The S.T.U.C.K. Method

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being



morality1My last post, intended to focus on awareness of my judgment of others during shared dining experiences, received interesting comments (mostly to my personal Facebook page) regarding differing cultural values.

One friend responded, “there is no right or wrong.  Just different.”

Another friend claimed, “you can’t judge different cultures for having different rules of etiquette.”

A third friend attached a link to an article (which I found both fascinating and hysterical at the same time) delineating the idiosyncrasies of eating behaviors around the world.

And so, although it wasn’t my intention for the post to go in that direction, I started thinking about all of this… values, morals, cultural differences, etc.

And started wondering to myself, do I really not have the right to judge others?

Is there really no right or wrong?

Recently, I sat in a community committee meeting.  About 1/2 hour before the meeting was supposed to end, one person got up to leave.  She had let us know in the beginning of the meeting of her need to leave early.  Immediately following this, two others also said they had to leave.

With no explanation.

They just said they also had to leave.

And, they did.

And, the meeting continued with two people left (including me).

Was this not wrong?

Can I not judge or inquire into this situation?

Or, how about this?  In the past week, our Syrian “brothers” have mass murdered their own citizens.

Is this just different?

Can I not judge this behavior as wrong and bad?

Sure I can.

In both instances.

And I will.

The point isn’t necessarily that I can’t have feelings or emotions.

Or, that I can’t believe something is wrong.

Of course I can.

And do.

And will.

The question is whether or not I’m practicing to be aware of my thoughts.

And, notice them.

And, be with them.

Before I react (and do something I may regret later in life).

And, inevitably suffer from that.


Author: Shira Taylor Gura

Well-Being Coach, Podcast Host, Author of the award winning book, Getting unSTUCK: 5 Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being.

9 thoughts on “STUCK on MORALITY

  1. Hi shir I love your blogs! When I posted “there is no right or wrong.. Just different”, I heard that when I was 16, when I went to Israel for the summer with Ramah group. Our group leader, Namma, told us that as soon as we arrived in Israel. 🙂 Hope you guys are having a good day:) love, me

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Hey, Aim. I think that motto is a good one, but I think we also need to be careful and recognize that we can hold certain values as True, that others may not have. It’s a fine line. THANKS for reading the blogs and commenting! I’m loving this!

  3. I do not consider it “judgment”-rather “my opinion”. I am continually pointing this out to my 28 year old daughter, when she is telling me “Mom-don’t Judge!”

    • Thanks, Paula. My journey continues. And, I’m wondering (in my relationship with Ayalah) how much I even need to say? If I say less, perhaps she’ll see that I am judging less? And, just noticing things as they are. Then, perhaps she wouldn’t be confused between opinion and judgement. Anyway, your point is well taken! Thanks for continuing to reply to my posts!

      G’mar Tov!

  4. My feeling is that you are sharing a very personal journey of growing (as we all do) through your daily struggle(?) of living in a society different from the one you grew up in. I always enjoy following your posts, they are sincere and inspire all of us (well, at least me) to be honest with ourselves about these things. What got me this time was your conviction that this person’s behavior was disrespectful and that yours is the right, the better way to behave. This is not an opinion, it’s a judgment and, in my OPINION, a very condescending one. He is eating a soup, not gassing unarmed civilians – there is a reason why “do not kill” is in 10 Commandments, while the rules of etiquette are saved for longer “appropriate conduct” editions. I remember from your very early posts from Israel that you were frequently dismayed and dismissive of things that were new to you, things that you didn’t understand their origin – like the attitude towards religion among secular population, and some other things. And I remember thinking whether you would amend your opinions once you’ve lived there long enough. When I visited you, you inadvertently confirmed my prediction – your views on Israel/Israelis had softened as you learnt more about the country and the people. Of course we are entitled to our own opinions, and we pass judgment, whether we acknowledge it or not. Being able to stop and to learn a lesson in life from this experience is a great and rare gift that you are sharing with us. Thank you :o)
    “When I was served my soup, I sat patiently, with my hands in my lap, waiting for everyone else to be served and for the host to sit down.

    To me, this was the respectful thing to do.

    The right thing to do.

    As clear as night and day.

    Well, the person to my left obviously had another opinion because as soon as he was served, he started to eat.

    In fact, he was drinking the remainder of his soup (yes, literally) even before the host had a chance to sit down.

    I was appalled.



    In my mind, I wanted to parent this person (who, by the way, wasn’t my child).

    I wanted to tell this person that this is not the correct way to behave.

    I wanted to teach this person a thing or two about respect.”

    • Lina, thank you so much for your reply. Yes, this blog is very personal and puts me in a very vulnerable place. I must be very careful with my words. The point of what I was trying to say, whether it came across this way or not, is that I’m just learning to pause more often before reacting. Learning to watch my overly judging mind. Learning to be with all of this. This is new to me and it’s not easy. But, the effects are astronomical, both on how I view the world and relate to people (especially my husband, who I guess you can say, is culturally different from me.)

      I still do think it’s fine for me to say (or judge?) that *I* personally would not do that.

      And, that I wouldn’t encourage my kids to do that.

      But, I certainly wouldn’t make any sneer or obnoxious comments to anyone at the table (which in the past, is what I always did, which always ended up leading to a fight).

      I’m learning how to slow down and just notice things. Before I judge (if I judge at all.)

      And that’s a huge step for me.

      Hope this makes sense?

      Thank you so much for being such a committed friend to this blog.

      I’m always so impressed with the way you think and your incredible ways of expressing yourself (especially in English when it’s not your mother tongue!)

      G’mar Tov.

  5. My intention in this new jewish year is to give people the benefit of the doubt, more than I have in the past. What I’ve found through this practice is that I am able to forgive quicker, and move past whatever upset me. This has been really useful in my life and I think puts me back on track when I find myself off track. Why am I sharing this? Because my beliefs about right/wrong, judge/not judge, express my opinion/ keep it to myself are constantly shifting. I used to want to work hard on withholding judgment and, like you, realized that this lack of expression in my life was making me physically sick. I need to acknowledge how i feel! On the other hand, the more I judge someone the more I see them in that very same light. My relationship with that person will never improve if I am always judging them. So what to do? not sure. However, what remains consistently a good tool in my efforts to be a kinder, happier, more satisfied person? compassion. The more compassion I have for myself and others, the more I like them and myself.

    Just food for thought…at the dining table and elsewhere. 🙂

  6. Thank you, Jen, for that insight. I love your new practice, of giving people the benefit of the doubt. And, I loved that article that inspired you. I do believe, though, that learning to be aware of the judging, and staying with it for a bit, will ultimately lead to compassion. The staying IN the awareness invariably brings me to a place of questioning how I think of things, which leads to possibilities of seeing things differently, which then leads to compassion (on both sides).
    This is not necessarily a step by step process or practice. It’s just what I’m finding arises from it.

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