Judging others and ourselves are two bad habits worth letting go of. Personal growth cannot happen without understanding the harm you create in others and in yourself, with you having the most to lose.
“One of the best changes I’ve made to help me be happier is learning to see judging other people as a red flag. (…) The judging itself isn’t bad. It’s what the judging is a symptom of that’s harmful. I say “harmful” instead of “bad” because instead of judging I’d rather observe that it causes harm.”
— Leo Babauta
Judging often stems from prejudices that are more a reflection of your environment and the people you associate with rather than of your natural character. For that reason, I truly believe anyone can let go of judgement at any point if they are willing.
Most of us judge others because they stand out from our norms, the commonalities and values shared by our family, our friends, our community and our country’s mainstream society. As adults, we tend to surround ourselves with people who share our choices and values.
Judging others is an expression of our natural tendency to compare ourselves to others and it reassures us that we have made the right choices. It might also be a way to justify our behaviour towards others which is when it can become more problematic. By criticizing others one puts oneself above the other. Most of the time, it will only take the form of a harsh remark but it can escalate towards intolerance, verbal abuse and, for some, physical violence.
Judging is a way to affirm that only one’s code of conduct, way of thinking, habits and traditions are valid. People who don’t fit in one’s made-up rules are deemed less worthy and flawed to the core. When people judge, they suffer just as much from all their negative feelings as the person being judged.
“If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.”
— Marcus Aurelius
Sometimes, judgements are a way to mask our own insecurities and fears. While we are judging others, we are not judging ourselves which can be a…