Hartnett, MA, MS, LCADC is a former Jesuit priest who now lives with his wife, Kathy, by a lake in northwestern New Jersey. He has served as the chaplain at Hazelden New York, pastoral counselor at the Chemical Dependency Department of the International Center for the Disabled in NYC, and continuing care counselor at the outpatient Chemical Dependency Program of High Focus Centers in New Jersey. Currently he maintains a private practice in New Jersey. He is the author of The Presence at the Center, Renewing Your Fourth Step, The Three Inner Voices: Uncovering the Spiritual Roots of Addiction and Recovery, and Sobriety and Inspiration: Entrusting Ourselves to the Source of Our Healing and Creativity.

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