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How to Stop Judging Other People

By: Brian Kim - March 15, 2010

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Let’s face it.

We all do it.

We judge. We like to label others. Put them in boxes. We don’t like “undefined” people.

We extrapolate based on our interactions and observations.

Judging makes us feel safe, comfortable because we’ve “defined” a person and because we have that definition, we know how to act accordingly. We move on to the next person and do the same until our entire social circle is defined. It helps give us a sense of control, of safety and you could probably trace it back to primal days when we needed to make quick snap judgments of another person in terms of whether or not they posed a threat.

But despite our best efforts to judge, we all know deep down inside we can’t really judge another person.

The most obvious reason?

Who are we to judge?

Seriously.

If you think about it, nobody can really say they themselves can rightfully judge another.

But aside from that obvious reason, another foolish reason to judge is this:

We don’t know the whole story.

It’s foolish to assume we know everything there is to know about a person without knowing the back story. One observation, one interaction, one action, or even several of those shouldn’t become the basis for our judgments of others but we often peg our judgments on just that.

Those are some of the more obvious reasons we shouldn’t judge.

Yet we still do, and the subtle reason in terms of why we judge is that what we’re “confirming” ourselves in a sense when we do it. It’s a built in mental defense mechanism.

If others are living the lives we are, they’re good people. The people that aren’t – they’re ignorant, bad, not doing the right thing, etc.

Realize this:

The act of judging another person REFLECTS VASTLY MORE ON THE PERSON JUDGING than the person being judged.

We tend to project our own values and beliefs on others and if others fall in line with what we value and believe, we judge them as “good” and the rest “bad”. Then we treat the two groups accordingly.

It’s a fail safe mechanism to convince ourselves that the way we are living is “right” and that others who don’t match are “wrong”.

Classic example.

The person who judges those who have a ton of money as dishonest, greedy, backstabbing, etc.

But really, what you’re seeing is what that person thinks a person must do to come into a lot of money. It reflects their belief system. You see the person judging A LOT MORE clearly than the person being judged. Flip the tables.

Those with a ton of money judging those who don’t as lazy, incompetent, unworthy, etc.

Again, it’s a reflection more on what they believe money stands for, where their values lie, etc.

And of course, the back stories.

Perhaps the person judging those with a ton of money has had unpleasant experiences with those kinds of people.

Perhaps the person well off was brought up in an environment where he saw people not working at all, just gaming the system, and living off the government.

There’s certainly a lot going on beneath the surface when it comes to judging. It’s not as cut and dry as we would like it to be.

So how do you free yourself from this natural urge to judge?

Like I said before, if you think about it, nobody has the ABSOLUTE right to judge.

Nobody.

And everybody as a story.

EVERYBODY.

It’s stupid to judge in the first place, but even should you decide to judge, it’s stupid to do so without knowing that story. Everyone has a story that shapes who they are and why they do the things you do.

But even if you still judge after knowing the story or still judge without knowing the story, realize that you are just speaking volumes about yourself when you judge.

Instead of judging, just accept.

Acceptance is the key.

We are not judge and jury. It’s arrogant for one individual to judge everybody. Just accept the fact that everyone has a story and everyone has free will to decide what they want to do, how they want to live their life, and that it’s all relative to their story, values and beliefs.

Accept that.

And if you want to go a step further to deepen the relationship, seek to understand by learning about their story.

It will give you great perspective on what that person is all about.

The thing is, the minute you start judging, you’re walking on very thin ice because it becomes so damn easy to judge yourself.

And as we all know, there’s way too much stress in that.

When you accept and understand others, it’s so much easier to accept and understand yourself.

When we stop judging others, we become less critical of others and in doing so, less critical of ourselves.

We become less influenced by the judgment of others because we realize that nobody has the right to judge another and even though people still judge us – they don’t know the whole story so their judgments lie on faulty foundations.

And even should they choose to stick to their judgments and act on them, we know that it’s speaking volumes more about them than ourselves.

A funny thing happens when you stop judging too.

Opportunities come knocking down your door.

When you accept others, SO MANY doors begin to open, whereas before, you would’ve closed them BECAUSE OF YOUR JUDGMENTS.

People are one of the greatest gateways to opportunities and when you ACCEPT another, which is something rare these days, you open a door instead of closing it by judging, and in the process, bank a lot of goodwill indirectly, which can translate into opportunity.

Another great thing that happens when you stop judging is the “social weight” of fearing how others will judge you should you decide to take a different direction in life than the masses, gets lifted right off your shoulder

It evaporates.

You feel FREE.

FREE from the social judgment of others, even though you know they still do it.

Before, when you judged, you could “extrapolate” what the mental chatter would be of those who judged you because you yourself were judging.

But when you stop judging, that mental chatter that fuels the fear of how others will judge you and act toward you accordingly – it changes.

Into what exactly?

First, you realize they don’t have the right to judge at all but you know in reality they still do it. But you realize it could be anything really. Before, when you were judging, you always assumed the worst case scenario.

But now you don’t know for sure.

Why?

You realize you don’t know the whole story of the people you think are judging you.

Why waste your time trying to figure out what’s going on in someone else’s head? For all you know, it could be the complete opposite of what you think. Or they may not even be thinking of you at all!

And because you don’t know their entire stories for sure which means you don’t know how they will judge, you feel FREE.

So you let it go. It doesn’t bother you at all.

And you keep on doing what you want to do, free from the heavy weight of the social judgment ball.

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