We’re all doing it anyway. You’re judging me for this article right now. And while most people won’t admit this, judging others is a form of self-improvement. When we see people doing things, we judge it as positive or negative, and may then either avoid or emulate those behaviors. I would ask though, that you approach “judgment” in a different way – one that allows you to learn from those around you, while possibly turning that learning back onto the subject you may be inclined to judge. Approach with CURIOUSITY WITHOUT JUDGEMENT.
PC LIE #2: Never judge anyone under any circumstances.
Do this instead: EVALUATE certain people for certain behaviors, and seek to understand the motivation for those choices.
Ever see someone order an extra-large bucket of popcorn soaked in melted butter at the movie theater? Ever see someone go to town at a buffet who clearly shouldn’t be going to a buffet at all? Or how about that friend who keeps up with the Kardashians but can’t make it to the gym?
You probably don’t want their results, so not specifically judging them, but evaluating them motivates you to make different choices. In turn, rather than literally handing down a verdict of declaring their behavior and choices as BAD, taking time to understand them may allow you to motivate them to make different choices themselves. If that idea makes you feel like a jerk or a terrible friend, then realize that you’re seeking to identify their priorities, attitudes, and behaviors – things within their power to change – not circumstances they were born with. The word and activity of judgement has such a negative connotation. Let’s supplant it with an active evaluation that seeks to understand in a curious and altruistic way.
When you are surrounded by a society full of people who have been conditioned to make certain choices, and enact in certain behaviors that are not only short-sighted but downright destructive to themselves and potentially those around them, judgement alone does nothing to improve your life or theirs. You must seek to understand what it is they must believe in order to see those decisions (such as ordering the extra-large bucket of popcorn) as logical and in their best interest. The reality is, we know those choices are dangerous, and the compounding interest on socially acceptable, albeit negative, life choices is irrefutable. In the end, there must be a driving belief held by that person that allows them to justify and rationalize the detrimental path they are walking.
Sometimes we aren’t even conscious of these dangerous beliefs around our behavior choices.
People typically just respond in the way that feels automatic and safe, even if their beliefs and responses are severely limiting us. Over time these beliefs carve deep grooves in your brain circuitry. The longer we hold on to a belief or fear, the more ingrained it is in our minds. Our adult lives have further added layers of responsibilities, stresses, and disappointments to foster limiting beliefs about ourselves.
Getting to the bottom of these beliefs, seeking to EVALUATE and UNDERSTAND, not just to JUDGE, is imperative to that motivation to make healthier, more sustainable life choices for yourself and those around you.
The goal is to know the WHY behind the HOW and WHAT. Simply labeling behaviors, and ultimately the people who choose to participate in them as inherently good or bad does nothing for anyone.
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