I don’t care how the dictionary describes either judgment or discernment. As with many things, I have my own working definitions of both words.
Judgment implies good/bad and right/wrong. It is black and white without any gray. It is either/or and quite unforgiving. There’s a winner and therefore also a loser. It leads to gossip, name calling and character assassination when it turns really ugly. Judgment is based and founded in scarcity, lack and is a very slippery slope into “us versus them” thinking.
Discernment on the other hand, may appear to be softer but can actually be a lot more badass. Discernment is about alignment and honoring what does and does not match our core values. It is created and strengthened by the knowing that not every person will earn the right to access our innermost circles.
Discernment is allowing people to be who they are while at the same time respecting our own boundaries. When people show you who they are….believe them.
When people in my life show me that there’s a disconnect in our personal values, I move them to an outer circle. Sometimes I remove them from my life completely. Those complete removals are relatively rare, but they do happen and when any level of pruning becomes warranted I am not afraid to cut.
In most cases my discernment involves levels of access. The closer a connection is or becomes, the more access they get to me. The farther away a connection is, the less access they have to me.
My closest circle is actually quite small and those who reside within it have earned the right to be there over and over and over by showing up as aligned with my values. They are my most treasured chosen family and my soft places to land. They are also those from whom I cannot hide and will call me out on my own bs while jumping in as the first to cheer me on.
Discernment and boundaries don’t mean de-valuing another person. They DO always mean honoring and staying true to what you value most. Honesty, connection and integrity are probably my top three personal values. If you show me you choose to lie, swim in the superficial or not do what you said you would…..we won’t have much in common.
Those people in my life who either not connections or outer circle people? They’re cool and they’re doing their own thing. They just don’t get to witness the messiest and most vulnerable aspects of me.
In the cases when I’ve radically removed someone from all levels of access to me I really questioned whether I was being too harsh. The recovering people pleasing voice is strong. Yet in every case it’s turned out to be not just for my benefit but for theirs as well.
Discernment is powerful. Judgment based on lack and scarcity is flimsy, brittle and unstable. There’s a subtle but important distinction between the two.
Discernment is as powerful in business and professional relationships as it is in more personal connections. The absolute BEST clients, connections and referral partners I have are those who are so in alignment with my values, it is always a joy to engage with them.
No matter the circumstance or challenge before us, with value alignment and joy as the foundational relationship building block those connections are the most enduring ones we’ll ever encounter.
Copyright©2018 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Judgment and Discernment”
The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, NC Residential Real Estate Broker in Charlotte NC, Heartfelt, Empowering Real Estate in Charlotte NC