From judging the crazy driving of the driver who cut in front of you to judging someone’s appearance. From judging the decision of a friend to judging someone’s sanity because they don’t share your opinion. From judging the leadership ability of your manager to judging the commitment of a co-worker.
Spend the next 24 hours paying attention to how much time you spend, or waste, judging others. Include the conversations you have with others justifying your judgement and include the time you spend judging yourself.
Unfortunately we are wired to judge
We have become wired to judge. Our work is judged. We are judge on whether or not we are suitable for a job. Our performance, productivity and creativity are judged. And when we are judged negatively of course we take it personally and our emotions and feelings are triggered.
Generally when we are judged there is no accompanying explanation. Not from the person who judged us and nor are we allowed to explain our perspective, belief or thoughts. We feel unseen, invalidated and unappreciated. We become frustrated and even angry. We in turn judge the ridiculousness of the other person’s judgement, and we judge them.
We turn to others to vent, tell our story about the situation to make ourselves feel better and gain agreement about the unfair judgement.
Judging others has become a habitual and unconscious behavior that sabotages relationships.
Judging others infects your relationships
You attract negative relationships. Although you judge others to make yourself feel better and perhaps to make yourself feel superior, you gain nothing positive. You may gain a relationship with someone who enjoys gossiping, but what kind of gain is that if you are someone who wants to live their best life? What kind of gain is that if you are someone who wants to surround themselves with positive relationships and authentic connection? There are not many people who are living their best life who enjoy negative conversations or spending time with people who do.
You infect your thoughts and energy with negativity. You don’t feel good after judging others. It puts you in a bad mood followed by a bad attitude. Negative thoughts and conversations are energy drainers. They cause you to focus on all things negative. They put you in a negative mood. Your stress level increases. Your productivity, creativity and ability to connect with others suffers.
You’ll judge yourself. The more you judge the more it becomes a nondiscriminatory habit. You’ll judge yourself as much as you judge others. The problem is that you will hear your judgement of yourself more frequently than others will hear your judgement of them, if at all. Though your judgements of others may be vocalized for a short period, your judgements of yourself will be quieter, in your thoughts and persistent. Judging yourself provokes thoughts of doubt, dissatisfaction, shame, guilt, fear, and embarrassment. You’ll become insecure and suffer the effects of insecurity. For some it is defensiveness and it is difficult to be in a relationship with someone who is defensive. For some it is hiding and it is not a lot of fun to be in a relationship with someone who hides.
You’ll feel judged. Even if no one is judging you you will feel others are judging you for the very same things you are judging others for and that you are judging yourself for. When you feel judged you cannot interact with others authentically. You will interact in a way your believe will be more acceptable to them, or defensively to avoid feeling the pain of feeling judged, or you will not engage and instead avoid making a connection for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing or being judged.
Very important to know before you judge
- You are judging others based on what is important to you. It may be very important to you to be seen as a high performer at work because your plan is to advance your career. Your judgement of your colleague who does not stay late, will not work on the weekend and leaves to attend their child’s sports events is invalid and a waste of energy. What is import to you is not important to your colleague.
- You are judging others with limited information. The barista who has an apparently bad attitude first thing in the morning may have been up all night with a sick child, after studying for exams required to get her dream job and after working her fulltime job. Maybe she has arrived at work to malfunctioning machinery and short staff. No, none of that has anything to do with you, but positive relationships and genuine connection require empathy and grace. Rather than feeling annoyed with her attitude, a better response and good practice would be to try to make her morning a little brighter, without having to know what her challenges are.
When you take an inventory of how much time you spend judging yourself and others notice how you felt before and after, what your thoughts were and how your energy was affected. Observe how you interact with others after your judgmental thoughts. Determine whether your interactions were a positive or negative influence on your interactions. Given that we all want positive relationships, determine how your judgement of yourself and others is impacting your relationships.
How being less judgmental will impact your relationships
- You will feel less judged.
- You will see more positive behavior and focus less on negative behavior (look forward to learning about setting boundaries with those who truly negative behavior should not be tolerated).
- Your relationships will be more enjoyable because you will begin to appreciate more of the positive aspects of other people and even if you notice anything unpleasant, it becomes an observation only. You will have learned that other people’s behaviors do not have to affect you and are no reflection on you. Instead, their behaviors are clues about who they are, maybe what their struggles are and perhaps what pain they are carrying. Nonjudgmental people are easier and more pleasant to be with, so you being a nonjudgmental friend will make it more enjoyable to be with you. You will relax because you are not looking for anything to judge. Not even in your own behavior.
Create space for connection
Connecting with others requires unlearning habitual behaviors, learning how to connect and creating space to connect. Here are 4 quick ways to do just that:
Be curious. There may be a reason that may explain someone’s behavior. Before you judge be curious. Ask the barista how her morning is going. Make a connection and offer her a quick minute to share her struggle, and wish her a better morning.
Offer grace over judgement. When we know better we do better. Forgive the offenses of others. Allow them time to learn what you know.
Notice their positives. From a young age our faults have been pointed out. Teachers, coaches, parents and siblings have shone a light on them. It didn’t feel good then and when you shine a light on someone’s faults it doesn’t feel good to them. Shine a light on their positive attributes.
Be kind to yourself. Stop judging yourself. Highlight your positive attributes. Change your focus on yourself and others.
Looking for and finding things and people to judge connects with your own pain and fear, but now you have read 7 Realtionship Derailers and 5 Habits to Avoid Them, Give Ego What it Wants, Avoid Emotional Triggers and Choose, Fear or Love you have learned that past pain and fear causes you to stumble, get stuck, or blocks your ability to develop authentic relationships and genuine connection. Rendering judgement on others is not a path to the relationships you want. Trying to make yourself feel more confident by judging others is your mind playing tricks on you, because it is really an expression and confirmation of pain. Judging others is just another burden, time waster and relationship sabotaging behavior. Whether it is you judging or the other person doing it.