How I Am Learning to Judge Less

How to Stop Judging“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

I think my single worst trait is judging.  I judge other people. I judge myself. I judge situations. I judge reactions. I judge emotional content (drama). I judge relationships. I judge my judging.

I’m not proud of this. It is a nasty habit that I practice via negative self talk and occasionally let it slip into every day dialogue. It is one of the sole causes of my unhappiness, when I allow it to run rampant. I know my thoughts are well within my control, and that some think judging is a direct link to how one sees themselves. I know I’m no angel ( she says with a slight smile, knowing she is judging herself).

According to Deepak Chopra in his book, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”,  “judging is the constant evaluation of things as right or wrong, good or bad. It is the constantly evaluating, classifying, labeling and analyzing” that occurs in our daily mental processing.

The root cause of judging stems from our ego. It is determined to compare our jobs, our clothing, our cars, our finances and our bodies with others. It puts down others to lift us up and can be the source of negative self talk.  Judging leads to criticism and eventually condemnation.

This addictive and self-perpetuating act, according to an article on Positively, hurts our relationships, impacts our self-image and casts a negative vibe into the world. If you go through life weighing everyone on this ideal mental scale, people’s feeling will be hurt. Life is a feedback loop, the more you cast out negativity, complaints and criticism, the more you will receive.

How does one stop this nasty feedback loop?  Here are a few ways that I have been adopting in my attempt to flush Judging Judy out of my system:

1) Take Control of Your Thoughts
Your thoughts are not you. It’s your ego at the helm, guiding you into dark waters. Instead, notice when you are having a judgmental moment. Put the brakes on the negative thought and push it into more positive waters. Whether it is about you or those around you, shifting your thoughts from judging to looking for the silver lining will slowly erode the Negative Nelly syndrome.

2) A Word of Gratitude
Judging points out what is lacking, missing or unaccomplished. Instead of focusing your thoughts on the “have nots,” find something you are grateful for in your life. Focus on what you have and you will notice that the other things don’t matter quite as much. Plus, it puts a bit of a smile on your face — and that is always endearing.

3) Build Up Rather Than Tear Down
Words, written or spoken, have the ability to cut deeply. Treat yourself and others with kindness, compassion and empathy. Don’t say (or write) anything that you couldn’t say to the person’s face.  Focus on their good points. Focus on what makes them shine — and let them know.  Compliment, not complain.

4) You Are Enough
Believe in yourself, your job, your finances and who you can be. Know that you don’t have to participate in the vicious “Keeping Up with the Jones'” cycle. Focus on you and know that you are good enough, have enough and do enough. You are enough.

I still have my lackluster moments, but they are getting further and further apart. When I notice myself going down Judgment Lane, I apply the brakes and say “I’m judging, but I prefer to accept. Differences make the world an interesting place.” Then, I turn my judging thought into something more positive and let it be. I don’t stew, drudge or debate it. Life goes on . . . on a more positive note.