This post originally appeared here in The Pink.

If You Wanna Judge, Take A Good Look In The Mirror

I would love to sit here and tell you all day about what a nice and loving person I am. That hardly do I find myself judging anyone unfairly based on the way they look, what they are wearing, or even how they sound like.

But I’d be lying like hell.

Because I judge. And I mean judge.

While it’s easier to say to someone, “don’t judge others,” it’s far harder to direct this piece of advice to self.

Okay, truth upfront. All of us do this to some extent, I’m sure. But if you’re always taking on a negative view of the world around you, it’s well worth considering why you need to break this unhealthy cycle.

While most would understand and easily accept that judging others is wrong and that it is damaging to our relationships, few will accept that a judgmental spirit has detrimental effects on our health. It can negatively affect our thoughts and emotions, leading to anxiety, anger, and anguish, which is a cause of high blood pressure and heart problems.

Judgments reveal our insecurities and our weaknesses. It defines who we are. Judgments transpire super quick and automatic. You arrived at a conclusion on the spur of the moment, based on incomplete information. You shut yourself out because you don’t see the need to understand the entire picture.

On the flip side, however, if you remain open, you’ll notice that there are things about the situation you don’t fully comprehend. Being open-minded means having the willingness to search for evidence against one’s favored beliefs. Without weighing out such evidence when it is available can seem unfair and even demoralizing.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider what’s going on in your mind when you become unfairly judgmental, and how it relates to the way you feel about yourself.

Can you identify these traits?

The minute you think you have the right to belittle others because you think you’re better than them is the same minute you’ve proven you’re worse.

— Joanne Crisner Alcayaga


Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

1. You are dealing with a harsh inner critic

When you get the urge to judge someone, that urge often comes from something you see in other people that subconsciously reminds you of things you don’t like about yourself. You think of others rigidly, either good or bad. You may perceive those who are different from you as threatening.

This means you are likely holding yourself to a high standard, assuming others do not value you as who you are. You tend to judge the motive of others by how you define yourself through your flaws. The negative attributes are likely to carry more weight than positive ones.

2. You view your world through the lens of perfectionism

When you require everything around you to be ideal and acceptable, you operate through unhelpful behaviors that are controlled by fear. You judge others as inadequate, incompetent, or not good enough. People can seldom please you. You make quick judgments without considering contextual factors affecting the individual.

Because of this, you tend to see yourself as inadequate, incompetent, or not good enough. You work hard to eliminate the fear which can become a compulsion. Some fear-driven behaviors include excessive effort, reassurance, and constantly checking if others are happy with you or your performance.

Be so busy improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

— Chetan Bhagat


Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

3. You are feeling insecure

This may be one of the most obvious reasons why you judge. When you are insecure and unhappy with yourself or your effort, you bring others down to make yourself look higher. Although it does not necessarily build you up, most of the time, you do it anyway. Once you realize you can make others feel as low as you do, you feel better about yourself. It’s a coping mechanism.

When you point out the flaws in others, you take the attention off of your own. Assuming dominance gives you a sense of control so you don’t have to acknowledge that your actions and your behavior are the results of your underlying insecurity.

4. You are trying to hide your loneliness

It seems these days, talking about others is accepted as a social skill that brings people together. Therefore, judging others may have an indirect bonding element. Everyone loves a piece of juicy gossip and by putting others down, you find your place and establishes an inclusion, one that creates a sense of belonging.

Judging others gives you a false sense of moral superiority that bonds, protects, and makes you feel good, creating an intimacy that is grounded in negativity. Most people will gladly join into this type of connection, often at the expense of someone else.

However, it is a weak or shallow bond that is unhealthy and unlikely to be maintained.

Making negative judgments on others to make you feel better never work in the long term. Often it elevates the guilt you feel afterward. It can cause you to judge yourself even more harshly and setting self-expectations that are too high.

Original Photo by Gabriel Matula on Unsplash

Here's what you can do

When we have an underlying assumption that we are always right, or that our way of viewing the world is the only one worth entertaining, we can end up being excessively judgmental where we interact with people primarily through sight.

Challenge yourself to look for the positive in others and perhaps ask yourself what you can learn from them. It is difficult to be both critical and appreciative at the same time.

It goes without saying that the more you judge others, the more you will judge yourself. Why not focus on improving yourself instead? Don’t be distracted about why or how other people are behaving. Focus on what you want and go after it. If you are busy working on yourself, you will not have the time to criticize and judge others.

The happier you are with yourself, the lesser negative things you have to project onto others. The more you’re able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, the less likely you are to view situations critically.

We need not think of our negative habits as something fixed in our personality that we can’t change. By being mindful, we can accept our freedom to choose positive alternative actions that will head us in the direction we value in life.

Remember how it feels the last time someone else judged you. It doesn’t feel good, so resolve to put an end to it right now.

More Great Stuff Coming Your Way

Sign up to get notified