by: E.B. Johnson
To hold on to a judgmental nature is to set yourself up for failure in this life. In order to thrive we have to open up our minds and our hearts. Our judgements often come from a place of insecurity, and they often come from a place of misunderstanding. When we let these go, we allow ourselves to connect on deeper levels and we allow ourselves to tap into deeper aspects of our authentic self.
Are you bogged down by a life that’s swamped in negativity? Do you see and expect the worst around every corner? Let go of your judgmental nature and pre-conceived notions. Let go of all those ideas that are half-formed and half-cocked, so that you can ground yourself firmly in the reality that works for you. By opening up your mind, you’ll open up your heart, and in that you’ll discover an entirely new world of love, compassion, and understanding.
Being judge and jury will get you nowhere.
If you find that you’re a judgmental person, you’re not alone. As humans, we tend to compare ourselves to those around us, and in those comparisons we draw judgement. Judgement is toxic. It destroys our relationships and completely alienates us from any sense of presence or self. In order to build lives that are thrive-worthy and authentic, we have to open up our minds and our hearts. That requires that we let go of our need to judge everyone, though. Including ourselves.
Being judge and jury to everyone in your life will get you nowhere. Judgmental people are toxic. They project all their problems onto other people, and they attempt to control everyone else according to their own warped standards of right and wrong; normal and abnormal.
True happiness comes when we learn how to let our judgements go and we learn how to embrace compassion and understanding. By approaching the world around us with a bigger heart and an open mind, we can discover new realities and new aspects of self we never realize existed. Become a better person by dropping your need to judge everyone (including yourself) and open up to greater opportunity and a fully realized purpose.
Warning signs of a judgmental nature.
Believe it or not there are a number of warning signs that could indicate a judgmental nature that’s taking a toll. Though we all make some superficial judgements from time-to-time, the truly judgmental person is one whose relationships and opportunities suffer. Is your outlook getting in the way of your ability to connect and thrive? It’s time to let the judgments go.
One of the most common side-effects of an overly judgmental nature is the loss and corrosion of relationships. Perhaps your friendships are distant or stilted. Your friends and your loved ones don’t come to you with good news or seeking important advice. That’s because they’re afraid of what you’ll say or how you’ll react to them. Judgment isn’t a positive thing. It’s negative. When we throw negativity at someone, we will force them to pull away.
When we have a low sense of self-worth or low self-esteem, it leads to constant comparisons (and in that lies our tendency to be judgemental). Self-worth is everything. When we are riding high in personal confidence, we are less likely to compare ourselves to others or judge them for their mistakes. That is because we become more comfortable with who we are, and in this comfort realize that we don’t need to control the journey of others (nor should we).
Jumping to conclusions
Jumping to conclusions is one of the most common signs that your judgments are getting the best of you. If you don’t wait for all the information before making a call on someone’s character or behavior — then you are jumping to conclusions. This happens when you take what you have and jump immediately to some contrived answer based on whatever assessments you’ve already made. Sometimes, whether we like it or not, we have to just be patient and see how things play out.
Are you someone who expects everyone in your life to be perfect? Do you hold them up to such a standard that it’s impossible to be open, vulnerable, or human with you? Judgemental people are those who believe in some ideal of perfect. They might think that they fit this standard, and they expect everyone else around them to meet that standard too. This person struggles to see beyond anyone’s flaws or mistakes, and this destroys the quality of their relationships, as well as the longevity.
“This or That” mentality
No one likes an absolutist outlook more than a judgmental person. Judgey people love to categorize people morally. They struggle to accept ambiguity and always align themselves with black-and-white thinking. To them, it’s either this or that, good or bad. Somewhere along the line, these are the individuals who lost touch with the human experience and the knowledge that sometimes the choices we face are hard. Too hard for black-and-white to solve.
If you’ve fallen into the trap of “I’m just brutally honest” — now is the time to reassess. The judgemental person will do anything to prop up their preconceived notions, and this includes endless justifications which range across the gamut. Maybe you insist that the way you criticize people is just “brutal honesty”. All that really is, however, is a feeble attempt to alleviate the guilt that comes from the concrete knowledge that you aren’t acting in good faith.
Looking for the worst
The Forever Judge is one who is rarely able to see the best in people (especially those they don’t know). Instead, they tend to err on the side pessimism, expecting the worst out of everyone and finding it, more often than not. They have an inability to trust others or separate them from their actions and past decisions. This type of judge and juror is always looking for the worst in people, and they’re usually determined to find it.
Do you constantly criticize yourself? Do you compare your body or your personality and achievements to those of others? Are you constantly feeling as though you got the short end of the stick? This kind of self-criticizing is horrendously toxic and sets us up for a pattern of comparisons that undermine any connections we try to build. When we criticize ourselves we tell our inner self that we aren’t good enough. We then tend to turn this negativity outward, where we begin to judge and compare others too.
The best ways to drop your judgements and open your mind.
Are you ready to drop your judgemental nature once and for all? Open up your mind and cultivate a higher acceptance by increasing your self-esteem and seeking to pursue the path of empathy in all things. Repurpose your thoughts and focus on what you can control in this life: yourself, your emotions, and the actions you take toward yourself and others.
1. Cultivate higher acceptance
Would you consider yourself to be an accepting person? When family, or someone else you love, gets something wrong — what’s your response? Do you cut them out of your life entirely? Or do you try to see things from their point of view? Acceptance is a crucial part of building stable and loving relationships; whether those relationships are platonic or romantic. When we accept someone for who they are, we cultivate trust with one another and encourage one another to open up with honesty.
Cultivate a higher level of acceptance for both yourself and those around you. Start from within. You can’t learn how to accept others until you accept yourself. Look inward. Who are you? What do you really want from your life? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
Accept who you are from the inside out. Embrace every inch of who you are with absolute abandon and know that you are capable of becoming anything you want to be. Once you have accepted yourself, you can extend this acceptance to people and to situations in your life that might have otherwise provided you with conflict before. Knowing yourself enables you to realize that you are strong enough to withstand anything. You don’t need to fear a world you are brave enough to accept.
2. Increase your self-esteem
To be judgmental is to be in a negative or comparative state of mind. Our judgements come from a place of insecurity. We look at what others are doing and we compare it to what we’re doing, or what we believe they should be doing. It all stems from this warped idea that our ideas should be shared by others, or that their behavior should align with ours. This comes from insecurity, and it can be corrected by bolstering your own self-esteem.
Stop worrying about the behavior and beliefs of others. What do you believe? Who are you? You don’t need to be concerned about what others are doing with their chosen time on this planet. You are enough, and your life is enough to handle without taking on the weight of judging everyone else.
Believe in who you are. Cultivate a self-belief so strong that you don’t need to compare yourself to others, or analyze what they’re doing with their lives or relationships. The higher your self-esteem is, the more open and secure you will become in who you are. Think of it as an armor which is able to protect you from the harsh reality of the world around you. Be so strong in yourself and secure in what you’re doing for happiness that you have no need to judge others on their own journey.
3. Seek understanding first
Understanding is a powerful thing, but it too often gets lost as we struggle internally to deal with our own issues. It’s difficult to be approach others with understanding when we’re caught up in the pressures and responsibilities of everyday life. We get bogged down with stress and disconnect in a haze of negative emotions. We can’t approach others with compassion because we’re burned out and don’t even have any left for ourselves. Correcting this is key so that we can understand rather than judge.
Rather than rushing to make judgements on someone’s character, morals, or decisions, shift your thinking into a state of compassion. We can do this by consciously cultivating empathy. Everyone around us is a human being with all the same feelings and experiences that we have. When we understand that, empathy becomes second nature.
Realize that we are each living a complex life, filled with our own positive and negative experiences. Look for the same emotions you experience in other people. Know that their grief is the same as yours. Their happiness is as powerful as yours. Once we come to the table realizing that we’re all going through different levels of the same experience, we can be more open and understanding of one another and the places we are coming from.
4. Repurpose your thoughts
Whenever you drop into a judgmental state of mind, what quality do your thoughts take on? Do your fault-finding adventures into the lives of others usually occur when you’re happy? Or do you find that it’s a more negative state of mind? Chances are your most judgmental periods coincide with heightened moments of negativity. To correct this, we have to shift the way we think and repurpose our thoughts the right way.
It’s time for you to kick your negative outlook to the curb once and for all. Silence your inner critic and shut them away whenever they start to draw up the comparisons. When anger comes knocking, or sadness or insecurity, shift from negative to positive thoughts by stopping the negativity in its tracks and replacing the thought with something more positive.
Instead of thinking, “Wow, they’re a bad person who makes bad decisions,” try a more compassionate and positive spin. “They really seem to be having a tough time. They are doing the best they can with what they have available.” These thoughts might seem foreign or cheesy at first, but the more you consciously replace your negative and judgmental thoughts — the easier it will become. If you want your judgmental attitude to be a thing of the past, you have to change the way you think intentionally.
5. Sweep your own porch
In the American South, there’s a common saying that points to the need to for us to look after our own needs, rather than seeing to the concerns of others. “Sweep your own porch,” grandmothers tell their frazzled children. Quite simply, this means that we have to handle our own affairs and leave everyone else to their own business. After all, there’s only one porch you have control over…your own. Don’t worry about judging others until your own house is in order.
Worry about your own life and know that the only person you can control is you. Stop looking to criticize others. It’s nothing more than a distraction from doing your own hard work. Take your eyes off the sideline and get your head back into the game — your game. You don’t have time to waste worrying about the lives of people you can’t control.
Let go of that need to tell people what you believe to be right. We are all living in our own perception of reality. Empower the people around you to do what they need to do. Build them up. Don’t tear them down. Turn your reflection inward and figure out what action you need to take in order to find yourself happy and fulfilled in life (and in love) again. We are the only people we can call the shots for. So focus up and sweep your own porch. Leave the others to theirs.
Putting it all together…
Being judgmental is a toxic state of being which causes us to alienate ourselves and corrode even our most basic sense of decency. In order to build true and lasting happiness in this life, we have to learn how to be open and we have to learn how to stop comparing and criticizing ourselves and others. To do this, though, we have to put in the work and commit to mindfully shifting how we see ourselves and the world around us.
Intentionally cultivate a higher level of acceptance in every level of your existence. Start first by accepting who you are, then work hard to accept those you love for who they are as well. Fundamentally, we’re all just humans battling a challenging experience and an even more challenging array of emotions. See this common thread of humanity in everyone you meet and seek to understand them before you see to confront them. Increase your self-esteem and be strong enough and brave enough to know that your journey does not define anyone else’s. Repurpose your thoughts. Whenever the comparisons and the criticisms come into play, stop them at the door and replace them with positive thoughts instead. Then, commit to sweeping your own front porch and your own front porch alone. You don’t have the keys to anyone else’s house. Put your own in order and leave the judgements behind.