Judgment can be a really ugly thing.
None of us are strangers to judgement. It is an essential survival trait. However, we have taken the business of judgment too far. We secretly judge friends, acquaintances, relatives, coworkers, random people we encounter, etc. No matter how much we think we shouldn’t judge others, we find ourselves conditioned to do it. In fact, the brain immediately determines how trustworthy a face is before it’s fully perceived, which supports the fact that we make very fast judgments about people (Journal of Neuroscience).
However, the problem isn’t that we judge; not all judgment is bad. Rather, the problem lies in our understanding of the difference between good judgment and bad judgment. While good judgement is meant to protect and keep us safe, bad judgement is meant to make us feel good and appease our pain, at the cost of making others feel inferior.
So where does this bad judgment come from?
Our judgement is often based on what we see through our own personal limited lens. It involves looking to our own memories, experiences, values, prejudices and fears to come up with some sort of solution to a perceived problem. Regrettably, all too often it is the wrong solution and our distorted lens composed of our own prejudices and limitations just creates distance between individuals. Yet the world cries out for unity, not separation.
The reality is that no one is perfect. You are not perfect and neither am I. So before we judge others, we must realize that all of mankind is flawed. We may be conditioned to react to difference with an almost instinctual judgment; however, anything that can be learned, can be unlearned.
To overcome our criticism of people, we must become mindful of our negative thoughts as they arise. We may not be able to control the fact that we find the ugliness of instinctual judgement lurking in our mind, but we can ensure that it doesn’t escape our lips and ruin someone else’s day. As Thumper explained: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
I invite to step off the judgement treadmill and channel your opinions toward something that serves others, instead of hinders them. See others through the eyes of compassion and empathize instead of criticize. Take a broader view, expand your consciousness and take a step back to see the bigger picture. When you find yourself in one of those incessant loop thought patterns of judgment about someone else’s behaviors, ask the hard question: Do I myself exhibit this same behavior or attitude that I judge in this person?
What do you think? Have you been on both ends of judgement? Comment below.
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