Here’s a great question:
“What if I’m non-judgmental with others, but they are judgmental towards me? What happens when I’m willing to let go of my need to frame the other party as wrong, but the other party is not willing to let go of THEIR need to see ME as wrong?”
I tend to be very non-judgmental, but I have found myself in many situations where other people needed me to be wrong.
I kept getting frustrated with such people because I wanted them to buy into my non-judgmental philosophy. In essence, I was being judgmental about their refusal to be non-judgmental.
I eventually had to come to grips with the fact that if I was really going to let go of my need for other people to be wrong, then I had to let go of my belief that it is wrong for someone to believe the opposite.
In other words, logical consistency demands me to affirm that it’s not wrong for anyone to believe that I am wrong.
I may not see myself in the way they see me, but that’s okay. I don’t need to condemn their condemnation of me.
If someone is busy condemning me, then THEY may have a difficult time focusing on what THEY truly need. But that’s not MY problem unless I MAKE it my problem by trying to change who they are. I can still focus on what I need without getting THEM to become a nonjudgmental person.
This way of looking at things allows me to stay focused on what truly matters to me without getting caught up in a sideline fight over the ethics of someone else’s behavior.
If I genuinely feel remorse about something, I will own it.
If it’s an issue I don’t really care about and a simple “I’m sorry” will make it easier for everyone, then maybe I’ll soothe them with a bit of diplomacy.
In most cases, I’ll just let them be right in their own eyes and, as long as I get what I need from the situation, it doesn’t really matter what they think.
Most forms of condemnation tend to disappear, anyway, when we stay calm and refuse people’s debate bait (no pun intended).
If, however, I find myself in an extreme situation where someone is trying to guilt-trip me or manipulate me and I feel very passionate about my innocence and I have too much to lose by conceding their point, I simply say something like this:
I understand, appreciate, and respect where you’re coming from. Your feelings are absolutely valid and if I were in your shoes I would probably react and feel the same way as you.
However, I have my own feelings and perspectives and those are no less valid.
My differences do not make you wrong or crazy or anything like that, but if your goal is to get me to cooperate with you, then you need to understand the following; I am not willing to be wrong for you and if you need me to be wrong, then I have to respectfully terminate this conversation.
If you can set aside the debate about who’s right or wrong, however, then I am willing to work with you to help find a solution.
I’m on your team.
I want you to be happy. I want you to get what you want. I’m ready to help you make that happen.
But if you need me to take ownership of something I don’t feel responsible for as a prerequisite for my cooperation, then I can’t help you.
I would love to move past this argument and start using my creativity to brainstorm a few ways in which we can co-create the results you want.
How about you? Do you want to skip the right & wrong debate so we can figure out a way to make things easier for you?”
It’s your call.
If they want to keep arguing (which is very rare IF I communicate effectively), I exit stage left. If they want to work together, I rollup up my sleeves and go to work.
That’s my two cents on how to forget about right and wrong when you’re interacting with those who refuse to do the same.
To Read FORGET ABOUT “RIGHT & WRONG” Part I, click here.