“Even god doesn't propose to judge a man till his last days, why should you and I?”
You judge, I judge… we all judge.
Judgement is a fundamental (genetic) trait of our species. It's a survival mechanism that allows us to quickly form opinions about the outside world as a means of keeping us safe from things unfamiliar.
You see it in many walks of life. People will avoid, shun, criticize and condemn anything different, unique, original. Birds of a feather flock together, so it’s said.
We hang with people that dress like us, think like us, and talk like us. We are guarded when we encounter others that don’t have qualities that are familiar to us. When we feel like we don’t have all the information, we become defensive and guarded. This is just human nature.
Sure, but you and I can be better!
While judgement may have protected us when we lived in the wild, today it causes more problems than it solves. It’s the reason we have bad first impressions and general animosity in our dealings with other people. We would all be better served if we can become “open” to people and things that are different.
Sure, you want to be careful with people, situations, and things you are not familiar with, but—and here is where most people go wrong—you should be willing to change your opinion as time goes on. Most people can’t, or won’t, do this. They end up clinging to their initial beliefs about someone or something even in light of evidence to the contrary (a common cognitive bias that happens to us all to some degree).
It’s wildly difficult to get a human being to change his or her mind about anything.
Some of us are better at reaching the “comfort stage” with the new people or situation. Others are more guarded and have a longer timeline for reaching comfort. Once again, this can apply to people, things, animals, events, whatever.
So what’s my point?
First of all, the problem with snap judgements, and being hesitant to the unknown, is it promotes Resistance. We will give people the cold shoulder. We say “No” when saying “Yes” might be a great opportunity for us. Basically, it makes us risk-averse, and so we crawl into our comfortable little bubble.
We let these notions dictate how we think, feel, and act. For many of us, this holds us back in all kinds of ways; developing relationships, reaching out to someone, approaching, taking financial or professional risks, and so on.
Obviously, this is a big problem.
Try to catch yourself doing this. Recognize when you are judging based on your preconceived ideas. If you can make it your default mindset to seek information before judgment, you will be better served in just about everything.
For most people, judgement and preconceived notions—like confirmation and ungroup bias—are so innate that they don't realize it, or to what extent it influences them.
Catch yourself the next time you pass judgement:
- "He's weird."
- "He's a creep."
- "He is so full of himself."
- "I can't believe he said that, what a total loser."
- "He will never be anything"
- "She is such a slut."
- "What a bitch."
- "She's so full of herself."
- "So vain, all she cares about is money and fashion."
Not only is this behavior negative (which is the worst thing you can be in life), but it's also presumptuous and ignorant. This habit will stifle your life in more ways than one.
Also, the more you judge, the more you will be judged. It’s like a disease; it spreads into other aspects of your life.
When you pass judgment, you are nearly always doing so with only a part of the total information. Do I have to tell you that this is not an ideal way to live life? Do I have to tell you that many things in life have perfectly reasonable explanations for them?
When you formulate a “conclusion” based on a situation or observation, and you use that to pass judgement, you are showing that you don’t understand how the world works. To judge is to be naive and ignorant (and possibly, stupid).
We all hate to be judged. It is a truly free man that can walk through life without worrying what others think (I envy this man).
What your tombstone will say?
Do you want your obituary written by those that knew you or those that judged you?
Do you want it to also say that you “missed opportunities because you were too judgmental and closed-minded”?
When you have no information, use your better judgement. Your better judgment is the part of you that forms opinions after doing your research.
As you gain new information in life, you should always be changing how you see, feel and think about the world. Be wiling to constantly tweak your ideas of the people and things around you.
You will be amazed by what you start seeing.