HOW TO STOP BEING A JUDGMENTAL PERSON
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a judgmental person, you’ve definitely thrown shade at some point in your life. You’ve probably judged someone you know — like, say, your BFF who continued dating someone you thought wasn’t right for her, or your coworker who wore an outfit you didn’t think was work-appropriate. That kind of judgment can really hurt other people, and it can also be exhausting for the person doing it. Why spend your time criticizing and picking apart other people’s choices when you could be focusing on your own growth instead?
If you’re ready to leave behind your judgmental ways, try the following..
- Ask yourself why you felt the need to judge.
The urge to judge is most often rooted in some deeply held insecurity of our own. We’re not really judging another person’s choice, we’re trying to make ourselves feel better about our own choices by putting other people down.
The best ways to become less judgmental is to “redirect our thoughts toward curiosity” about ourselves to try to uncover the reason we felt the need to judge in the first place. Ask yourself, “‘What is about me?” or, “Why did that push my button?”
“The redirection towards curiosity and self-reflection helps you better understand why you felt the need to feel better in the first place,”
- Notice what triggers your judgmental thoughts.
A lot of times, casting judgment is a reflex, not a conscious action or a thing we necessarily want to do. Identifying when you’re at your most judgmental can help you to actively slow your critical thoughts in those moments. Becoming aware of your judgment triggers can help you to cool those feelings when they start to arise.
- Stop and consider the reason for someone’s behavior.
In most cases, you probably don’t know the reason why a person is doing something that you think is weird or off in some way. But think about it: You’ve probably done some things other people might find weird too, but there was a reason for your actions, right? Extend the courtesy of that assumption to others, and think through the possible reasons they’re doing what they’re doing.
- Write down your judgmental thoughts, then reframe them.
Next time you have a judgmental thought, write it down. Then, rewrite it as a positive affirmation.
“For instance, if you judge your friend’s sense of fashion as being in poor taste on a regular basis, the judgmental thought might be, Wow, Kemi has another ugly shirt today. What is she thinking?” “Your positive/empathetic rewrite might be, Kemi seems to feel comfortable with herself no matter what she’s wearing. I’ll have to ask her what her secret is.”
This might feel off at first, but by reframing our negative thoughts as positive ones, we can actually become better allies to our friends and also feel better about ourselves.
5. Offer yourself some compassion when you feel guilty for judging others.
What’s worse than judging someone? Judging yourself for casting judgment. That’s just a whole mess of bad feelings that you don’t need to experience. Instead, try extending some compassion to yourself when to start to feel critical of others.
“Remind yourself that all of us judge, that you’re not a terrible person,” “Remind yourself that judgement is often a protective mechanism (e.g., we judge others first so they can’t judge us; we judge when we’re feeling vulnerable or scared). Offer care to the part of yourself that may be feeling the need to protect, that may be hurting in some way.”
6. Push yourself to interact more with new people, places, and ideas.
Our instinct to judge often results from a lack of experience with certain types of people, behaviors, or actions, and is informed by our own internal biases and the ideas and truths we grew up believing. The more you go out of your old shell with your customs and tradition, the more you will get used to ‘different stuff, and you will become less suspicious about anything you’d initially disapprove of.”
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