Judging others – Is it right or wrong
29th January, 20140 Comments
Written by: Jo Painter AC, Dip LC, NLP Prac, MRPharmS
Have you ever felt that you might be making too many judgements about the way other people look, think or behave towards you? Do you find yourself making comments or gossiping to friends about the way someone looks or how they annoyed you? Judging others is something that everyone does, but are you doing it to feel better about yourself or is it simply an automatic behaviour that helps you to make choices?
In some situations judgements do need to be made, such as deciding who to employ, which politician to vote for, whether to date someone or whether an outfit looks good on you. Without this ability to evaluate and make choices, how would you make any decisions or understand right from wrong? However judging others can also be destructive, if it is focused on looking for the negatives in people or is in the form of gossip or adverse comments.
Imagine a scenario: you have gone out for drinks with some friends and one of them has brought along someone new to the group. What are your first thoughts? Do you judge their clothes, their weight or their friendliness or do you just remain neutral until you have got to know them better?
Judging others has good and bad sides. When you make choices based on observing and evaluating other people you are using an important skill. When you judge people from a negative perspective, you are doing it to make yourself feel better and as a result the judgement is likely to be harmful to both of you.
Some reasons for making negative judgements:
- Feeling insecure. When you feel insecure or unhappy with life, putting others down can temporarily make you feel better.
- Feeling scared. If you’re scared or intimidated by others, you may try to feel better by joking about them or putting them down.
- Feeling lonely. There is a bonding element to judging others. However this is a shallow level of bond and unlikely to be maintained.
- Feeling jealous. If a friend achieves or is given something you want, putting them down can make it seem fairer to you.
As you might expect, making negative judgements on others to make you feel better never works in the long term. Quite often you feel guilty afterwards and it can also result in you judging yourself even more harshly and setting yourself expectations that are too high.
How to stop making negative judgements:
- Be aware of your thoughts. Spend time considering the thoughts that pass through your mind and notice if you are making judgements.
- Look for the positive in everyone.
- Stop judging yourself. This is harder to stop than judging others, but try setting yourself realistic expectations.
- Don’t avoid your own problems. When you are trying to avoid your feelings you may use judging others as a distraction.
- Remember the feeling of being judged and how guilty you felt when you judged someone else.
My challenge to you is for you to try to make no judgements of others or yourself for one day. Can you achieve it?
“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” ~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth and Being Free
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