Recently I was listening to some commentary between friends regarding the relationship breakdown of a couple they both knew.
It mostly consisted of banter about when it happened, why it happened and mainly hypothesising about whose fault it was (it’s usually always the fault of the less-closer half of the couple to us, of course).
Not particularly the nicest conversation to be a part of but tends to be human nature when people get together and start gossiping about other peoples lives. Needless to say, my psychologist hat was on, as it seems to be off-duty sometimes, and I gently reminded them that they probs don’t have the whole story, so they shouldn’t be so quick to judge.
I gathered by the raised eyebrows, my comment wasn’t the most welcomed. Mainly because I just ruined the conversation, which led them to move onto a less juicy topic.
But most of us are a bit 'judgy', even when we don’t think we are. So I think it’s a fair call to pull some people up on it when we see fit. We all hate it being done to us, yet we’ve all done it at some point, myself included.
Open fodder for judgement can be anything from relationship breakups, parenting, people’s appearances or how much money people have. Woe betide
you if you fail, make an error or mistake on your life journey, but don’t be too successful either, as that will be judged too.
Basically, if it’s a person learning about information about another person, it’s at- risk of being judged.
No one walks away from judgement better off. It’s not nice being on the receiving end of it, and when you think about it, not the greatest feeling when you are doing it. Self-righteousness leaves a nasty taste in your mouth.
But there’s a human tendency to be judgemental. Our brains are wired to make automatic judgements about others behaviours. It would take up too much time and energy to try to understand everything that we see. No one has time to know everything about everybody’s situation, and quite frankly we probably couldn’t be bothered finding it out. So we take shortcuts in the information that we are presented with, and this often means automatic and very quick judgements.
And therein lies the error.
Judging can’t be done accurately when you don’t have all information. There is always a story behind the story, and you often don’t have it. So judging is a large waste of time.
For those who are a bit on the judgemental side, it’s also worth thinking about why you are doing it. Often the reason people are judgemental is because of themselves rather than the ‘judged’ person. Being ‘judgy’ doesn’t define the other person, but it defines you. Take the time to explore why you judge others, because it may lead to you doing a bit of work on yourself, which is a good thing.
So, if it’s not a nice thing to do to others, and it’s not helping us at all either, how can we be less judgemental?
Firstly, be mindful that if you are feeling a little judgy-judgy, then stop yourself and learn more about the person or situation you were about to unleash on. This allows you to explore more about the full story before saying anything inappropriate or hurtful.
Secondly, start looking at your own behaviour. Sometimes, we are judging someone for something that we do ourselves, or have done. Sometimes the person we are judging is reflecting back something about us that we haven’t quite come to terms with about ourselves.
Lastly, practice some self-compassion. And I’m meaning about yourself. If you feel good about yourself, that you are less likely to judge others. In many cases, we judge others in order to feel better about ourselves, because we are lacking self-acceptance.
If we could learn to love ourselves a little more first, then we would be a bit more compassionate about what is going on for other people, and less likely to judge them for their behaviour.
But I’m not going to judge you for that.