Are you programmed to be judgmental?  I certainly was. I don’t mean using good judgment to make the best decision you can; I mean looking for the flaws in myself and others. This kind of judgment is charged with emotions and expectations for how we need to change and, of course, how others need to change.

Here are some messages that are judgmental.


arms crossed

  • You’re wrong; you need to change your opinion.
  • You’re doing it wrong; you need to change how you do it.
  • Disagreeing means you are not paying attention to the facts I am presenting. If you paid  attention to the facts, you would agree with me.
  • (In group think)You’re right; let’s make sure everyone else agrees.

For me, being judgmental feels like a dead end because there is only one right choice. If you do not make that choice, there is a need to change you. Those with the power can be relentless in forcing you to change. Because there is only one right choice, those who agree can feel entitled to make others change.





Here’s how discerning can work.









  • Besides the facts, intuition and knowingness factor into choices.
  • As much as possible, you step back from the situation, so you are less likely to see the situation through fearful thoughts and emotions or opinions and agreements that have come from outside of you.
  • You make choices that are right for you. You do not assume that this is the right choice for others.
  • You do not assume that others must change what they believe.
  • You do not tell them they are wrong. You simply make your choice for you.

For me, being discerning seems open ended because my choices may change based on new information or changes in me.

Discernment requires that you are in the present moment, not tied to opinions based on the past or from fears about the future. You then have the ability to adjust from moment to moment as you change and as things change around you.

As you move from being judgmental to being discerning, there is room for many points of view. You are using both your mind (the color yellow) and your intuition (the color purple). It becomes appropriate to check the heart before making a decision. Your choices are in alignment with your sense of what is right for you. You are not hiding behind indecision, yet you are not holding on to your opinions as if they were the only way to view a situation. Collaboration with others is possible, bringing together many viewpoints and possibilities.

This is an amazing way to live! You can be aware, make choices, and freely live without requiring that others agree with you. This is the way many of us are choosing to live.


Arlene Arnold


Join us on our Radio Show May 27th at 3:30 Pacific for a deeper look at judgmental and discerning. You can also listen to the archive or find it on I-tunes.