Judging is such a tabooed word, every religious and ethical system advises us not to harshly judge one another. And yet almost all of us – no matter how much we think we shouldn’t, end up judging others albeit to varying extents.
Why do we judge ?
To a certain extent Judging comes naturally to most, since we are so conditioned to do it and most times without even thinking.
Some key reasons behind judging others harshly are:
1. Our own Unhappiness
A self-made struggling entrepreneur is extremely judgmental of the CEO of an inherited business – dismissing his success and capabilities by saying that he has had everything served on a golden plate.
It is actually his own bitterness of not having a privileged family background that is working behind his harsh judgment.
2. Our insecurities or Jealousy
The reigning top model is intimated by a new comer who is climbing the success ladder fast. She is highly judgmental of anything the new comer does or wears.
3. Failure to recognize and accept our own flaws
When we recognize and accept our own flaws we are more accepting of those of others. And when we are not accepting of our own flaws we tend to highlight others flaws so as to mellow down the focus on ours.
4. Social acceptance
Unfortunately it is very common to see small talk and judgmental gossips as a great way to networking especially in the popular circles. Many a times judgmental comments are made for a laugh and being accepted in social circles – a tool that presumably kills loneliness.
How do we judge?
We tend to naturally judge others against our own value systems and the parameters we measure ourselves on.
For example if for me success is measured by how much money I possess then I will measure others with the same yardstick. On the contrary if I measure my personal success based on my relationships I will judge harshly someone who is not good with relationships, without factoring in the fundamental truth that people have different success parameters for themselves and we have no right to measure them on our parameters.
So are we saying we stop judging completely? Can we or rather should we?
No, we cannot eliminate judging completely and we should not, judging at a certain level is actually needed. There are many values that are worth judgment.
Like for example – judging and voicing out against someone who is spreading violence.
The idea is actually to be mindful about judging and not let it run in auto pilot mode.
Here are a few steps to follow to limit especially the negative judging only to your key values:
1. Understanding/recognizing the measures that we use to judge others and ourselves, evaluating them to see if they are truly our own inner beliefs or society imbibed parameters. The idea is to align your measures to your personal core values, else it may result in a major chaos within you.
Unfortunately most times we do not choose these measures consciously, but rather come to develop them due to the criticisms, shaming we have been subjected to at early ages. Many of us even as grown-ups are merely trying to defend or rectify our early images. That dumb guy in school now chooses to work for the greatest names to show off his smartness – to prove that image wrong, the economically challenged boy is now travelling all over the world to register a win.
The idea is to understand yourself and your shames that drive you, acknowledge and accept them, love yourself and then look deeper for what is truly important to you as a person whatare the values you consider absolutely essential and then keep them as your measures.
2. Understanding and accepting that just like you others too have their own measures which they judge themselves against and are not liable to go by yours.
3. Understanding that you will have people whom you can resonate with, gel along despite the differences but there will also be people on the other hand who even though they are right as per their measures but may not be right for you and vice versa. It is important to choose your inner circle with this understanding.
4. And finally follow one rule
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” – Marcus Aurelius
If we are able to mindfully control our judging habits, we will save a lot of pain to others and ourselves.