You are guilty of judging others. You probably don’t realize you are doing it. Everyone is. No, seriously, EVERYONE.
Think about it — you go to work and try to greet each of your coworkers with a hello and a big smile. Most of the time you’ll receive some level of greeting back but when you don’t, what happens?
The majority of the time you probably jump to conclusions: “Seriously? That dude is a jerk. He thinks he’s so much better than everyone else.” or “She is such a snob. What is her deal??? I’m glad I don’t have to work across from her.” Right? Maybe not. Maybe you’re the problem. Yep, that’s right.
Let’s dig a little deeper into this.
Today more and more people are overestimating personality and underestimating the situation.
Jumping to conclusions can kick your a**. Hopefully, not literally. Before making assumptions, take time to consider the possible situation you’re going off half-cocked about — maybe the person who didn’t acknowledge you were distracted because, well… you’re not the center of their universe and they’ve got other stuff going on. Or maybe, just maybe, they simply didn’t hear you. Next time this happens, stop, take a breath and mindfully assess the situation. Believe it or not, more often it is situational and not the individual’s personality that is causing a lack of response (and your knee-jerk assumption that they think you suck).
Do you know people who try to make themselves feel better by putting someone else down?
They may not realize why they are doing it — it’s a common thing almost everyone does each day. How often have you thought, “Well, at least MY presentation didn’t put everyone in the room to sleep,” or “That is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.” These judgments hurt you more than anyone else in the long-run.
An article in Psychology Today discusses why people do this. Author Don Miguel Ruiz explains: “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. So even before others have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves. That is the way the human mind works.”
The way we judge others is often the way the world will judge us. Don’t let your fears or insecurities get in the way of truly getting to know someone. If you find yourself slipping up and thinking something unkind, don’t get down on yourself, either. Then you’re truly being judged — by your own self. Take it one step at a time — with a little effort you WILL get there.
Take The Challenge: Make Today a JUDGEMENT-FREE Day
Be mindful. Although judgment is a natural inclination, try to catch yourself before you say something, or send that coarse email and do any potential harm to a relationship. You can’t get your words back so instead — PAUSE, breathe in a fresh breath and exhale any judgments.
Then check and see if you can understand where the person may be coming from and rephrase your negative internal thought into a positive one, or at least a neutral one. After all, you really don’t know the reasons for someone’s behavior.
For instance, you might think, “Wow, he is super obnoxious. He is tapping that pen to annoy the crap out of me.” When you catch yourself doing that, acknowledge that thought, then change it to be non-judgmental (remember situational reasons). Instead try, “Wow, there must be something going on in his mind right now that is driving that nervous energy.” See the difference?
Try it for one day, then for two days — pretty soon you will find yourself being less judgmental and more compassionate. Couldn’t this world use more compassion?
Remember: Judging someone does not define who they are — it defines who you are.
Good Luck on your first judgment-free day! You WILL notice a difference!
Previously published on Medium.
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