“Even god doesn’t propose to judge a man till his last days; why should you and me?”
You judge, I judge… we all judge.
Judgment is a fundamental (genetic) trait of our species. It’s a survival mechanism that lets us quickly form opinions about the outside world to protect us from strange things.
You see it in many walks of life. People avoid, shun, criticize, and condemn anything different, unique, or 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.
We become defensive and guarded when we feel like we don’t have all the information. This is just human nature.
Sure, but you and I can be better!
While judgment may have protected us when we lived in the wild, today, it causes more problems than it solves. It’s the reason we have wrong first impressions and general animosity in our dealings with other people. We would all be better served if we could become “open” to people and things that are different.
Sure, you want to be careful with people, situations, and things you are unfamiliar with, but—and here is where most people go wrong—you should be willing to change your opinion as time passes. 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 their mind about anything.
Some of us are better at reaching the “comfort stage” with new people or situations. Others are more guarded and have a longer timeline for getting comfort. Once again, this can apply to people, things, animals, events, whatever.
So what’s my point?
First, the problem with snap judgments 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 an excellent opportunity for us. It makes us risk-averse, 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 various ways; developing relationships, reaching out to someone, approaching, taking financial or professional risks, and so on.
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, judgment 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 judgment:
- “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 considered. 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 there are better ways to live than this one? Do I have to tell you that many things in life have perfectly reasonable explanations?
When you formulate a “conclusion” based on a situation or observation and use that to pass judgment, you show that you don’t understand how the world works. To judge is to be naive, ignorant (and possibly, stupid).
We all hate to be judged. It is a truly free man that can walk through life without worrying about what others think (I envy this man).
What will your tombstone say?
Do you want your obituary written by those who knew you or judged you?
Do you want it also to say that you “missed opportunities because you were too judgmental and closed-minded”?
When you have no information, use your better judgment. Your better judgment is the part of you that forms opinions after doing your research.
As you gain new information, you should constantly change how you see, feel, and think about the world. Be willing to tweak your ideas about people and things around you continually.
You will be amazed by what you start seeing.