Unfortunately, we all do it. We judge others. Their actions, choices, behaviours, relationships, likes and dislikes and even their personalities. We’ve all been conditioned to judge and be critical of things around us (some of us more than others) and while this can be useful to look at ways to improve things by seeing what we do not like, it more often leads us to hurtful comments, disconnected relationships and various negative feelings. No one really likes to be judged and so eliminating this from your own actions will improve your life and relationships!
Don’t Judge Others
This is obviously easier said than done. It is possible to stop though with some practice, attention and a desire to eliminate it. The first step in not judging others is to simply stop voicing it. This is usually the hurtful part and if you can learn to keep judging comments to yourself, you can quickly eliminate any hurt you are causing to others directly. These might be anything from obvious verbal attacks, sarcasm, snide jokes about someone, gossip or subtle judgements like saying “I know”, or using the “but” word after agreeing with something. Stop saying and doing these things and you will no longer be judging others on the surface at least! The old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything!” is a perfect thing to apply here.
Taking this to the next step, however, is important because having a judging mindset still leaves that negativity built up inside you. What’s needed is to learn to see the good side or opportunity side of any situation that you would have normally judged by instinct.
Make Yourself Helpful Instead
I don’t think anyone will ever completely eliminate judging others in their minds but it is possible to change how your response, by making it helpful, instead of a problem for someone or yourself. Ask yourself questions about the situation so you can learn something from it or help that person out. David Zinger had a great article on Slacker Manager getting questions from his readers about the most powerful questions you can ask . My comment was to ask, “How can I respond in a way that’s useful to others?”. Use this for any judgement situation and you can easily turn around a negative thought or comment into something useful. Offering some help or assistance to someone in an area they are not excelling at, will be far more useful than telling them how poorly they are doing or by telling them how wrong they are. Look for ways to change the situation for the better. Wouldn’t you prefer an offer of help over an insult in an area you have not mastered?
As you look at people and situations with a helpful attitude, you will shift from judging them directly as a person to seeing (perhaps still judging) their actions . You won’t attack them as a person or their character and you can more comfortably look at ways to help them. Some advise or feedback about what they can improve on instead of accusing them of being or feeling a certainly way is definitely more useful and it will allow them be more open and receptive to whatever help you have to offer. The opportunities for this come daily with nearly every interaction you have with people, so make an effort and look for actions instead of wrongly assuming its a personality and look for ways to offer help instead of criticism.