How to Not Judge Other People

Judgement is something that plagues social relations, and the human psyche. Many of us make judgements about other people, often for no real reason other than to make ourselves feel better. What we do not often realize is that judgement is actually reflective of our own psyche, and our own insecurities, either directly or indirectly. We can however, learn how to not judge other people, and how to deal with our own bitterness and insecurity.

First, I must make it clear that I do not believe judgement is an entirely negative, and useless function. We sometimes say that someone is a “good judge of character,” meaning that they are fairly intuitive when it comes to working out when someone shifty is on the scene. We can also judge people according to our moral standards, and as long as this is not taken to a dogmatic extreme, it can be useful for disassociating ourselves from thieves and violent people.

Whilst this is all well and good, and may have been a useful survival and social tool, judgement taken too far is an ugly and damaging trait. A common form of judgement, which is completely useless, is when we judge other people for the clothes they wear, their hairstyle, the way they walk, talk, their height, and their looks alone. We can judge people for their job, their social status, house, shoes, gender, age, car, sexuality, diet, for being too stupid, or too intelligent, for having too many hobbies or not enough, for being misbehaved or being a goody-goody, for being tough or being soft. There are a million ways we can judge people on a superficial level and as we are beginning to see, the judgmental mind, in overdrive, forms an ugly view of the world, and of the people in it.

Ultimately the person who is most damaged by judgement is the person doing the judging. It may hurt the feelings of someone else when they are judged, but if they can be confident and comfortable in themselves then none of it will matter to them; their self assurance will deflect the worthless judgement. The person doing the judging on the other hand, cannot deflect their own judgement; they have set themselves an unobtainable image that they themselves cannot amount to. Their judgement of looks, and dress, and the way people think and act, has left them in a tangle of their own web. The judgement has come back to haunt them directly, and now everything they do is self-judged, adding more layers onto the pre-existing insecurity.

This is the root of most judgmental behavior; insecurity, which becomes masked in judgement, leading to more insecurity. In order to not judge other people, we must understand that we are judging ourselves, and that we are being insecure. Instead try to understand the concepts of the “shadow” and “projections,” both psychological theories that see judgement as a direct reflection of the self, with a lesson to be learned.

For example, we very often judge people who think or act like us, but we are often not aware of our similarities. Instead the part of ourselves we are not coming to terms with, our “shadow,” personality traits, we can see and understand more easily in other people. We would rather see it in them, than in ourselves. If we become aware of this then our judgment can be transformed into growth, as we begin to understand the other person, and our judgement towards them, as an aspect of ourselves.

Although shadowing and projection are rife within our relationships, especially with people we are close to, there can also be other reasons for judgement; jealousy and envy being a particularly unattractive one. When we want what someone else has, or when someone else is getting all the attention, we can become jealous and bitter. Jealousy and envy are never good qualities to display, and they can poison even the sweetest of minds. To overcome them we must understand that our life is our life, and that we have what other people lack in the same way they seem to have things we lack. We all have our flaws and vices, and we all shine in our own way. It is not a race, and life certainly isn’t about getting one up on the people around you. So instead of concentrating on what you don’t have, and turning an attack on other people, concentrate on what you do have, or on getting what you want in a noble manner. Use your energy more wisely and stop wasting it trying to decide what everyone else is entitled to.

Another potential motive is that you would not accept the judged behavior or trait, or manner of dress, or whatever it may be, in yourself and your own life. You judge people according to your own values, fashions, and behaviors. What we have to understand is that everyone on this amazing planet is completely unique. We cannot expect everyone to be like us, and we should not want everyone to be like us. Imagine what life would be like if we all dressed the same, talked the same, had the same interests, liked the same music. It would be boring. Yet still we judge each other over these differences. Our differences should be celebrated, our diversity embraced. It is what makes the world so interesting, so special; all of the flavors and spices that are brought to the table by our individuality.

Accept that you might not agree with everyone, that you might not think the same as everyone, and that you might not even like everyone as a person. But accept also that you are not fundamentally more right than everyone else. It is a small mind that thinks no one else has anything to offer, and that judges everyone else against their own values. We are all unique and beautiful, don’t let anyone judge you differently, and don’t judge anyone else differently.

In order not to judge other people we must learn to see past it all; past all the falsities of our superficial judgements, past our ideas that everyone should think like us, and especially past our own insecurities. When we feel comfortable in ourselves we will not judge others. It does not even enter one’s mind when there is self assurance. I only find myself judging people when I feel uncomfortable and secure, and then I immediately recognize the internal aspect of the judgements; how they reflect my own insecurities and ideals. Try to turn judgement inwards; not in a harsh, self-scrutinizing way, but in a way that allows you to see the lesson, and to grow into a more fruitful person. Life is not a soap opera, it is a personal journey. So get on with your own life, and stop judging other people.