"Everybody is judgmental, we all judge people when we see them." A statement I overheard on a train the other day. Having grown up in a house with two main rules 'No empty threats' and 'Everybody is innocent until proven guilty', in other words, do not judge a book by its cover, my immediate thought was “Now wait a minute” when I heard this comment. However as the gentleman then continued to say "When you see someone walking down the street who is dressed like a thug, you think of him as a thug", I realized how, even with my upbringing, I too tend to label in the first instance. I think some of our underlying beliefs encourage us on some deeper level to use judgment for whatever our individual reasons are for.
Thankfully I have acknowledged and resolved the beliefs I used to hold which made me judgmental in some instances. I have learned how to truly not 'judge a book by its cover'. I realized that I used to use judgment as a way of keeping people distant, not allowing for closeness for whatever reason. Judgment was the tool I used to feel safe! Thank Heavens those days are long gone. My life has been a simpler, nicer, clearer place and to live in without all those negative thoughts/beliefs. There is so much more room for thoughts that give me energy rather than drain me.
Not passing judgement however takes quite some awareness of our self, our thoughts and our behaviour patterns. Pay some attention over the course of a day what and where your thoughts take you. As our behaviour usually follows our thinking you will notice that with a negative and judgemental thought some negative, disempowering behaviour might follow. Give yourself 24 hours to observe yourself. With an increased awareness you will reach appoint when you can stop yourself being judgemental.
A judgemental person thinks and believes that who and how they are is the correct way and hence if somebody is different they are looking down at this person. What is right for you does not mean it is right for someone else, in fact it is arrogant to think others should make the same choices you do. Accepting someone for who they are makes you a better, stronger, more loving person with your own integrity in tact.
Begin to attempt to understand the person for who he or she is without wishing to change them.
"If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion, peace." Eckart Tolle
Being judgmental can come from insecurity, or the need to control. There is less room for generosity and openness in such an atmosphere. I take this to be risky behaviour as you can 'cut your nose to spite your face' by writing someone off before you know them better. It appears to me that judging someone can hurt both parties, as it limits where the interaction/conversation/relationship can go, it sets boundaries.
Non-judgmental people are often openhearted, freer with their emotions and have less need to control the environment through categorizing everything. They tend to be more at ease and comfortable within themselves and the world around them.
Next time you catch yourself judging someone stop and think what you might be feeling uncomfortable about, and what you might be losing by judging someone too quickly.
Some questions to ask yourself if you wish to start moving away from that behaviour pattern of being judgmental:
1. What triggered this judgmental behaviour in me? What just happened that made me react with judgement?
2. What exactly did the person say/do, not say/ not do?
3. What, if anything, am I assuming about this person...this situation?
4. Is my assumption stopping me from being understanding/openhearted?
5. Might there be another way to look at this?
6. What might some of these other points of view be?
7. What will happen if I do not manage to change my judgment of this person?
8. How would that affect me?
9. What is the best thing for me to do now? Think of your choices, make one and,
10. Go ahead and take that action.
'You cannot Change People, but You Can Change How you React to them'
“When you judge someone it doesn’t define who they are,it defines who you are”
A Practical Handbook