Judging another human being, situation or ourselves is something we all do. I'm not immune. I judge myself for watching The Bachelor then I judge all the women on the show... Are those boobs real? She looks like a hooker. Did that chick actually say her career is being a cocktail waitress?!
The fact of the matter is that I judge these ladies because they're all smokin' hot and I have some good old fashioned envy going on. I'd like to look like they do in a bikini and have a flat stomach so I make fun of their boob jobs and lack of intelligence.
When we judge it is a reflection of our own lack of happiness. We tear others down in order to feel better about ourselves. We point out flaws in others to make our own look better. Those who judge very harshly are usually self righteous and lack life experience. They also need to be right.
Being "right" is so important for some of us. Judgment keeps us from learning new things because instead of listening to someone we're just listening to see where we're right. It's our way or the highway and every human being should live how we do.
The truth of the matter is that every single soul on this planet has a spirit and is on their own path. For us to decide what is right for another human being is beyond arrogant. We're not God.
Don Miguel Ruiz from his book, The Four Agreements says it best:
"We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make. And this is why we have a fear of being ourselves around others. Because we think everyone else will judge us, victimize us, abuse us, and blame us as we do ourselves."
At its root, judgment is fear. We have a fear of being judged ourselves and a fear of the past and future. Often times when we judge, we're reacting to something that happened to us in the past or fearing what will happen in the future. We often judge those who have "pasts." How many of us have judged an ex-con or someone who has or had a drug or alcohol problem?
Everyone makes mistakes and everyone can transform, provided they work on themselves. People's pasts say nothing about who they are today. We're only shutting ourselves off from beautiful souls by not forgiving or judging people for their past.
Having a judgmental mindset separates us from our fellow man. It's putting ourselves on an isolating pedestal that our ego has built for us. On that pedestal we create a large separation from other human beings as well as a lack of acceptance of them.
And have you ever noticed that what you judge happens to you? This has happened to me countless times. I judged the homeless, how could they let themselves get that way? Then I found myself homeless. I judged women going through divorces until I found myself going through one. The biggest judgment I had was against the religion of my upbringing. I judged my Orthodox Jewish relatives and their beliefs only to find myself, in my second marriage, marrying an Orthodox Jewish man and becoming Orthodox.
There is a lot of judgment surrounding religion. Who are we to say there is no God or who are we to say that our God is better than other religions? Tolerance as well as open mindedness is the antidote to this kind of anti religious or religious judgment.
So how do we get out of judging? Good question. Here are seven ways to squash the judgmental mindset:
1. We empathize with the people we're judging. See where they're coming from and what they've been through.
2. Don't take things so personally. It sucks when someone disagrees with you but it's not personal.
3. Look for the positive in everyone and everything.
4. Put the mirror on yourself. Ask yourself if you've done what the person you're judging has done. The answer will almost always be, yes.
5. Catch yourself when you start to judge. Stop before you speak or send an email. Hit the pause button.
6. Have mercy. Stop and think about whether you would want someone judging you that harshly and how much that would hurt.
7. Realize your own self worth. It's hard to put other people down and judge them when you're feeling good about yourself.