Have you ever wondered why we are often so quick to judge others? Why we take no time to put a label on people based on how they dress or behave?
Everyone has been at the receiving end of judgment at some point in life. You must have been too. How did that make you feel? Not so great, right?
It’s possible that you dislike judgmental people. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be one of them. It may so happen that you’re so opinionated for no particular reason. But it’s also possible that this aspect of your personality has developed over time due to various underlying reasons.
Why Do We Judge Other People?
There’s no singular cause why one judges other people. Everyone has his or her own reasons. Let’s explore why we jump to conclusions about how others simply are the way they are!
Everyone develops a coping mechanism against the various types of situations they face in life. If you’ve been subject to childhood trauma, chances are that you’ve adopted judgment as your defense mechanism.
When we’ve experienced trauma, such as abuse, abandonment, and neglect from a very young age, we’re afraid to form deep bonds with other people, fearing that they’ll hurt us too. And we often protect ourselves against this perceived threat with judgment.
By judging others, what we’re actually doing is creating a wall around ourselves. If we don’t give the benefit of doubt to someone, we’re avoiding getting so close to them that they could end up hurting us.
To Hide One’s Own Insecurities and Fears
Judgment often stems from insecurities about oneself. What we don’t like about ourselves, we don’t like to see in others. If you’re someone who’s constantly blaming or criticizing others, there’s a good chance you do the same with yourself.
The more you judge your own self, the more it causes you to judge others, and vice-versa. When you start being compassionate towards yourself is when you start seeing the world in a different light and start being more accepting of others’ behavior.
If you can relate to this, it’s also likely that you fear being judged by other people- another indication of your insecurities that manifest themselves in the form of fear.
If you’re judging someone constantly, you may be envious of them. They have something you desire and because you can’t have it, you bring them down in your mind to make yourself feel better.
Envy often expresses itself in various forms, and one of them is judgment. Sometimes, when you’re jealous of someone, you don’t know how to react towards them, and you end up judging everything they do.
The judgment doesn’t really tell us a lot about the person being judged, but about the person who’s actually passing that judgment. If it’s envy that’s gotten the better of you, try and analyze why you’re jealous and try to resolve it, rather than trying to make someone else feel bad about themselves.
Having preconceived notions can drive you towards belittling others. If you believe certain things must be done in the way you think is right, anyone who tries to deviate from your way runs the risk of your judgment.
If you have a strong belief system and are not open to the point of view of others, you end up judging how others behave, simply because their ideologies differ from yours. It does not necessarily mean that the person you’re looking down upon is wrong, it just means that they’re different from you. And that, is no reason to judge!
Growing Up Around Judgmental People
You’ll be surprised at what kids pick up from their parents and others around them. If you’ve grown up with people who’ve always been judgmental of others, it’s not difficult to imagine that you would have picked up this habit of theirs and become extremely critical of others.
Being judgmental is sometimes a learned habit, having picked it up in our formative years when our young minds are impressionable. It’s important to unlearn this behavior and widen our perspective to see the world through someone else’s lens and understand why they behave the way they do.
How To Know If You Are A Judgemental Person
It’s possible for you to be judgmental without even realizing that you are! But there are certain ways to tell whether or not you form staunch opinions about others.
- You’re always finding faults in others
- You’re quick to jump to conclusions without evaluating all the facts
- You often think that people are being dishonest with you
- You’re a know-it-all
- You believe what you think to be the truth
- You think people who have different worldviews from yours are wrong
- You’re pessimistic
- You’re always trying to correct others’ behavior
- You dislike people easily
- You don’t believe in ‘forgive and forget’
- You think people should behave according to “your standards”
How To Stop Being So Judgemental
Congratulations! You’ve embarked upon the journey of self-improvement. The fact that you’re looking to stop this behavior means you’ve acknowledged there’s a flaw that needs to be rectified.
Put Yourself In The Other Person’s Shoes
You might often end up doing things other people don’t understand. They may find you weird, based on your behavior, but you have your own reasons. For example, you may come across as being rude to a stranger when you’re simply irritated because of a family problem.
Just as you would want others to give you the benefit of the doubt and understand why you’re behaving in a certain way, rather than forming judgments about you, others would want you to do the same. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think about why they would have something that you didn’t like.
Put Your Judgments Down On Paper
Writing is one of the best techniques to overcome being judgmental. Once you have written down your thoughts about someone, you’re able to see how ridiculous they actually are.
If you’re being critical of someone’s dressing sense, writing it down might make you realize that not everyone has the same taste as yours and everyone has a right to dress the way they feel like. It is not for you to decide how someone must and mustn’t dress.
If someone has genuinely made a mistake, and you really want to point it out, focus on the mistake rather than the character of the person committing that mistake. Everyone falters. To err is human. But that should not define someone’s personality.
Don’t judge based on one mistake or action. The person you are judging may be a genuinely nice person, who just happened to make an error. You make mistakes too and wouldn’t want others to perceive you on the basis of a particular action.
When you’re comfortable with yourself is when you’ll be truly comfortable with others. Acceptance of oneself is key to accepting other people and their actions. Be compassionate and loving towards yourself. And then extend that behaviour towards others.
A lot of our insecurities are projected as judgment of others. When we learn to love and accept everything about ourselves, the good and the bad, we stop having an opinion about other people displaying similar behaviour.
It’s not the worst thing in the world to be judgmental. But it’s not pleasant either. You wouldn’t want to be judged by other people because of the person you are. “Do unto others as you want others to do unto you.”
It’s not too late to start taking control of your thinking and stop being so judgmental all the time. Trust me, it’s extremely liberating. You’ll feel more at peace with yourself once you start giving people the benefit of the doubt and stop judging everything about them.