We have all judged.
Whether it was another person or yourself, you likely know what it feels like to surrender to a judgmental attitude.
If you’re like most people, the act of judging can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Though it can feel like a natural and unavoidable thing to do, judging can be contained. In fact, it will improve your life if you do learn to break the habit.
Here are 5 ways that will help you to judge yourself and others less.
1. Set Realistic Expectations
Life has a way of not going the way you want it to; right?
No matter how hard you try, your ducks fall right back out of the notoriously straight line. Here’s the thing. If you expect life to always go your way or to feel good 24/7, then you’re going to be a more judgmental person.
The reason behind this cause and effect pattern is that when things go awry, people tend to come down hard on themselves and others. In other words, to expect perfection often results in also being judgmental.
Rather than expecting life to go your way all the time, try to be more understanding of setbacks and patient with life’s delays. Know that very often there is really no one to blame.
2. Accept Yourself
It may seem counterproductive to focus on yourself when the goal is to judge others less. But judging others really stems from feelings about yourself.
Like most people, your biggest efforts and most of your intentions are aimed at self-improvement. In general, we humans strive to become the ideal version of ourselves. Mostly, we have learned to do this to prevent or avoid judgment from others.
When you practice self-acceptance, it allows you to be the truest version of yourself. And the decision to avoid judgment translates to judging others less as well.
3. Avoid Comparisons
The modern world promotes being “better” than the next person. From many angles, we are encouraged to size other people up so that we can “win” at being the best person possible.
But all this really does is set you up to judge others against impossible standards and to feel insecure about yourself.
Contrary to what many believe, judging others does not make you feel better. It prompts you to judge yourself more harshly, too.
To avoid this unpleasant cycle, do your best to bypass the negative catapult of comparisons.
4. Surrender the Control
Most people think about themselves most of the time. Even when someone passes a judgment onto you, that thought remains in their head for a mere few seconds before returning to thoughts of themselves again.
When you embrace how the human mind truly works, you will likely give up on trying to control what others think of you.
Plus, this positive shift will naturally help you to be less judgmental as well.
5. Understand the Human Struggle
More than anything, a judgmental attitude roots itself in lack of compassion. So aim to practice more compassion for both yourself and for others.
When you catch yourself judging, take a moment to pause and think about the situation. There’s a good chance that you don’t know every little detail about someone else’s situation or why they’re behaving a certain way. Everyone has a story.
Furthermore, you likely know your entire situation front to back, but consider the human struggle. It’s very complex and difficult sometimes; isn’t it?
Rather than scolding yourself or others for not measuring up, find a compassionate voice instead. This positive attitude will help you judge less, and tend to create more happiness and contentment in your life.
Take the first step…
If you are ready to explore ways you can be less judgmental, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT