So – when does an opinion become a judgment? I was asked this recently, and I admit I was a bit stumped on how best to express and define the difference. In many instances, there seems to be a very fine line between two things that can suddenly flip to the other side. However, in this instance, I see more of a vast grey-ness teeming with subjectivity: a no-man’s land of hurt feelings, resentment and anger. It’s a virtual wasteland of thought and miscommunication. But why?
For me, personally, I know when I am “judging” someone or something, and when I am expressing an opinion. The judging brings with it a feeling inside of ugliness, and I find myself immediately (and often silently) apologizing to the Universe for having judged another. I don’t like how it feels, but it’s an old habit that is taking its time to die off, no matter how conscious I am. [I am doing my best every day to change it, and I can say I have made a lot of progress over the years, for which I am grateful.]
However, when I am expressing an opinion about something, it carries none of the ugliness that judgment does. It feels clean, pure, and somewhat liberating – both to be with people who are open to hearing opinions, and the sense of freedom I feel from being confident in my thoughts and ideas and the subsequent expression of them. I enjoy hearing other people’s opinions about myriad topics, and I enjoy engaging in discussions about varying opinions. I feel that it’s healthy, constructive and fosters a sense of community and growth that is sometimes hard to come by.
The opposite is true for judgments. Not only do I feel ugly and immediately apologetic when I find myself judging others, but when I am surrounded by other people who are readily passing judgment I feel somewhat contaminated by association. I feel a little bit more disheartened and weak. I feel a little bit more hopeless, and I may go as far as to say I actually “feel” less.
I believe that many of us readily express judgments when we intend to share an opinion. So, what’s the real difference? It bears thinking about. Because this topic seems to be highly individual and subjective, this week I’m tossing the question to you – in a sort of poll. When does opinion become judgment? And for that matter, what is the main difference between the two? Is it entirely individual and subjective, or are there points that can be objectively identified?
To submit your responses, please click on the “comment” link below, where you can leave comments – anonymously if you prefer. I am REALLY looking forward to hearing what you have to say. In the meantime,
Sending you Love and Light,
March 12th, 2010
An opinion is intelligent. A judgement is when you think you are more intelligent than the person you are judging. That said, a judgement can be really funny – either laughing at the PERSON making the judgement (a judgement in itself…) OR laughing at the crass judgement itself. Frankly, I think we’ve swayed too far away from good old fashioned honesty and too close to stepping on egg shells lest you offend someone. Screw that. Wear Purple. Say what you mean and mean what you say. However, judge and BE JUDGED, that’s the real scary part of judging others.
March 12th, 2010
Immediately upon opening this email I made a quick observation – comparing judgments and opinions struck a note of discordance with me and I was rapidly coming to a place inside where I felt a further understanding of our positions was necessary…
Judgment – that moment where I deem something right or wrong, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, loving or fearful, setting forth a concrete determination of purpose.
Opinion – My belief that something needs to be a certain way, different than or continuous with how it is now.
Fact – Structured truth based on empirically repeatable data
Observation – The act of interpreting an event as experiential.
The way my thought processes work I would nest these four categories as such: (Observation(Opinion.Fact)Judgment)
Reason being – In order to have an opinion or factual basis for a judgment I must first observe, directly or through externally provided data. Within the framework of Judging the observation I am left with the opportunity to accept the facts of the observation or create my own unique (or shared) opinion of how the data could be interpreted. From this point I am the afforded the opportunity to set forth judgment on the quality of the observation in regards to my personal factual or fictional opinion.
The question in my mind is not whether I am creatively developing an opinion or sticking with a judgment – judgments are simply setting forth a determination of purpose, intent or other similar definition beyond observation.
You are beautiful. I am tall. The sky is Blue. The BOX is hard, rigid and solid. It is not fundamentally negative or detrimental to be judgmental. We live our lives inside the structure of necessity to judge and contain. This is what gives our lives shape and tone. Opinions ARE judgments. Facts ARE judgments. Observations are NOT judgments because they come before the act of setting into place the structure.
I exist, I am not my body, my eyes or ears, my mind or soul. Those are all tools of observation. *I* simply Am, and even that is the greatest judgment I can set forth for myself, limiting me to what I might be until I release even the conceptualization of Being.
Practicing non-judgment is, socially (physically), a nicety. Intellectually it is a tool for maintaining an ‘outside of the box’ infinite possibility thought process. As seen through the heart it is the ultimate act of compassion.
This is, of course, all my opinion, based from a factual email I received from you which triggered an emotional judgment to unfold from my observation of your association of judgments and opinions in need of clarification.
March 13th, 2010
Your messages are always SO worth reading! I have to say- yours are the ONLY ones I read through! Interesting reference to our inner compass/intuition to distinguish opinion from judgement…
May 18th, 2013
I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. All the best
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