You’re at a holiday gathering with old friends and new. The energy is high, the wine is flowing and the conversation grows. Before long, someone starts talking about another in a not-so-positive tone casting judgement on that person’s behavior, look or circle of friends.

What do you do? Do you contribute to the conversation in an effort to fit in? Remain silent? Defend the person being targeted? Or is it you starting the conversation?

Being judgmental can sneak up on you. It may rear its head as a means of bonding with another or to win laughs, but it’s rarely pretty. Being non-judgmental, however, isn’t always easy and may require a conscious effort and practice.

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” – Wayne Dyer

We’re not born judgmental, so where does it come from? Many enlightened beings say it’s an unconscious disguise for fear or resentment; a reaction to something that happened to you in your past.

So, when faced with it, how do you turn it around?

With curiosity and compassion. Look at the person being targeted, identify something good and speak it. Then consider the person delivering the message…what feeling may have prompted them to say that? What kind words may they need to hear?

Compassion can be contagious and sometimes a gentle, positive and kind response is all it takes to turn the conversation around. It’s important to also remember that everyone who comes into our lives is there to teach us a lesson. What may be the lesson in that moment?

THE BALANCE: An honest look will show you that the reactions you have to others give you more information about yourself than about them. – Jarl Forsman

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