Article Judging others? Find out how to use your judgmental thoughts as a gift to greater self-awareness 0 2022 Life coaching https://www.lifecoachhub.com/img/uploads/articles/thumbs/756_1669129188.jpg Interpersonal skills coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

How to Not Be Judgmental: Seven Steps

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Stop being judgmental

You walk into a department store. From afar, you see a woman in red in her mid-50s wearing a skimpy dress in high heels. 

Then you thought, “Where does she get the nerve to wear something like that? She needs to dress appropriately for her age!”

We tend to be judgmental. The bitter truth is we, many times, are unaware of how discriminatory we can get since it has become our nature.

Why do we judge others?

Imposing judgments on others may be considered as a strategy to avoid uncomfortable feelings about yourself.

  • You judge a behavior in someone else that you would not allow in yourself. For example, you might feel that children should ask questions and explore, but you would judge someone harshly that thought children should be seen and not heard.
  • You might judge someone because they are doing something that you do, which you actually dislike about yourself.
  • You might complain to some of your coworkers that other women in your department gossip all the time.

Perhaps you are judging someone you are envious of and you resent the feeling inside yourself, which is why you judge them to make yourself feel better. 

Our tendency to judge could also stem from our need to lift ourselves above other people and to make ourselves feel better. Imagine that someone you dislike or are jealous of just did something wrong, then you have the opportunity to judge them in order to make yourself feel better.

This is because you personally didn't do anything wrong, which makes you somehow better off than that person.

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Learning how to stop judging others and be accepting

We can use our judgmental thoughts as a gift for greater self-awareness... To learn what we do and don't accept about ourselves.

Judgment keeps us looking at life from a "right and wrong" perspective, but without feeling the need or desire to understand what other people may be going through. Judging people really ends up being nothing more than a way to put more distance between us and others.

We are under the illusion that there are several valid reasons for avoiding closer contact and relationships. Judgment helps us to maintain our illusion that separation is good for us. 

We can use our judgmental thoughts as a gift for greater self-awareness. We can use each judgment to learn what we do and don't accept about ourselves.

While we might never understand what motivates others, we can use judgment to learn empathy and to try and put ourselves into another person's perspective. We can learn to be more accepting of ourselves and others.

How to Not Be Judgmental

When you explore your internal dialogue about judgments, you open a door to compassion and empathy. Just by acknowledging your feelings, you begin to shift your feelings and look within.

When you are being judgmental, try to determine where this is coming from. Take a moment of self-reflection.

Think to yourself:

  1. Am I jealous?
  2. Am I doing the same thing to others and dislike that?
  3. Do I not like this about myself?
  4. Would I like to be like the other person?
  5. Am I trying to change or control them?
  6. Am I embarrassed about myself?

Updated Nov 22, 2022

When you explore your internal dialogue about judgments, you open a door to compassion and empathy. Just by acknowledging your feelings, you begin to shift your feelings and look within.

So instead of thinking, 'Why is she always trying to get me out of the house?' You think, 'Aww, she really wants me to have fun with my friends.'

So ask yourself: Why is this situation causing this reaction inside me?

"Rather than unconsciously delighting in the ego gratification of judging others, you let your reactions and judgments help you achieve greater self-understanding—and accordingly, greater happiness and success." - Jarl Forsman

How to stop judging others: Seven Steps

  1. Respectfully, speak your true mind especially when it is in a disagreement. Remember it must be in first person such as, ‘I don’t like when...’ or ‘I see that you...’
  2. Seek clarity from the other person
  3. Calm down, grow up and get closer to representing exactly what you believe and how you feel
  4. Conflict and confrontation is necessary. Try to be assertive, but respectful. Conflict actually helps resolve differences. It is the only way different people can ever really get to know one another, start to really trust one another, and learn from each other. It may be uncomfortable at first and it may test your ability to stay calm and connected, but it is important to remain respectful.
  5. Practice empathy by trying to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Try to see things from their side.
  6. Quit the blame game.
  7. Let the other person talk and practice active listening.

Seeing the world through a positive lens: practicing mindfulness

I am also guilty of my judgmental behavior from back when I was at school. I remember I indulged in constant rants about our projects and exams, which seemed endless. I found relief in criticizing the overconfident students who dressed over the top, while I was only wearing my almost worn-out jeans and a plain top.  

Some of us judge because we think something’s inappropriate due to our upbringing and how we have been socialized. It’s hard to break away from our past. Or we don’t associate with the same identity of the person wearing those clothes–the jock, the socialite, the nerd.

But there are also times when we feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or just sad; and judging becomes our outlet to release our bottling emotions.

We can win over our negative feelings and refrain from judging if we try to see the world through a positive lens. The best way to reframe and shift our thoughts is by practicing mindfulness.     

Mindfulness is a state where you acknowledge your thoughts and emotions and gain awareness of who you are and what you do. It’s an extraordinary technique that helps you free yourself from the negative vibe you’ve absorbed from this world through a self-check.  

A mindfulness practice lets you gain a neutral mind. A free mind that is unbothered by external factors. So you get to experience the present and just be in the moment. Without any reason or judgment of anyone or anything. Mindfulness lets you experience a peaceful and enriching life.

Mindfulness practice to release judgmental thoughts

Got 10 minutes to spare? Let me share this quick mindfulness exercise to reframe your thoughts and stop being judgmental. 

Remember, you have total control of your thoughts and actions. Don’t let your preconceived notions or experiences ruin your mood and life choices. You’re much more than that!

Now, let’s get on with the exercise, shall we?

#1. First, go to a quiet place where there are no distractions. If you live a busy life, try to withdraw from your daily environment first. Picture yourself on a mountain or in a peaceful park. Then start reflecting on your past thoughts and actions. Look into yourself and assess how your judgmental attitude brought you here. 

How has being judgmental affected your life? What are the opportunities you missed since then? What kind of relationships or occasions have you withdrawn yourself from? Also, think about how you see yourself now and how others perceive you.     

#2.  Now, imagine using a pair of binoculars while adjusting its view. You observe that as you zoom out from all the experiences, events, and people, you realize one thing. All this time, you were relying on your distorted thoughts and actions.

#3. As you acknowledge and understand the larger world you live in, see how others live their lives as well. Everyone busily works in different places, and they are happy after a day’s work. They embrace the world of diversity we live in. These people do not dwell too much on what other people are doing or how they are behaving.    

#4. Allow your judgments to be slowly blown away by the wind. Free yourself from negative thoughts about yourself, other people, and the world. Be grateful for coming this far. Think about the things, people, and relationships you're thankful for. Feel the warmth, hope, and joy all these things give you.  

#5. While feeling these positive emotions, ask yourself, what do you want to achieve in your life? What will make you genuinely happy and content? Are you wanting a better career or longing for more love and acceptance

Get real with yourself and be honest about how you really feel. Otherwise, your judgmental thoughts may come rushing in again. Declare what you want. Then start aiming for that goal through a mindfulness technique again. But this time, set your thoughts and actions toward that goal.       

FAQ

  1. What makes a person so judgmental?

Here are some reasons why a person might act judgmental.

  • They believe that they are superior to the person they judge.
  • When they feel wronged or hurt - it’s a defense mechanism.
  • They lack love or appreciation, so the judging is like a shield or wall to protect themselves.
  1. How do I show no judgment?

Here are five simple techniques for you to be a nonjudgmental listener.

  1. Complete a reality check of your state of mind before listening to your friend’s struggles. Ensure your general disposition is okay for you to be calm and open to listen to whatever your friend pours out on you.   
  2. Practice empathy and compassion, as everyone has their own mountain to climb. When you think about where the other person is coming from, you’ll be more mature and diplomatic with your thoughts and actions.
  3. Use active listening by paying attention to what the other person says while observing their gestures. Since more than 90% of communication is delivered through nonverbal means, focus on the nonverbal. Avoid interrupting when someone is talking.
  4. Be mindful of your body language while listening. Show openness by not folding your arms, crossing your legs, or leaning backward. 
  5. Embrace others’ differences. Recognizing that people think, act, and communicate differently is vital to avoid being judgmental. 
  1. How do you know if you’re judgmental?

They say that when you call out a judgmental person, you’re also being judgmental yourself. So how do you know if you’ve already become one of them? Check these traits and see whether you’re judgmental or not.

5 Signs you’re way to being judgmental - escape it while you can!

  • You always dwell on the negative. For you, it’s not expecting the best and preparing for the worst. But you always see the ugly truths and rest on them.
  • You’re obsessed with getting everything right. Your unrealistic expectations make others feel low and unfairly treated. There’s just nothing that lives up to your standards.
  • You’re overly insecure. Sometimes criticizing others is a defense mechanism born out of our insecurities. We do it so we feel better about ourselves.
  • You can be too opinionated. It’s true that we must put a value on our own opinions. But it must not be at the expense of others. When you have strong opinions, you seldom listen to others’ inputs as you believe yours is always the best.
  • You find joy in showing your greatness or power. Such a twisted sense of ability comes from putting others down through harsh judgments.


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