If you are here, reading this article about how to stop judging other people and their lives, you have already taken the first step towards stopping being judgmental. You have recognized a downside and are looking for ways to become better.
I used to be a pretty judgemental person. Things other people did that didn’t make sense to me made me judge them. Now, I try to come from a point of empathy, and even if their behavior does not make sense to me, I try not to judge.
You are likely to be more judgmental when you are a negative person. When you have been wired to think that anything that you are not familiar with or that is different from what you know is bad, you become judgmental. This is one of the things you need to unlearn.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung
Before we look at ways you can stop judging the lives of others, let us look at possible reasons why you judge others. Here are some;
- You have a limited worldview
- You judge yourself harshly as well
- You are not comfortable with who you are
- You judge others so they look bad and you feel better
- You have formed preconceptions about others
- You are unhappy
- You don’t try to understand others but you are quick to judge
- Judging others lets us feel superior
- It lets us recognize who we don’t want to be
How to stop being judgemental of others
Have an open mind
You need to open up your mind and learn that people will always be different from you and sometimes do things differently from the way you do them. This way, you can start accepting that sometimes you don’t have to understand why people do things the way they do, but you can respect it.
Widen your perspective and accept that it is okay for people to be different from you. Instead of judging others for being different, try instead to be curious and inquisitive and to understand why they behave the way they do. You may come to learn so much about them and judge less.
Have patience and compassion
Try to understand people and why they do what they do. When you are compassionate, you will extend those thoughts to others. You will learn to develop some empathy and try to understand why they behave the way they do. You don’t always have to understand, but you can decide to cut them some slack.
Often we lack compassion for others when we lack compassion for ourselves as well. If you judge yourself quite harshly, it often shows that you judge others as harshly as well. When you learn to cut yourself some slack, you give others the benefit of the doubt as well.
Start with yourself
You only judge others when you have issues with yourself. You judge others when you judge yourself harshly. Start by learning about yourself and accepting yourself. Self-awareness leads to self-acceptance. You can achieve self-awareness by taking a self-awareness course and getting a deeper insight into yourself.
When you accept who you are, all the good and the bad, you understand that we all have our flaws and you will not be so quick to judge others. You end up being more respectful about others and not being so quick to judge.
Think about it, you are more likely to be judgmental when you are not in a good place. When you are sad or in a bad mood, you are more likely to judge others than when you are happy and content focusing on your life.
Get off the perfection wagon
When you are often judging people, it is because you are in this perfection wagon and you are constantly condescending to people in your mind. For you to judge others and their decisions and actions, you must be coming from a place where you think you are perfect. Well, time to get off the perfection wagon.
You are not perfect and so stop expecting others to be perfect. Seeking perfection often leads to anxiety and unhappiness. When you stop seeking perfection, you stop expecting others to be perfect as well and this will make you less judgmental.
Decide what your definition of success is
How do you define success? Judging others based on how successful or not successful they are is one of the common bases of judgment. If you judge others based on their grades, how much money they make, how popular they are, you forget that this may not their basis of success and you are judging them from your own spectrum.
Your view of the world could be so narrow that you measure the world on such a basis while there is so much more to life. For example, it is so easy to judge someone that gave up a good career to take care of their family, since to you this makes sense at all.
What if it makes total sense to them? What if they measure their success based on the kind of family they brought up? Change your focus and stop viewing the world on your lens alone. There are so many other lenses the world can be viewed through.
Remember you are not in their shoes
When we are judging others, we often say, “If I were them, I would not have done this”. You forget you are viewing the situation as you. Remember they are a separate individual, with different upbringing, different environment, and different situation.
Even if you were in your shoes, you are still you, and the moment you try to understand them, you will never truly be them. Therefore, you cannot understand why they do what they do unless you are them and you will never be them.
For example, I used to be judgmental of people that stay in bad relationships or marriages. It is so easy for me to walk away from unfavorable situations and I just could not understand why they cannot do the same. I later came to understand that there are so many complexities in such situations.
Such are their upbringing, childhood traumas, their esteem, fear of loss and so many others and unless I was them, I cannot understand why they do so. Instead, I learn how to be compassionate in such situations.
Learn to catch yourself
Every time you are just about to judge someone or to say something judgmental about this person, learn how to catch yourself. Take a moment and hold you’re though. As yourself, why did I just think this about this person? Why did I just say this thing about this person? What drove me to it? What were the feelings behind thought and words?
Remember to catch yourself when you are about to do it, and if you have already judged someone, try to understand the reason behind it. You will realize that you judge because you either have formed a preconception about this person, you don’t like this person (ask why) or you are unhappy, and judging them makes you feel better. This will help you understand your reasons for judging and work on improving yourself.
“Love is the absence of judgment.” — Dalai Lama