Being Less Judgemental

Being Less Judgemental

Despite our best efforts, we all judge others. A co-worker may take too long a lunch break, or a client may be rude and dismissive. How can we become less judgmental and be less affected by such behaviour?

The normal reaction is to feel threatened and unable to see the reasons for another’s behaviour, but try to catch yourself before you speak, or send that nasty email – you can’t get your words back. See if you can understand where the person may be coming from and try to rephrase your critical internal thought into a positive one, or at least a neutral one. After all, we really don’t know the reasons for someone’s behaviour.

When people do things that are annoying, they may have a hidden disability. For example, if someone is invading your personal space, they may have Asperger’s, a condition which is defined by poor social skills. Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

When someone disagrees with us or somehow makes our life difficult, remember that it’s typically not about us. It may be about their pain, their struggle. Will Smith said, “Never underestimate the pain of a person, because in all honesty, everyone is struggling. Some people are better at hiding it than others.”

Sometimes we may be judging someone for something that we ourselves have done. For example, the next time you find yourself yelling at someone while you’re driving, ask yourself, “Have I ever driven poorly?” And if we feel content about our appearance, we don’t judge other people on their choices of dress or style.

Finally, look for basic goodness. This takes practice, as our minds naturally scan for the negative, but if we try, we can almost always find something good about another person. Remember that judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are.

Do you always mentally pause before making a judgement?

Source: Adapted from an article by Barbara Markway, Psychology Today

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