“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” -Paulo Coelho
You and I, we judge others. Unfortunately, others judge us too. We all do it. Sometimes we judge with positive/non-harmful intentions.
Almost always our judgment often comes from a negative place, with darker intent.
Why Do We Judge?
Though we judge for many reasons, we often do it when:
• We don’t know them
• We don’t understand them
• We see the person as a threat
When we judge for the first reason, we are basically looking for the most simple way to cluster the thoughts that are presented to our minds. When we judge for the second and third reasons, we often are overwhelmed with negative emotions and thoughts toward others, which causes stinging and prejudiced failure because we don’t understand them, or (perhaps erroneously) see them as a threat.
Despite our best efforts, we all judge others. It might be over small things, like a co-worker who took too long of a lunch break. Or it might be over bigger issues, such as a person who behaves selfishly or hurts our feelings.
Imagine you are walking through the woods and you see a small dog. It looks cute and friendly. You approach and move to pet the dog. Suddenly it snarls and tries to bite you. The dog no longer seems cute and you feel fear and possibly anger. Then, as the wind blows, the leaves on the ground are carried away and you see the dog has one of its legs caught in a trap. Now, you feel compassion for the dog. You know it became aggressive because it is in pain and is suffering. -Tara Brach [psychologist/meditation teacher]
What Can We Do About It?
Celebrate you: when you’re happy with yourself, you’re less critical of others.
I’ve become aware that when I judge, it’s because I feel threatened. Now that I’ve identified that, I step back and ask myself whether my judgments are true.
- Example: jealousy is a prejudicial judgment: If you feel like someone is more attractive than you, they are not necessarily conceited.
In my opinion, judging others is inevitable. It’s how we are wired as humans. We just have to learn how to control our judgment so that it’s not socially harmful.
Our judgments mostly have to do with us, not the people we judge, and the same is true when others judge us.
In most cases, we judge others in order to feel better about ourselves, because we are lacking self-acceptance and self-love.
If we could learn to embrace ourselves as we truly are, would we still be so judgmental toward others? Most likely not. We would no longer need a reason to put someone else down just to raise ourselves up.
This is only one of the many reasons why self-love is so important and powerful. If we could all learn to love ourselves, we would make our world a much more compassionate and much less judgmental place.
The moral of the story is that as I traverse though life and encounter many people, I have learned that my actions and the actions of those around me, have created many different perceptions of the events that have been linked to me. I could choose to continue to participate in the negative activities/reinforce negative views and travel further down the rabbit hole/continue to let chaos dominate my life, however we need to stop and realize that there is more to life than getting caught up in the riff-raff and bad juju that are the motivating factors in some people’s lives. The actions that I carry forth effect not just myself, but my children. Regardless of what has happened in the past, and the consequences of those actions, I need to demonstrate that good can come from evil, and that anybody can overcome negativity and bad judgement. 👌