Judgment of situations, people, and even ourselves might be considered part of human nature. It’s a survival mechanism of sorts, something that we sometimes practice in order to avoid harm. But many times these judgments build and become a habit, and ultimately lead to a good deal of negativity, which certainly isn’t leading anyone down a healthy pathway.
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself. – Wayne Dyer
I never thought of myself as a particularly judgmental person until I started to take a serious look inward at how much I was judging myself. Which, for the record, is quite a lot. During the days that I spent really paying attention to any negative self-talk, I also noticed my judgments of others popping up. While not all judgment is necessarily a bad thing, it seems that in most cases it is laced with negativity, and nothing about that feels good. If the goal is to maintain a healthy and positive outlook on myself and others, these judgments are set against that.
Counteracting judgment can be very hard work, but I happen to think it’s worth it. You know where this is leading…a top five list!
Top Five Tools to Stop Judgment
- Be aware. Noticing the judgments is half the battle. Start by taking a few days with a serious intention to just pay attention to the thoughts that come into your head, particularly noticing the occasions where you are being overly critical. You might ask yourself at those times where you think this is coming from, and if it is necessary or helpful in any way.
- Focus on the positive. It’s likely that when you are faced with a negative judgment creeping in, you can find something positive about the person instead. Your mind may immediately want to head in the negative direction out of habit, but give it a push towards something more uplifting about the person. Retrain your brain. It also might be helpful to remind yourself how you feel when you are being judged. It’s not so pleasant, isn’t it?
- Focus on yourself. When you find your thoughts moving towards a judgment of someone else, focus on your own life. It’s easy to be critical of others when you might be trying to avoid your own challenges. Turn your thoughts towards what you want and need in life, set your focus on the good things.
- Avoid overly judgmental people. It’s natural to start picking up the behaviors of those that we spend so much time with., and being around others who tend to be harshly critical can present quite a challenge. If you can’t avoid them completely, then it might be helpful to counteract this by surrounding yourself with other positive and uplifting people wherever you can. Who knows, maybe you will be the one to rub off on the harshly critical person.
- Positive talk. Practice finding at least 5 positive things about yourself and 5 positive things about others each day. You don’t have to vocalize these, but you certainly can if the situation calls for it. By doing so, you will cultivate compassion and create a positive energy that will benefit you and those around you.