Can Judging People Lead Us to Enlightenment?

by P. Braithwaite

Hint: It can. As long as you don’t get stuck inside the judgment.

So over the last few weeks I’ve come into contact with some crazies people who have really triggered me. Trigger is life coach/therapy-speak for people who piss you the f*ck off. Trigger sounds nicer and less deliberate. The first trigger-happy moment was when I was yelled at by my life coach. Yes. You heard me. I was yelled at by my life coach. Technically, I was yelled at by my life coach’s life coach — a life coach who owns the firm I’ve credited with helping me flourish. I won’t say the name of the organization because that’s just petty, but it’s really devastating to be accosted by someone who claims to facilitate personal growth. It’s upsetting to be yelled at by someone you admired.

I was shocked. While I can see how I may have unintentionally “triggered” her, it’s NEVER appropriate for one grown woman to yell at another grown-up. It’s just stupid, and it makes you seem crazy (yep…still judging). I literally held her hands and tried to coach her through her tantrum. It was one of the most bizarre moments of my life.

The other opportunity to judge another instance was when one of my favorite personal development folks showed himself as someone more concerned with money than authenticity. A reader insinuated that he’d recently shifted from soul-work to money-making, and it seemed she hit a nerve. This expert engages in an affiliate marketing strategy — he encourages people to buy third-party services, but he doesn’t tell us that. When his reader called him out, he had an opportunity to fess up. Instead, he berated his reader and used the reader as an example of how people “are weird about money.” The whole thing was actually tough to read…

It’s funny, as I found myself frowning and pointing my finger at these folks, I remembered the old saying: when you point one finger at another, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

So I had to check myself: if I’m noticing people who are out of integrity with themselves (and their businesses), where am I out of integrity in my own life. I am a firm believer that people show up in our lives to teach us about ourselves. The folks that irritate us the most are, probably, our greatest teachers. We judge and reject in them what we cannot own in ourselves. So for me, being faced with people who are not what the claim to be, I have an opportunity to clear cobwebs in my own life.

I have more inner work to do around money. I have LOTS of inner work to do around my relationships. I have work to do around my diet and my level of self-love. Starting my business is going to challenge me in ways I don’t yet know. These things make me human. These things make me a compassionate. These things inform my teaching and my coaching strategies. Being a work in progress is absolutely okay. I suspect that these people came into my awareness to teach me about honesty and integrity of process. We are ALL working on ourselves, every day. It would seem, that building a brand based on personal development can be fraught with potential pitfalls – am I good enough? Am I perfect enough? Will people pay me if I show flaws? So instead of being angry that my idols are somewhat flawed, I honor the flaws in myself, and forget them altogether.

Today, I set my intention to be unapologetically human. We are all perfectly imperfect, flawlessly flawed and divinely human as we stumble through this life. My humanity shows daily, but that doesn’t make me unworthy. I’m still capable of helping and worthy of reward.
I accept myself – exactly as I am.

And so it is.

What are the annoying people in your life teaching you today?