The Quality of the Judge — Life’s Little Lessons

Note: This post is the second in a series. Each one describes a short lesson taught to me by friends, family members, acquaintances, and others.

Many years ago, I spent some time recovering from a decidedly unpleasant personal situation. My recovery was impeded, in part, by my internalization of an individual’s constant criticism.

One evening I was deep in chat with the occult lecturer and blogger Cliff Low. I don’t remember the details of our conversation, but I must have said something regarding lingering self-doubt and guilt.

What I do remember were Cliff’s words to me:

“Lainie, [Name Withheld] is a seriously messed up individual. Yet you insist on treating [Name Witheld] like a fair and impartial judge. You need to remember that the quality of a judgment depends in large part on the quality of the judge.”

These words triggered a complete change in my perception. Here I was, struggling under the weight of judgments that, in reality, should not have been given any weight at all. Once I read Cliff’s words, my burden lifted.

The lessons learned here were straightforward, but also profound. It is important to be open to feedback and criticism from others: Relationships can’t exist without honest communication and such truth-telling can often provide us with material that we can use to improve ourselves.

But feedback and criticism can also be faulty: It should be received by a critical mind and weighed justly by wisdom, particularly against the worth of he or she who delivered the criticism. Sadly, some of us, including myself, may at times have a tendency to give far more credence to the words of those who do not deserve our harkening.

Ignore the quality of the judge at your own peril.