I’m going to share my theory about being judgemental, but first, I need to setup a little premise. I hope you stay with me, I’ll try to keep it interesting and short. Here goes.
When we were children, do you remember how a kid would come upto you and say something blunt to your face, and you’d go back home crying? Sometimes, even when they were right, you couldn’t handle that kind of honesty.
And then parents would intervene and try to help the kids understand that that wasn’t ‘very nice’.
What wasn’t very nice – being honest? Hmm… So you can see where it all begins.
But why does have to be this way?
We are very sensitive when it comes to criticism about ourselves.
This sensitivity is nothing but ego, which seems to inflate as we grow older; it’s as if the bigger you are, so does the ego living inside you, as if an entire person on its own.
So when adults see other adults getting heated over an honest remark, they automatically learn that this isn’t going to work in the ‘real world’, and that’s what they all start teaching their kids.
Basically, we’ve all been taught to mind our own business.
It isn’t their fault, they’re just trying to teach what they’ve understood.
But the challenge is, by the time you’ve become a ripened adult ready to be offered to the world, you’re already vulnerable to falling into habits and behaviours that can damage you and your relationships. These can sometimes have a toxic impact on others.
To add to it – you aren’t even spending as much time with the family that ‘nags’ you to improve yourself.
Having set the premise about becoming judgemental, what next? I’ll tell you.
Let’s step back. At a bird’s eye view of humans hustling and bustling in their lives, it is a fact that most of these people are living life on their terms. And to be honest, since nobody is perfect, most of them are making a lot of mistakes.
But the disheartening part is, we’re making the mistakes even without realising most of them.
It could be as common as not being taught how to dine at the table, and thus being made fun-of by your colleagues at work.
Or a cultural naivety, such as making someone uncomfortable because you don’t know when to hug versus going for a handshake, or just a smile as an exchange of greetings.
Things are missing in all of us. If not these, something else. And when we know something that the other person doesn’t, our immediate reaction is judgement.
“S/He should know that by now, s/he’s a full-grown wo/man!”
Why do we assume that everyone has been raised with the same cultural/social awareness as we have?
Well, you’re free to think about that question but I’m not going to bore you with expanding on a rhetorical nuance. Instead, I have something different to say.
As a responsible human being, we only have two options.
The first. Teach them what you know. Why, you ask? Because it is unfair to expect that a handful of people, such as our parents or teachers can teach us everything we need to know to sustain ourselves through our ever-evolving lives.
So, YOU take the responsibility of this person to help them become better. You guide them, as a mentor, a best friend, a pseudo-sibling or lover, that THIS is the right way to do something.
In other words, you’re the modern version of a Guru. Or parents. Because neither gurus nor parents have the desire to judge and gossip about their children, for the simple fact that they take ownership of the child’s growth.
Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to ‘adopt’ this person for life. It can even be as small and valuable as a single-sentence advice. You don’t need to invest in the relationship, you just need to invest in the person.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, let’s talk about the second option.
That is, that we understand that they haven’t been taught something because no one has taken their responsibility yet, and we don’t intend to do that either. So we stop evaluating their ‘lacking’ and see what we can learn from them instead.
Eradicate judgemental behaviors, by either teaching someone what you know, or seeing them as capable of teaching you something instead. Simple!
Also, my friend Clayton did a multi-series indepth psychological analysis about being judgemental, give it a read here.
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