A deeply pivotal moment in my life happened some years ago when an entrepreneur friend asked me to meet his top Colombian advisor in Baranquilla. After a few minutes of being deeply engaged in conversation, she looked me right in the eye and said, “you are good at forgiving. Now you must learn not to judge.” Her words were an energetic hammer. I knew that there was so much truth in what she said. My mind felt like a Rubik’s Cube, trying to just stay open and listen. And then integrate what I had heard and put it together in a meaningful and practical way.
As soon as I got back to NYC, I committed to shifting this energy, and took some action steps:
- I made a list of those to whom I wanted to give a second chance;
- I decided I needed to be better at allowing people to be who they are (and, create healthy boundaries based on who they are now, not who they might become);
- I realized how important it is to ride with the experiences, learn from them and keep it moving
What I came to realize is when I stop judging others and accept them for who they are I am unencumbered by their choices. The act of forgiveness is in some ways a selfish act because it liberates our brainspace, energy and attention, creating the opportunity to focus on something more productive. The act of not judging does the same because in allowing people to be who they are, without judgment we afford ourselves the same generosity. After all, most of the time we are all doing the best we can from the level of our consciousness in that moment.