In everyday life, in meeting new people, and in interacting with colleagues, customers, and leaders at work, people make instant decisions about these interactions. These decisions or these judgments on the individuals we encounter can be either positive or negative.
People that make negative decisions about others are judgmental. The root of being judgmental is often based on a feeling of superiority or a set of moral values or norms that these people believe they possess. It gives them the right, in their mind, to pass judgment on what others are doing, and to put the behavior, motives, and actions of others in a negative light.
Am I Judgmental?
Most people who are judgmental do not see themselves in this light. Recognizing the signs of being judgmental is the first step in acknowledging the thought process and making a change.
Common signs of standing in judgment of others include:
- Assuming the worst about the motives of others
- Making excuses and rationalizing your behavior while negatively thinking about or commenting on the same behavior in others
- Seeing yourself as better than others because of your morality
- Labeling others negatively based on one experience, rumors, or assumptions
- Difficult in feeling empathy
- Engaging in gossip and character assassination of others
Most people who are judgment tend to default to this way of assessing people in all areas of their life. This includes both personal and professional interactions.
Making the Change
It is possible to change from being judgmental to being accepting and empathic towards others. This does not mean you approve of everything others do, but it does mean you are open to providing compassion and empathy to those around you.
To move towards a more accepting and compassionate approach, consider the following strategies:
- Stop and ask yourself why – if you find yourself passing judgment on someone, stop and ask yourself why you think this way. Become curious as to your motivation and try to find out what was going on that triggered that negativity. Many times the underlying issue is our insecurity or fear around that trigger.
- Consider alternatives – if you find yourself making negative assumptions about another person’s behavior, try to think of at least three other reasons why the person may be doing this. Taking your thoughts to the creative side rather than the judgment side helps to allow us to see options and possibilities.
- Practice gratitude – find at least one person every day and express your gratitude for something they have done.
Switching the focus to looking for the positives helps us to connect, feel compassion, and stop judging others.