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Judgments Depend On Where You Stand When Judging

The orchard grass is predominant when I’m almost lying on the ground.

Perspective Makes all the Difference

The Work is all about finding different perspectives. The four questions and turnarounds of The Work often open my mind to very new perspectives. But there’s another area of The Work where perspective plays an important role.

And that’s the area of writing a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet.

Stand in one place and you’ll judge a person one way. Move to another position and your judgments may be very different. This is why you can write many different Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets on the same person in different situations.

This Idea Was Helpful when Working with a Client

She deeply loves her boyfriend and wants nothing more than to be with him. But she gets embarrassed at the thought of introducing him to her friends and family.

How do you write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet in this situation?

If she writes a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet directly on her boyfriend, it doesn’t really touch the issue because she sees him as wonderful. One way to address the issue is to write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on a particular friend or family member who she thinks will judge him. This could be a good direction for exploration.

But Here's What She Did - It Really Worked

She imagined herself being together with a friend and then turning and judging her boyfriend from there. The perspective was totally different. Because she was standing next to her friend, her values were different. So when she turned to judge her boyfriend, she saw him totally differently than how she sees him at home.

The first line of her worksheet was, “I am embarrassed by my boyfriend because he is blue-collar.” And the rest of the worksheet flowed from there.

And working that judgment, “He is blue-collar,” was powerful. This belief lay at the root of her embarrassment. And, as she started to do The Work, she found several genuine examples of how he is not so blue-collar after all: he is up on current affairs, he likes to travel, he likes to wear nice clothes, and he is a successful entrepreneur.

The Examples Had to Be Valid Even While Standing with her Friend

It was not enough for her to find examples that were true for her when she was alone with her boyfriend. She had to look for examples of how “He’s not blue-collar” that would hold weight with her even when she was standing next to her friend. Because that’s the perspective she is working from.

Already a little exploration in this direction is starting to shift things. Next up will be the turnaround, “He’s blue-collar. Yay! Is that really a problem?” Can she find examples of how, even if he is blue-collar in some ways, that it’s not a problem—even when she’s standing with her friend? And so The Work continues.

“We’re so secretive about what makes us feel ashamed that we even try to keep it from ourselves, clinging to our pretense of self-respect while our thoughts run on about how terrible we are and how unforgivable the things we’ve done. Secrets cry out for inquiry. You can’t be free if you’re hiding. And in the end, the things we’re ashamed of turn out to be the greatest gifts we have to give.”