Those of you who know my story know about my very deliberate decision to choose peace in my life. The accident that nearly severed my right hand was life-changing because it taught me some important lessons about life’s circumstances and how they don’t really have anything to do with the peace or happiness—or misery—we feel in our lives. And that’s what I want to talk about today, the concept of Capital T TRUTH vs. lowercase t truth. These are powerful concepts that are really at the foundation of everything I teach.
So, let’s start out by talking about judgment.
What does that word mean? If you’re like most people, the word judgment conjures up feelings of negativity. But, according to Webster, JUDGMENT is just the process of forming an opinion or an evaluation by discerning and comparing.
The four words that stand out to me in that definition are: Opinion, Evaluation, Discerning, and Comparing
Another definition I like which uses some of the same words comes from dictionary.com. It says that judgment is the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion from circumstances presented to the mind.
I find it interesting that neither definition talks about judgment being negative. It’s just an opinion or an evaluation or a conclusion that is created by your mind. It can be good or bad, happy or sad, light or dark, and so on…
But the thing that’s important to recognize is that judgment is not truth. Judgment is an opinion, evaluation, discernment, comparison, or conclusion. And it’s important to recognize those things because, in order to really be aware of the world around us, we have to be able to identify pure TRUTH, absolute TRUTH, or what I like to call Capital T TRUTH.
Capital T TRUTH cannot be argued. The easiest way to think about it is that it can be proven in a court of law. Capital T TRUTHs are the facts.
One fact is that we live in a world of duality. And that duality comes from judgment. One side of the judgment sees things as positive and the other side sees them as negative. But what if we could jump past the duality and see things as they really are?
What if we could release judgment and view the world through a lens of Capital T TRUTH instead of a lens filtered by duality?
How would that change us? How would it change the way we interact with each other—the way we view the world? How would it change the relationships we have with ourselves? And what does it even mean?
When we view things through a lens of judgment, we see things as opposites, or extremes—like hot or cold, ugly or beautiful, sweet or sour—you get what I mean, right? That’s duality. But let’s look at each of those things a little closer.
Where I live, it is over 100 degrees right now. In fact, as I am recording this, it is 103 degrees outside. Is that hot or cold?
I think it’s unbearably hot. Frankly, I don’t go outside from about May 15 to October 31.
But I have a friend who lives in New Hampshire—where it’s 60 degrees in the middle of the summer and when she comes to visit Arizona, she stands outside and soaks up the sun. She thinks it feels good.
So which one of us is right? Does it feel good? Or is it unbearably hot?
Or is it just 103 degrees? See how stating the fact—103 degrees—takes the judgment out of it?
Here’s another example involving the place I live in. I’m a bit miserable right now, so I guess the heat of the desert is on my mind. I live in the Sonoran Desert and I hate it! I think it’s ugly. It’s dry and brown and flat and uninteresting and there are only a few plants that can survive in these conditions. I grew up here, so it’s home, but it’s so ugly that I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how I can escape to somewhere beautiful—like the beach.
But my mother loves the desert. She finds it beautiful. She finds the cactus to be fascinating and thinks the rocky landscape is unique.
In this situation, my truth is that the desert is ugly—but my mother’s truth is that it is beautiful. So which is it? Ugly or beautiful? Which one of us is right?
If we take the judgment out of it and look for capital T TRUTH, it’s just the desert. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? So we can both be right—or we can both be wrong!
Ok, last example.
I love fruit. As far as I’m concerned, it’s mother nature’s candy. I love blueberries and strawberries and apples and pears and grapes and—you get it, right?
My husband would describe most fruit as sour.
There’s quite a discrepancy there. Mother Nature’s candy versus sour. Again. Which of us is right?
You see, we each have our own perceptions—or judgments—of the world around us. And for the most part, there’s not really good or bad, and right or wrong. There are facts—like 103 degrees, or the desert, or fruit. But the thoughts we assign to things in our lives become our judgments—our truths. And my judgment is no more right or wrong than yours.
To become truly aware, we have to release judgment and try to see things as they really are.
I call our judgments little t truths—or sometimes, I just call them lies. Because the thing is, your truth may be someone else’s lie and nothing you say or do could convince them otherwise.
Consider for a moment how much energy you spend every day on passing judgment.
There are little judgments like the ones I just discussed. But what about the bigger judgments—the ones that involve the people around you or your life circumstances. Judgments—especially of people—can be harmful and do damage to the people we love the most.
Let me share a personal story with you.
A few years ago, my oldest son came to us and told us he was gay. Initially, this was a difficult thing for my husband and me to hear. We didn’t take it well, and honestly, we made a lot of judgments about our child.
For the next 18 months, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to help our son. We just wanted him to be happy and we didn’t see how this path was going to get him there. He was fairly compliant with our requests, even though they were very judgmental. In fact, he was much less judgmental about us than we were about him.
Finally, though, he had enough. On Christmas day, right before leaving to go back to his home in Utah, he came to us again and told us that he was leaving our church to live a homosexual lifestyle.
It was devastating to us as parents. We had so many pre-conceived notions about what his life was going to look like that it was hard to let those things go and embrace this new path. We feared we would lose him.
So after we dropped him off at the airport, we went home and packed our bags and headed off to Utah, hoping that we could change his mind and help him see things our way.
As we made the 10-hour drive, we plotted and planned the things we were going to say. We had some really good points to make—or so we thought.
But as we checked into our hotel and prepared to go see him, our hearts were filled with a sense of love and acceptance for our son wash over us. And we realized that it was not our place to judge. In fact, as parents of this adult child, it was simply our duty to love.
It was a profound realization for us.
At that moment, I knew that when Jesus said, “Judge not that ye be not judged,” he was speaking to me. And he meant it.
He didn’t say, “Judge not, unless your family is doing things you really don’t like.”
Or, “Judge not, unless your neighbor is driving you crazy.”
Or, “Judge not, unless your son is gay.”
He said, “Judge not.”
It was a powerful recognition. Because once I was able to let go of the judgment for something I didn’t really understand, I was overwhelmed with love and acceptance and peace.
Nothing changed. My son still went on to live his life the way he wanted to, and eventually came out as transgender.
And now, I love my daughter just as much as I loved my son– and I’m at peace, knowing that it’s not my place to judge. Instead, I’ve been given the privilege of loving, passionately and unconditionally.
Not only was my change of heart a beautiful thing, but I believe my life is better and my love is purer because I have a transgender child. I consider it a blessing. The changes that have come about inside of me as I’ve learned to love and accept someone who has such different views about the world are profound. It’s made me look at everyone I meet through a different lens—the lens of a mother.
What do I mean by that? Well, I love my daughter with all my heart. In fact, I love each one of my children immensely, no matter who they are or what they have become or what decisions they’ve made in their lives. I know them like no one else because they are literally part of me.
None of them have turned out the way I imagined they would when I first held them in my arms, and that is especially true for my transgender daughter. I simply couldn’t have imagined what her future would hold. But because I know her so well—because I love her exactly the way she is—I am able to look at other people through those same eyes, the eyes of a mother.
When I look at my daughter, I know that essentially, she is the same person she’s always been. I know her kind and compassionate heart. I know her enthusiasm for knowledge and learning. I know she has a huge need for love and acceptance. I KNOW her. And while other people may look at her and judge her from her outward appearance, I look on her and see the beautiful, compassionate, intelligent, amazing person that she is.
When I am able to apply that same filter to others—the mom filter—is what I call it, then it completely changes the way I see them. Because what I know, is that everyone has a mom out there somewhere who knows their child and loves them with the same type of fierce protective love I feel toward my child. And when I can summon that image, it changes the way I interact with everyone I meet.
On the other hand, I meet parents in the LGBTQ community all the time that are miserable. They are still hanging onto judgment about who their child has become, and they are hoping to either control or manipulate the outcome of the situation.
I’ll tell you a secret.
They can’t. They can only control their own thoughts and emotions surrounding the circumstance they are currently dealing with. And while judgment can feel powerful, it’s also draining, which leaves very little energy for peace, happiness, and joy.
Another example of this comes from my niece, who’s made a couple of humanitarian trips to Africa. She’s shared stories and pictures about the amazing people she’s met on these trips—most of whom are completely poverty stricken.
But the thing I find interesting is the joy that’s displayed on the faces of the people in her photos. By worldly standards, they have nothing. They’re dressed in rags and in many cases, they are so thin, they have to be starving.
But the pictures speak of satisfaction with life that I’ve rarely seen in our society.
Maybe it’s because they don’t have a way to judge their lives against ours. So comparison, or judgment, hasn’t been able to kill their joy!
And that’s my point—without judgment—they are happy because they are aware of TRUTH. Capital T TRUTH. They see the facts in their lives and accept them without judgment or concern for what other people might think.
So how can we learn to live that same way—without judgment?
What does it take to be truly aware?
Is it possible to reach a place where we can see people (including ourselves) for who we really are? Beautiful and powerful beings experiencing the world in a way that is perfect for each one of us?
I believe it can be done. In fact, it’s the reason that—at age 51—I’m happier and more content than I’ve ever been. It’s that peace I chose while lying in ICU that I continue to choose every day.
And it has come from making a conscious effort to release judgment while trying to view the world around me as it truly is.
So, what practical steps can you take to start on the road to finding peace?
How about this…
You’re a challenge for this week is to start noticing how much you judge things. Whether you judge them for good or bad is irrelevant. Just start noticing the duality in your life.
Start with something small.
Notice the judgment surrounding food. Does it taste good or bad? Is it too hot or too cold?
Move on to the judgment surrounding your finances. Or your home. Do you have enough money? Are you lacking things you would like to have? Do you love your home or do you wish for more?
Then start to notice your judgment about people—maybe your family. Do you like them or just tolerate them? Do you want to cut certain siblings out of your life? Do you wonder how your husband managed to be so normal when your in-laws are so—NOT?
What about your kids. Does your five-year-old drive you crazy with the question, “Why?” Do you wish you had more control over your teenagers? Do you sometimes have the thought—“If only they were more like me at that age!” (I might be guilty of that one!)
Take mental notes about how much time and energy you spend on judgment. Then consider whether or not it’s actually any of your business. Because if you’re judging things that you can’t control, then you’re really just wasting your energy.
Imagine how much energy you would have to use in other areas of your life if you could release some of that judgment and become truly aware of the world around you—of the TRUTH around you.
I’ll be interested to hear how this little experiment works out for you! Leave a comment to tell me what you’ve learned about yourself through this exercise or connect with me on Facebook and Instagram at Sandra Jarvis Coaching.
And if you’re a woman interested in figuring out how to better care for yourself, request to join my Good Enough Self-Care Challenge Facebook Group, where every week, there’s a new challenge to help you focus on taking better care of #1!
As I sign off, I’ll leave you with this thought…
If your life isn’t exactly what you want it to be, if you feel helpless or hopeless about creating the life you want to live, if there’s a voice inside you whispering, “There’s more for you than this!” Then I ask you…
How long do you want to be miserable?
Because you get to choose!