You see a new boy entering the classroom and start commenting about his dressing sense. While you are flattered by his personality, you don’t want to admit it and continue to draw in your own conclusions. Then my dear friend, you are being highly judgmental.
We’ve all been there. Frankly, anyone who says they haven’t been judgmental is probably lying. The thing is, being judgmental is not just an act, rather it is a part of our behavior. Let’s face it; we judge others because we need to feel better about ourselves. But most importantly, being judgmental gives us the satisfaction that we are better than others. It indeed makes us feel superior and secure.
In today’s world it is easy to be a bystander and judge the deeds and actions of others. We tend to view others from our perspective and often end up being prejudiced at the first sight. We certainly judge the actions of everyone around us and constantly view their actions through our own evaluative lenses. Though we don’t intend to find faults or humiliate anyone, yet out of necessity, unknowingly, we judge people and make first impressions of them in our minds. What comes next is the exchange of negative vibes which eventually results into hatred.
When we criticize, we have the ability to interfere with someone’s self esteem. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic that counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”
However, we cannot deny the fact that it is human nature to be judgmental. We see someone and based on their looks and actions, we pass judgment on them. Most importantly, it is usually without even knowing the person. We don’t even tend to make an effort to get to know the person or understand them or at least check if our judgment was right or wrong.
When we lash out at others it is a defense mechanism. Our behavior is a product of feelings and issues we are trying to cope with and these have nothing to do with other people. We all are different and have our own opinions and not everyone is going to agree on everything. This fact is beautifully summed up in the lines of Rumi, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop”. We shall thus start to see the best in others as it’ll help bring out the best in us.
We can help ourselves by scrutinizing our behavior and keeping a check on our thought process. We should notice our ways and stop ourselves from judging others. Then we can proceed forward by understanding the dynamics of the situation. Putting ourselves in other’s shoes and accepting the circumstances will let us see the clear picture and do away with the unwanted sarcasms.
Also, we need to know that when we always have a reason behind our every action, so it is with everyone else. It is just that we need to find out their back story before being so judgmental. Not everyone has had the same experiences, challenges and blessings that we had. We make our choices because of our unique upbringing and life circumstances. Thus we shall be a little more understanding and empathetic. Then we can go and make an effort to talk to them and know the reason behind their actions.
We can even step forward to watch out our language. If we genuinely want to help someone or give them an advice, we must watch out on our words. We can avoid using words that are negative and critical. Instead of being judgmental and telling them what they “should” do, we can rather give them a suggestion and let them decide what’s right for them.
In addition to this, we all know that judging is a part of gossiping. Moreover, it is more tempting to judge others when we are with a gaggle of friends. We can avoid this by discussing a better topic or else simply moving out of the conversation if it becomes a bit judge-y.
As Earl Nightingale pointed out, “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself”. Hence we should not be so quick to judge others, we never know when we might just find ourselves walking in that person’s shoes.