WHEN WE JUDGE OTHERS
Despite our best intentions, we judge too much. We are quick to jump into conclusions about people and things. All this is done just by external observation. We sometimes stand in judgment of others with positive or non-harming intentions while more often than not, it comes tagged with a darker intent.
The dictionary definition of the word “judge” means to form or give an opinion or conclusion about something or someone after thinking carefully about all the information you know about them. I don't think we fall accurately into this description at all.
I believe we judge because our minds want to simplify things. It is so much easier to judge others based on our immediate observations. We narrate and share stories about others, usually with insufficient facts. Without self-awareness, jumping to conclusions becomes our default mode.
JUST LIKE ME
Regardless of the reason, focusing on the negative in someone only breeds negativity in us. What we say about others says a lot about ourselves. Our judgments reveal our soft-spots, our insecurities and our weaknesses. We harshly judge others because we do the same to ourselves.
We tend to notice things in other people because we have either been in similar situations, or we are insecure about certain qualities they have that we recognize in us. When we judge, we are implying certain conclusions about ourselves.
Harsh judgments are often tailored to affirm an individual's self-image. It is so ingrained in us that we don’t tend to notice.
The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti
I judge. No saint here! It's the one thing I do more often than I should. Maybe it isn’t even possible to stop judging others because of the way we’re wired as human beings. But we certainly do have control. There is almost always something positive you can divert your attention to. Since people are creatures of habit, we become accustomed to routines and change becomes difficult. Get started with mindfulness. Think about what you are thinking about.
Research shows that people tend to overestimate personality and underestimate situational factors when making attributions. This is especially true with people we do not know well.
When we make attributions for people we know and care about, this tendency flips. Ironically, the better we know the individual, the more flexible and less judgmental we are of their behavior. Most judgments about people are based on incomplete information.
PAUSE AND THINK
Our brains are wired to make automatic judgments about others’ behaviors so that we can move through the world without spending too much time or energy on understanding everything we see. We do not always have the time to get to know another’s situation, so making personality judgments tends to be quicker and more automatic.
Judging others is easy and convenient, and in some cases, it can even feel good to do so. Every time we judge, we express the lack of love we have for ourselves and for life. On the other hand, being curious requires maturity, emotional intelligence, and a healthy dose of self-control. It requires a certain degree of self-awareness in order for us to do it consistently.
Just like our perception of the physical world can be different depending on our standards and values, we need to accept that others measure themselves and the world differently than we do.
When you shift towards contemplation and monitor your emotions and thoughts, you allow more empathy to enter your system. This makes room for more compassion towards what someone else might be going through.
Those who judge will never understand, and those who understand will never judge.
– Wilson Kanadi