Judgement, pffft – not me…
I was in an accident the first week of January 2012. At 8:30 in the morning on my way to a conference. A drunk driver rear-ended me. He was halfway through a Corona (beer) when he hit me. And he was so inebriated, he didn’t even realize he hit me – 45 mph, no brake, direct hit, while I was at a stoplight. The impact was such that he pushed me into oncoming traffic and completely munched the rear end of my Lexus. Hopped up on adrenaline and feeling no pain, I exited my vehicle, banged on his window and told him to follow me into the parking lot of the gas station on the corner. And. He. Asked. Why?!!!
I told him I had car trouble and asked for his help. Once parked, I asked to borrow his phone. I called 911 from it. Being intuitive I just had a gut hit to use his phone. Once the operator verified his phone number, license plate, make and model of the SUV (I was pretty smart for using his mobile to call from – always trust your gut!), he grabbed the phone and started denying the accident. Then he did the unthinkable; he left the scene of the accident. And BTW, he was in full military uniform. A Marine. I eventually learned this adorable young man had two additional DUI convictions under his belt – in under 2 years! Mine made the third.
Miss Judgy Judgement – party of one, your table’s ready
Yes, I was injured; fortunately not too seriously. But I still walked away devastated. Devastated by someone who failed to do the right thing on so many levels. I was angry. Disappointed in the system. So disappointed in his choice that morning. Disappointed in the pattern of behavior that led to this outcome. Oh, I judged him on so many levels.
He should have known better!
What the fuck was he thinking?!
How did the system fail to keep this idiot off the streets?!
A Marine! This guy was an active duty Marine! He didn’t deserve to wear the uniform!
Married? He didn’t deserve to be married! Or be happy!
His behavior was devastating to me personally, spiritually and energetically. I believe that we should all do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. I mean, I stop at stop signs in the middle of the night with no one around. And here was a young man who made a decision to put other people in jeopardy with a series of choices and behaviors. A young man trained to live values of Honor, Courage and Commitment — and he consciously chose not to. His choices led to pain, inconvenience, fear, and challenges in my life.
It’s not you, it’s me
The good news is I knew how to change it all. I get that I am fully, completely and 100% responsible for my outcomes.
The whole event put me in the position of having to listen to some of the advice and direction I give others on a daily basis:
You’re exactly where you are supposed to be at all times.
Everything for a reason.
Trust your body to know how to heal.
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.
Let go of your attachment to how thing “should” be.
You cannot control others — you can only control your response.
Ultimately, I had to connect at a core level with these beliefs. It was up to me to do the exercises and embrace the fact that we as human beings are really all just doing the best we can with what we have at any given moment.
Have I found forgiveness? Yes. I am also free of the fear and other challenges created. The pain and inconvenience abated with time, and I healed within 6 weeks, where my doctor said 6-9 months (like I had time for that!)
So the next time you are challenged with other people’s choices, choices that may affect your health, happiness or mental status, remember you alone are in the position to make the changes to improve your life. You alone can improve your outcome simply by changing your relationship with judgment.
So… How is judgment holding you back in your life? What do you imagine would change in your life if you simply practiced non-judgment?