Whether we care to admit it we are all judgmental on some level.
The question is are we too judgmental?
Like most things in life, there is a sliding scale.
Here are 6 things to take into consideration the next time you find yourself judging a person or situation.
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1. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
I will use a fairly controversial issue as an example for this one. Some people judge refugees and asylum seekers (this is a particularly hot topic in Australia at the moment).
I am fortunate enough to be born in Australia. I do not live in a war-torn country. I cannot even begin to wonder what it is like to have someone trying to kill or harm me or my family on a daily basis or to have bombs dropped on my house or city regularly.
I can’t imagine not having access to food, electricity, and clean water.
Yet millions of people live in these conditions every day. Who am I to judge someone in this situation when I have never had to endure such hardships myself?
While I realize this is an extreme example, the next time you find yourself judging someone, try to put yourself in their shoes even for a moment.
Situations can look very different when you see them from another perspective.
2. Appreciate you don’t know another person’s motives or situation
We see a person act a certain way and instantly label them, often without knowing anything about their past, present or any significant life events they may be going through.
Just because someone acts a certain way at one point in time doesn’t mean they act that way all of the time.
We often pass judgment on what we see and hear in the media all of which can be reported with a particular bias, reported incorrectly, simply gossip, or flat-out lies. But it’s all we have (and it may play to our own biases) so we take it on board.
Try to dig a little bit deeper.
I appreciate this isn’t always possible as our resources may be limited but try to find out as much information about a particular topic before you form an opinion.
Work at being curious. Work at asking questions and being more open-minded.
3. Move past ‘I would never do that’ thinking
All too often we get caught up in the I’m right, they are wrong mentally. Some people see life in black and white. Right or wrong.
We see people doing something we don’t approve of and think to ourselves – I would never do that.
What we don’t realize is that people may be thinking the exact same thing about some of our behavior.
Something like how to be a good parent (not to mention whether a mother should breastfeed or not) brings out some incredibly judgmental statements on how things are supposed to be done.
Each side of the debate believes they are right and that the other is wrong. What they have are different views on the topic.
There are times when we cannot make sense of a person’s actions. When it comes to people committing serious crimes our most common thought is – how could anyone do that? In these cases, we are shocked and disgusted which is understandable.
4. Understand everyone makes mistakes
I doubt if any of us are really in a position to harshly judge other people when it comes to our day-to-day lives.
We all make mistakes. We all screw up at some point.
Forgiveness is easier for some than for others (there is no right or wrong about that by the way) it all comes down to us being individuals.
The next time someone hurts you in a small way, give some thought to your own behavior whether it be related to that particular person or someone else. Have you made a similar mistake yourself?
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5. Understand why other people’s behavior may scare you
Sometimes the very things we judge people for are the habits or problems we are trying to get under control ourselves.
We judge people for being lazy while trying to get a handle on our own laziness.
The same behavior we judge in other people can be what we secretly bury within ourselves. These are often the parts of ourselves we keep hidden, scared that they will be discovered.
We may be jealous or envious of another person’s actions. Maybe they are doing something we have never quite had the guts to try ourselves. Sometimes judging people seems easier than facing our own fears or limitations.
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6. Don’t judge based on superficial crap
This one is definitely aimed towards our celebrity /youth-orientated/looks-oriented obsessed selves.
Someone gets photographed with hair out of place, no makeup, or heaven forbid gets a new haircut. Suddenly the Internet goes berserk, the television media erupts and the celebrity magazines go into overdrive. It seems everyone has an opinion – no matter what they look like or how they behave themselves.
It’s an open day on judgment.
Honestly here is my take on the whole thing. A celebrity gets a new haircut. Maybe you like it, maybe you don’t – excellent you are entitled to your opinion – now move on and do it quickly.
We need to stop being so judgmental about superficial fluff.
We waste so much energy passing judgment on something that doesn’t make a difference to anyone and won’t matter in a week.
If you are going to be judgmental or have a passionate opinion – at least make it about something important or meaningful.
I hope I don’t sound too judgmental in this post! I’m the first to admit, I’m as guilty as the next person of making unfair or snap judgments but it is something I am aware of and constantly working to improve.
The next time you feel yourself being too judgmental, try these tips out for size to see if they help.
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