How to stop judging other people.
We have all been at a point in time where we have passed judgement on other people. Whether it is based on how they look, their careers, or simply their existence- we have judged people. Our past mistakes do not matter, what matters is that we are trying to be better. Letting go of being judgemental can be a long process and sometimes even a challenge for some people.
Judgement comes from a place of insecurity. More than a reflection of someone else, the judgement we pass is a reflection of ourselves and our inner battles with insecurity. Once we embark on this journey to stop judging people, we become more self-aware, practice more self-love and truly shed another layer on this path to self-discovery.
The first thing to understand is that it is not wrong to judge. Judgement is how we make sense of the world around us. It is our ability to form opinions about things based on thoughts, evidence, and other people’s actions. While judgement is an opinion, our brain perceives it as our reality. And the negative judgement of others can lead to bitterness, lack of compassion, and as a result, negativity in life. While judging others to be better than us can lead to feelings of inadequacy, lack of self-esteem, and as a result, anxiety and depression.
It is essential to find the right balance of the judgement we pass. As humans, we cannot possibly completely stop judging people, but we can control our thoughts and emotions, regulate our judgement, and have a healthy state of mind.
So the question is, how do we stop judging other people? It may sound like a whole journey of changing who you are as a person, but the simplest way to stop judging other people is to stop judging yourself. Oftentimes, we have preconceived notions of right, wrong, cool, uncool, acceptable, and unacceptable. Once we let go of the fear of judgement of others and stop judging ourselves for our likes, dislikes, and choices- we liberate ourselves from the fear of “what will people think”. Often, this “what will people think” is a disguise of “I think this is not okay and people might see me differently if I do it”.
This thought process of harshly judging yourself can lead to harsher judgement of other people.
Here is how you can stop judging yourself and other people:
- Practice self-compassion: Often, our judgement of others comes from a lack of self-worth. When we find ourselves judging others, the first and most important thing is to practice self-compassion and stepping back to remind ourselves that we are inherently worthy. We have to let go of thoughts and practice self-love at that moment.
- Be curious about and aware of your thoughts and emotions: When we point a finger at others, we are pointing three at ourselves. Explore your thoughts and emotions to understand where judgement comes from. Identify underlying insecurities and negative emotions that result in that judgement. Explore this with a professional counsellor if necessary.
- Practice empathy and mindfulness- Being compassionate and practising empathy with yourself should translate to being empathetic towards others. Emotional empathy can open you to understanding other people’s pain and help you realise that you, in fact, do not have all the information to form judgements. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your present, thoughts, and emotions- thus increasing your emotional intelligence.
- Practice forgiveness- Many a time, judgement comes because we have unresolved issues with the person in question. Not just in times of conflict, but in life, it is important to practice forgiveness and letting go. Holding on to grudges and resentment not only leads to the negative judgement of others but also damages our relationships in the long run.
It is important to practice self-reflection and self-love to let go of being judgemental of other people. After all, our thoughts and opinions are a reflection of us and not the people around us.