By Cathy Eck
Recently, a man called me because he saw my business card on a health food store bulletin board. He shared with me that he was bisexual and dressed in women’s clothing. He felt the discomfort of other people’s judgment when he dared to do what felt joyful to him. We talked for a few minutes; and it was clear to me that this wasn’t a judgmental person. In fact, I could tell that he worked hard not to judge others because he’d experienced the sting of being judged so often himself. I found him very likable right away.
It was completely apparent that this man was a really good person inside — something that’s common among my readers. But he was keeping score based on what others thought of him, and he wasn’t “normal.” He was different. So his scorekeepers gave him a consistently low score.
As long as he continued to value the score that others gave him, he was going to come out short. He’d feel out of control, an outcast, and a loser at life because he was honoring a false score sheet.
But if he kept score based on his own thoughts about others, he’d find that he was a damn good player of the life game. He’d have incentive to become even less judgmental and more loving regardless of how others treated him. And if he learned to let go of his belief that others could judge him or that he was bad or wrong, he’d find that he had the potential to be a true winner at the life game.
Most people are keeping score based on fame, power, money, or material possessions. People who live outside the status quo don’t fair well in that game. That game can only have a few winners.
On the other hand, everyone can win when they keep score of the purity of their own mind once they learn how to let go. Each day, their mind gets a little freer, they judge others less, and they love more. As they do this, they become authentic; the authentic person has no competition. They always win.
When we see authentic improvement in ourselves, we realize that we’re truly good people; we do have incredible value. When we stop caring what others think of us, our natural joy flows unobstructed from the inside.
I struggled with this problem for such a long time. Once I discovered letting go, I spent time each day letting go of my judgments and beliefs about myself and others. I became more unconditionally loving inside. But people couldn’t see that my mind was becoming freer or more loving. They still judged my looks or the fact that I didn’t do what they wanted me to do. They still saw me as different or unusual. Their memories of the old me screamed so loudly that they couldn’t see past them. I believed that my freedom required them to let go of their beliefs about me. But I was wrong.
My naturally good self wasn’t good in their illusory perspective where good is defined based on rules and social protocol. How I felt during that time was directly related to my poor scorekeeping. Allowing other people’s score of me to dominate my mind caused me so much pain and agony. I felt that I didn’t want to live on the planet.
Then I changed my way of keeping score. I focused on my own mind and let go of thought after thought to see if I could unconditionally love those that didn’t love me. They were not willing to let me off the hook, but I was willing to let them off the hook. I felt better and freer and my inner score continued to improve. Soon most of the people who judged me disappeared from my life; and quite frankly, I didn’t miss any of them. But I did feel complete with them because I saw their True Self in my own mind even if they weren’t willing to be that yet.
I decided that my purpose in life would be to make my mind a pure space where people could join me in being themselves. I would create a safe place where people wouldn’t be judged for being their True Selves, where letting go and freedom would be supported and honored.
It was out of that realization that the business card at the top of this post was born several years ago. I chose the green mask because it was so beautiful. Recently, I decided to paint the mask. I wanted to get to know this woman who had adorned the front of my card for several years. As I worked on every little detail in her face, I began to see the beauty under the mask; she became real and authentic.
I realized that we can’t see in others beyond the level of our own authenticity. If we’re wearing a mask, we don’t see with pure eyes. If we aren’t wearing a mask, even a mask has truth and beingness. Likewise, when others are wearing a mask, they can’t see us.
So keeping score of our own mind is truly the only method of scorekeeping that makes sense. We wouldn’t rate our physical sight based on a blind friend reading an eye chart for us, but that is exactly what we’re doing when we allow someone else to judge us or tell us whether we are good or worthy. Their criteria for goodness simply doesn’t apply to us.
When we strive to be more ourselves each day and use the right method of keeping score, life starts to make sense. We find even the most ornate mask easy to drop. Our unique True Self is clearly much more beautiful. As our score improves, the judgment of others disappears. We can’t imagine being anyone other than our Self.