“Be curious, not judgemental” – Walt Whitman
Discussing the concept of being too judgemental is a challenging venture. In itself, calling somebody else too judgemental could be construed as too judgemental, and so that leaves me stuck in a weird paradox where I am in fact judging myself. Alas, here we go.
There’s no wonder that so many of us are judgemental. As children it’s incredibly easy to be conditioned into thinking that acting superior to others will save us from being hurt, that being cruel can be funny and that being critical of others is an obligation we all share. Fortunately, many of us are able to grow out of this childlike state of apathy and disdain, but others have a more difficult time.
This can lead to adults judging their friends, family, strangers, surroundings and situations relentlessly. Being judgemental can become an addiction masquerading as a personality trait, and like all addictions it can become worryingly preoccupying and problematic in your everyday life.
So how do you know if you’re too critical? Here are some deem signs that you are troubleshooting and unreasonably judgemental:
- You are hypercritical of almost everything that occurs in your life.
- You see a stranger and your thoughts go straight to their failings.
- Others will not approach you for fear that you seek to diminish them in some way.
- You seek to change others if their values do not match with your own.
- You misconstrue your opinion or belief about someone as a fact, and then blame them for supporting that belief you created in your head.
- You are completely closed to the idea of changing those opinions.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to like everything that everyone does, but you also don’t have to judge everything that everyone does. Instead, if your overly disparaging attitude is causing you unhappiness and difficulties, you can choose to let go of the judgemental burden. You are constantly in control of how your experience the world and it might be time for your perspective to change:
Be Self -Aware.
There are few traits more important in this world than self-awareness as it’s often the first place we must visit on the way to self-development. Remember to observe yourself, your thoughts and your judgements. When you find yourself being harsh and critical of something take a minute to check yourself. Ask yourself: why are you making that comment? Does it really help in anyway, or is it a selfish comment you’ve made to make yourself feel better? Does that align with your moral values? Hopefully, it doesn’t and now you’re well on your way to changing your thought processes and patterns.
Always try to choose love over dislike, positive energy over the negative and good intentions over bad.
Seek Understanding, Not Flaws.
When you jump straight to judging someone, you relinquish any opportunity to genuinely understand them. You have instantly thrown them into the judged pile without even getting to know them, their story or their context.
Next time you feel the urge to judge someone’s actions, appearance or principles instead seek to understand them. They have their own life thing going on just like you, they may not be having the best day or maybe they like to dress or act like that. Right now, you are limited to your own reasoning but by striving to understand others you widen your perspective on life.
One of the many positives about life is that each and every single living thing is different and unique from the rest. What’s even more amazing is the fact that there is more than enough room and patience on this planet for everyone to live together, no matter how diverse. Instead of attempting to change everybody else, instead change your attitude. Accept that everyone is distinctive, unusual and curious, and you will stop judging them for their unique characteristics.
True, not all behaviour is created equal and some of those characteristics will be annoying but if that’s an honest observation, simply avoid that person and hope that they’ll do some soul searching of their own before somebody smacks them into last year.
If you manage to maintain a mindful, non-judgemental attitude around those who you would have previously ripped to shreds then you have truly grown as an individual. You have abandoned your need to seek power over others, you have made empathy a priority and most importantly you have helped to make the world an infinitely more pleasant place to be.