Jargon Judgement

Day two of the DBT Skills Course.

Back at home and I slept for 45 minutes this afternoon. That might not seem like a big deal but I very rarely sleep outside bedtime unless I’m ill. What is a big deal is that I’m functioning as opposed to last week when I went into shutdown (on and off) for three days.

Today was the second Mindfulness session and there was a lot of talk around being judgemental. As with being ‘mindful’ I have no problem with not being ‘judgemental’. To me it is having a negative, and sometimes toxic, view of people or organisations that you do not agree with.

According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary it is defined as ‘relating to, or involving judgements’, ‘characterised by a tendency to judge harshly’.
In Collins dictionary it can be used in the senses of: being harshly critical, fault-finding, disparaging, being self-righteous.

During the session I raised the issue of semantics, opining that it depends how you use, or understand, the terms. I tried to explain my thoughts and was interrupted and told ‘there’s a lot of judgements being made’.

Later there were opinions made about a certain politician, certain newspapers, and last week I’d listened to opinions about an accent from a country I used to live in. All these opinions were negative and yet not one was labelled as judgemental. My feelings are, and this would probably be labelled judgemental, that if comments are made that the ‘facilitator’ can accept then it is OK. My comments question the basis and validity of what is being taught. Different ball game completely.

To take it a tad further: we did a listening mindfulness exercise. There were gulls outside that could be heard. I enjoy all bird song and tried to concentrate on the separate calls. During feedback others mentioned the gulls with one commenting that they were alright as long as not stealing chips. Judgement. I was brought up to accept that if you encroached another creature’s domain then – well – you’d have to accept the consequences.

Bowness by Lake Windermere

I’ve just watched a TV programme The Great British Year: Spring. Using brilliant photography and commentary it gives wonderful new insights into the trials and triumphs of the natural world through one Season. It also got me thinking about the judgement calls that may be made about the ‘red in tooth and claw’ nature of survival in the wild.
We were shown a herring gull attacking, and finally making off with, a guillemot chick; we were also shown fishes, and birds, and water fowl scooping up mayflies as they rose from the river on their one day of dance in freedom. How many would be disgusted by the barbarity of the parent gull taking 50% of the guillemot’s brood? How many would be equally disgusted by the swallowing of thousands of mayflies when there were, possibly, millions rising from the water?
It is a judgement call. But is it negative? As humans we tend to have none or a few offspring. If one were taken it would be catastrophic and we can empathise with a similar situation. But when it’s thousands out of hundreds of thousands, or millions, well that’s not on our radar. So can we judge ourselves for being selective about who or what we judge?

As I said – or tried to say – at the group, it is all a matter of semantics.
The meanings of words, and the way we interpret them, varies from country to country, from culture to culture. It is one of the reasons I doubt that a concept can be lifted whole from another setting and still remain totally valid, acceptable, and understandable.
And to do so I believe is lazy; the easy option.
But that’s me being judgemental.

If you have a take on the jargon used in medical / health settings please share.
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Thank you for reading.