I believe that everyone inevitably judges other people. It is easy to do so. After all, there will always be someone who does something different from you or has drastically different beliefs. People tend to judge as a way to feel secure about their own decisions. When we see someone doing something in a different way our defenses immediately go up. The unconscious thought process becomes, “If that person is right, then I must be wrong”. As defenses go up our judgmental side appears. Usually there is a meanness that accompanies being judgmental. That’s another sign that it’s coming from a place of defensiveness.
Being honest about our own judgements can help us better understand ourselves. If you can recognize and accept that being judgmental comes from a place of defensiveness you can use that unlikeable part of yourself to grow. Over the course of the pandemic, I’ve had a lot of patients talk to me about the ways they are judgmental. They openly express they can be mean, sometimes with their thoughts and other times more outwardly with their words. They don’t like this side of themselves and are looking to better understand why it exists and how to make changes. Once people talk honestly about their judgments, we can dissect what it is they are judging and look further into the reasons of why they are being judgmental. This can bring us to a deeper understanding of their own experiences and how those experiences relate to ways they view others.
Here’s the other part about passing judgment, we look at everything through the lens of our own experiences. It’s easy for us to assume everyone has had similar experiences when in fact nobody else has lived your life. When we see someone else doing something we can’t comprehend the default response is to judge them for what they’re doing. Judging them is easier than trying to understand where they might be coming from. It’s hard to accept that what they are doing might be right for them even if it would be wrong for you. That is because different experiences lead people to need different things which makes them act in different ways. Everyone thinks they are doing what is right. It might be best let go of trying to understand the other person. After all, you can disagree with someone’s decisions without placing judgment on them. If we keep these things in mind, we can have more compassion for others.