In western empire culture, we’ve been trained to “feel good” when we’re “one up” on someone else. Our pleasure centers light up, a little extra adrenaline flows, etc. We think it’s a victory. (I’m remembering seeing Tiger Woods when he makes a difficult putt on the green: he looks and acts just like one of the guys on a sitcom who “one ups” a boss.)
But that’s because our wires were crossed in the training – kind of like people who get sexually stimulated when spanked or have to get angry before they can say “I love you.” It’s a conditioned response that isn’t “real” victory.
So, yes! It gets very confusing!
The way to know whether a thought or action is helpful or harmful is to see what it does in the world – or to you. What happens when someone “one ups” you? How does it feel? Is that something you want more of?
A huge part of our spiritual work in this culture is undoing the false beliefs and training we’ve been given. And this is one of them. Yes, it’s not okay for anyone to intentionally cause harm to anyone else. No, it’s not okay for anyone to judge anyone ELSE’s words or actions – “lest we be judged.” When we do or say something critical of another IT COMES BACK AROUND to us!
For me, that usually takes 24-48 hours: if I think critically of someone, then within a day or two I’m either doing it or seeing it in me – OUCH!
And if one of the things I’m feeling “lack” around is money, the last thing I want to do is be judgmental of someone with money – no matter what I think of how they use it!
And there’s a growth opportunity here, too. Emma Hopkins spends some time in Lessons 10 & 11 on the importance of giving others the freedom to follow their own path – realizing that in giving another their freedom we enhance our own, and as we raise our consciousness, theirs is raised too.