We live in a world of judgment. When we talk about judgment it’s not just judgment of other people but also judgment of ourselves, sometimes even the harsh judgment of ourselves.

An example of this was brought home to me profoundly on a course I attended some time ago. We were asked to say a few words at the introduction phase about what brought us there and what we wanted to do. We had all just met for the first time and knew nothing about each other.

The guy beside me stood up to speak. He was maybe 6’7”, he was certainly 19 or 20 stone weight and he announced to the group that he had a history of psychiatric illness, that he had a drink-related problem and that he had sexual problems.

Immediately in my judgment I assumed all sorts of things about this man. I assumed – because he had a history of mental illness – that this man was a psychopath. He said had a problem with drink, so I saw him as an alcoholic. He said he had sexual problems so I labelled him as a pervert, rapist or paedophile.

As the day transpired and as he spoke of his own situation and his own life, I subsequently learned that at a very young age he was wrongfully admitted to psychiatric care. He was an only son. It was in the ‘60’s. His father was elderly and, when he died, his young son became the victim of a family feud over a large farm. As the only child, he stood to inherit this farm, much to the disgust of other family members. A simple way to get him out of the picture was to have him admitted to a psychiatric unit and that could be done on the whims of a doctor. In this instance that’s exactly what happened. So here was a guy who was perfectly sane, a young lad of 16 or 17, being admitted to what in reality was a geriatric psychiatric home.

When he was released he now had the tag of being something like the village idiot. His history was now one of psychiatric patient. People feared him. People were nervous around him and he became totally isolated within a small rural community.

Because he felt deep loneliness - nobody wanted to get involved with a guy who had been in a psychiatric unit, - he started to drink. Eventually his dependency on alcohol became heavier as his isolation grew. The sexual aspect of what he was doing was that he used to buy Playboy-type magazines. I wouldn’t say that it was really the biggest offence in the world but he saw it as a problem and a character flaw.

The man was now in his mid 40’s and he had started to regain his life but he truly was somebody who had been a victim of judgment by other people. This was really brought home to me as I sat there that day and judged him myself. Here was an innocent young lad who was put away, released, started to drink out of loneliness and spent many, many years after that a victim of judgment.

And on that day, as he told his story, I too had judged him.

I will never forget, at the end of that weekend, he stood before the crowd with his arms outstretched like the crucified Christ and said,

‘to all who have judged me and to my self, my name is John and I am innocent.’

So began the process of him regaining his freedom. As he regained his freedom I also witnessed my regaining of mine because I quickly realised that, in my judging him, there was an innocence too because sometimes circumstances are presented to us and it is instinctive human nature to jump to certain conclusion.

It’s important to learn that, even within your judgments (which we will have and which will naturally take place) you don’t need to beat your self up. Come to the realisation that everybody here is fighting a hard battle and these judgments are just stumbling blocks that we encounter as we try to get in touch with the essence of who we are.

Author's Bio: 

Geoffrey Canavan: Award-winning Business Strategist and Author - has been involved in business ventures for almost 30 years. In that time his companies have been through highs and lows and everything in between.
Geoffrey’s vast business experience has led to a deep understanding of the nature of success and to the belief that, regardless of circumstances, education, social status, history or any other outside influence, success is an inside job, inherent in, available to and attainable by everybody.
He had made numerous TV and radio appearances throughout his career and is a regular and valued contributor to globally successful websites.
Geoffrey Canavan is currently acting in an advisory capacity to several businesses, ranging from small local enterprises to companies with a global reach.
He believes that there is opportunity in every adversity and has created a number of diverse products to teach business owners how to harness their own innate success and thrive in any circumstances.