3 Exercises That Will Stop You From Negatively Judging Others

Personal Development

Judgment is often the end of all dialogue.

Once you pass judgement, it can be quite easy to close off others, in turn failing to understand them and their story.

But we all judge, all the time. When you look at a woman and think she is beautiful, you’ve judged. When you see a teenager with a weird haircut and you think it’s ridiculous, you’ve judged.

So is it so awful to pass judgment? In itself, judging is not a bad thing. Most people would accept it as inherently human. However, very often, judgment is laced with undertones of negativity, ignorance, self-righteousness and expectations.

Is there a way to judge less and understand others more?

Everyone has a story, you too

What’s the story of your life? What experiences have made you the person you are today? You most likely have an explanation why you look the way you do, think the way you do, and live the way you do. Others have their own story as well, and unless they tell you about it, you will never know why they are the way they are.

Sometimes it’s not always possible to know the life story of every person that you meet or come across. But, a great way to cease negative judgment, stereotyping and criticizing is to try to imagine what their script might read like. The possibilities are endless.

A good example is that of encountering an obese person. Most of the time, people will judge an obese person as someone who overeats, doesn’t care about his health and is okay to be made fun of until he gets into shape. But people can become overweight for a myriad reasons- it could be an inherited family trait, they could be suffering from other illnesses such as thyroid problems, they could have been born with an abnormality that causes them to accumulate too much weight. The possibilities are indeed endless.

Knowing for a fact that everyone has their own story allows you to see others from a point of view of empathy, instead of condemnation.

Think about it: Wouldn’t you want others to first understand your story, before passing negative judgments about you?

Exploring Your Assumptions and Reactions

Time and again, we judge in others what we don’t like in ourselves or because of what we lack. In a funny, very human kind of way, we tend to project our own shortcomings onto others. How many times have you found yourself or someone else talking about how they hate this about another person, or are frustrated by this other person’s behaviour? Then when you stop to think, you realize that you too display the same behaviour, quite often! Could it be that you are having a hard time accepting yourself due to this flaw/ “bad” behaviour?

Alternatively, could you be judging others negatively because they have something you don’t? If you are the shy, low-key type, it’s easy to label a person with exuberant self-confidence, who is outspoken and witty as a show off, opinionated, or bossy.

When you catch yourself being overly critical of others, stop and think about why this person’s looks or mannerisms bother you so much. This way, you will most likely learn more about yourself than the person whom you are passing judgment on.

Practicing Mindfulness and Acceptance

One may rightfully argue that there is no way to completely stop judging. They may be right.

Nevertheless, negative judgment, which usually leads to condemnation, unhappiness and a dilution of love, can be mitigated. One way to do this is to start being aware of your thoughts. When you are aware of what is going on in your mind, you will easily catch yourself being critical of others. Stop yourself.

How do you stop thoughts of judgment? First, remind yourself that everyone, including you has a story (point #1).  Then, practice the art of acceptance. Realize that you cannot change others or control them. Realize that the world is as it is, and it will always be. It won’t always be easy to feel this kind of empathy; but think about it: wouldn’t you want others to accept you just the way you are?

2 Comments

  1. Abdul says:

    Wow,what an article that is.
    It really made me feel better because i was and i m being judged by others and going down.
    This post is like taking me out of this.thanks for writing such an impactful post

    • Andrew Spence says:

      Hey Abdul. thanks for checking out the article. I’m glad you found it useful. Feel free to stop by again!

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