How we relate to other people is to a large extent dependent on how we view them. An insidious pitfall is judging others based on what we believe in, think, and do. We have a subconscious expectation that other people share similar beliefs and behavior.
We learn to be judgmental from a very young age. We are surrounded by people who are telling us what’s wrong with everyone else. We hear it from our parents, relatives, friends, strangers, newspapers, TV, and movies. It’s not surprising we then develop the same bad habit.
When another person deviates from what we expect, there is a tendency to for us to be judgmental. This can include ridicule, condemnation, criticism, or alienation. It’s a mistake to use yourself as a basis to judge others. This does not apply to malicious behavior but rather to the unique makeup of each individual.
Each of us has our own perceptions. Even identical twins can have markedly different personalities. We all have different experiences, different expectations, different preferences, different likes and dislikes, different dreams, different goals, and different desires. The chances of any two people being exactly alike are essentially zero.
So how can you expect another person to be like you and then be in any way critical of them when they are not? There will be people you disagree with. There will be those you don’t like. There will be individuals you don’t want to spend time with. However, you have no more basis to condemn them than they have to condemn you.
We also have a tendency to judge others based on outer appearances. We make judgments based on where someone lives, how they live, the amount of money they spend or don’t spend, the kind of car they drive, who their friends are, how they dress, what they eat, their physical appearance, or even what they enjoy doing. The list of judgment criteria we use is limitless.
You never know what problems another person is dealing with. They can have the most envy evoking outer trappings yet be living a life of misery. Conversely, a person who appears to be living a Spartan existence may be happier than you could ever imagine. You never know what’s important to someone or what makes them happy.
When you are judgmental of others, you generate negative energy within yourself and close off your ability to be compassionate and understanding. This causes a frustration within you that inhibits your positive energy and accumulates negative energy.
When this happens, your own happiness is diminished. You can’t experience true joy when you are finding fault with others. Your ability for compassion is reduced. You then have little understanding of what others might be experiencing.
Every aspect of your life will be enhanced when you open your heart to accept people for who they are. Don’t waste any time or energy being judgmental or critical. You have no control over how others live their lives. You won’t change them. It’s a major task just focusing on living your own life.
When you stop being judgmental, you will feel more compassion and have more understanding. You will then be able to release built up negative emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment, jealousy, envy, and bitterness.
There is deep wisdom in the concept of live and let live. Changing your outlook requires readjusting your attitude. You can start immediately to develop a non-judgmental attitude. Maintain a constant awareness of your thoughts. As soon as you catch yourself being judgmental, let it go. Making these changes will be a source of enlightenment for you.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. 2012 Bryan Golden