3 Big Reasons to be Less Judgemental
Judging Comes Naturally
Judging comes naturally to humans. Being judgmental is in our instincts. We make snap judgments about people in order to keep ourselves safe.
But our instincts don’t care if we live happy and fulfilled lives. They only care that we survive and reproduce. Our instincts operate from a ‘better safe than sorry’ standpoint. This means our instinctive judgments are very often overly negative.
Being Judgmental Hurts Us
From the first moment we encounter somebody we jump to conclusions about them. We even judge people from afar before we’ve interacted with them in any way. We should take these initial judgments with a huge pinch of salt. Because they are often wrong.
We need to make a concerted effort to peer beyond these first impressions. And sometimes we need to disregard them altogether.
When we believe our initial snap judgments about people we nip potential friendships in the bud. We miss opportunities for real connection. We lead smaller and more lonely lives than we otherwise could.
Explore Your World
Explore your world and the people in it. Don’t get trapped by your irrationally defensive first impressions. Explore and experiment. Test your initial judgments by communicating with the objects of your judgment. Talk to people in order to disprove your judgmental mind.
Judging prevents us from exploring the world with an open mind.
Judge Not, Lest You Be Judged!
You are not perfect, nobody is. Every one of us is flawed in numerous ways. We all behave badly sometimes.
If you judge people based on scant evidence, then you cannot expect others not to do the same. If you judge irrationally, expect to be judged irrationally.
If somebody saw you at your worst and judged you, they would form an inaccurately negative picture of you. You don’t want people to judge you based on one small misdemeanor you committed. So you should not do this to others.
Judge people as you would like to be judged by them: with an open mind and an understanding that we are all complex, nuanced creatures.
Labeling, Overgeneralizing, All or Nothing Thinking, Jumping to Conclusions. These are the cognitive distortions involved when we make snap judgments about other people. We think in a binary fashion. We use hunch instead of solid evidence. We project. With all of these cognitive distortions bubbling away in our minds it is no wonder we tend to be wrong about people.
You Are Certainly Wrong!
If you think about it logically, your initial judgments are certainly wrong. It is a fact that human beings are spectacularly complex and nuanced. It is a fact that a snap judgment takes into account only the tiniest sliver of information about a person. And this sliver is colored by our prejudices and preconceived ideas about the world.
It is impossible that your initial snap judgment about a person could ever be fully accurate. So do yourself a favor and refuse to believe your certainly inaccurate snap judgments. These judgments are limiting you and preventing you from learning and growing.
The Value of ‘Sitting on the Fence’
Learn to sit on the fence. You don’t always need to have an opinion. There is power, strength, and wisdom in reserving judgment. Get comfortable sitting on the fence.
Become the PR Person For Other People
Practice giving people the benefit of the doubt. Instead of imagining the worst in people, try to imagine the best in them. Put a positive spin on everything they do.
Coming up with positive and kind reasons for why a person acts in a certain way does not come naturally to us. It takes practice. But a positive judgment you spin is just as likely to be correct as a negative judgment. So consciously choose to presume the positive. This leaves you more open to opportunities for connection, and it makes you happier.
Being Judgmental Doesn’t Make You Happy
Judgmental people tend to be uptight, tense, stressed and unhappy. They see the world as a threatening place. They see danger lurking in every corner and malevolence in the heart of every stranger.
Your instincts are only interested in keeping you alive. So they make you see others as more threatening than they actually are. “Better safe than sorry!” is your instincts’ mantra. But this judgmental, paranoid mindset does not lead to fulfillment or happiness.
So choose to go against your base instincts. Choose not to be a slave to your tendency to make harsh judgments.
The World is a Safe Place!
The world is a safer place than our instincts would have us believe. Keep an open mind, explore, connect. Be less judgmental.