How your judging harms yourself and others
If you are lucky you learn things in life, and one of the most fortunate things that I have learned is not to judge myself or others. I am not perfect at it, but here are the ways I have learned to stop harming myself and others with unnecessary judgement.
When people talk about judgment the almost reflexive thing they say is “I have to judge others to keep myself safe and exist in the world.” This is not true. What we consider is “safe” for us is totally an arbitrary and self-serving view of the world. Take for instance people who are racist. They feel unsafe because people who are not like them are around them. Ok, take for example people whose ethnic group is more incarcerated in prison like black people. Many people feel unsafe around them. However just because there is a stereotype doesn’t mean that a black person is more likely to harm you, everyone is an individual.
I hear the objection well I choose not to associate with black people, therefore I am safer. What a load of faulty reasoning that is. On both a personal and society level and studies show this, the more inequality there is, the more everyone suffers-both poor and rich. I have documented this on this blog even. We don’t achieve safety by locking ourselves into little gated communities where someone gives us the appearance of security. We don’t achieve it when we buy guys and practice on the target range. There is no exterior way to achieve safety in the world. At any time anyone would launch a missile at us and blow us up. We have to give people a reason to not want to hurt us, not just make it harder to try to hurt us.
Going back to judging is that the core thing about judging is that we judge others the same as we judge ourselves. We don’t always consciously realize it, but as you grow as a person you can start to see this. The woman who complains about another woman’s outfit is obviously insecure of her own. The man who arrogantly makes people feel bad about their intelligence, is frustrated with his own intelligence. People hurt others in the way they would most hate to be hurt. It is very telling. Just notice how people hurt others and that is probably how they have been hurt themselves.
So the people who judge the most and the most harshly have been people who have been judged in the past. We can’t see everyone’s private pain or injury. So we have to accept those people who judge others with kindness and not add to their judgement by not judging them.
How can we not judge people? We can remember a few things. Ask yourself.
- How much of this person do I really know? am I judging them because of the situation they are in, or the kind of person they are? If you are judging them by the kind of person you perceive they are, it is an unhelpful judgement.
- Would I do the same thing in their place? Is there any kind of situation where their choice of behavior might make sense? Often the answer is yes, and you would do exactly that they are doing because it is the best choice.
- Do people have the right to experience life and the consequences? We like to think people make mistakes, but perhaps they are just trying out options. I think the biggest mistake in life is trying to avoid mistakes. Mistakes happen and you deal with them and move on.
- Repeat after me in the words of Ziggy “I don’t condemn, I don’t convert.” What purpose is there in condemning and converting when you have changed your own mind? Since when is the world better for conforming to your opinion of it?
So much ego in judging and it hurts not only the person you are judging but mostly yourself. Try to let go of judging others and you will be happier than you can even conceive.
- Silence is golden
- Listening is critical
- Don’t be the dumbest person in the room
- Stories from My Past: You must be black
- Women are happier as they age