Friday, December 27, 2013


Are You Too Judgmental?

I just read a post that Gala Darling posted the other day, titled Help! I Judge EVERYONE!, about which a reader emailed her with:

"Gala… I am having the worst time. I just found out that I am the person I hate. I realized how shallow and gross I am and how I see others. I realized how strongly I rely on the physical appearance of things. I realized that I judge people for things that don’t matter. I HATE people who do that. I’ve had people bully me my whole life about stuff like this. I’ve been on the receiving end forever. And today I realized I am just the same. I am them. I hate me. What on earth do I do? How do I change the way I think? How do I change?"

Gala, bless her heart, turned to her friends on Facebook to help answer this question. And there was a great response. [Check it out!] Unfortunately, I missed it, but feel this is an important topic to cover (better late than never) because, as humans, we are naturally inclined to be judgmental in one form or another, and should work to overcome negativity.

Let's get a little personal here, shall we?

A lot of people judge others by appearance. In most cases, they're jumping to conclusions based on what little information they have gathered about the person in question. Too often these conclusions are built from internal issues that have little to do with the person being judged. They are actually based on feelings of inadequacy.

While I have overcome the act of jumping to conclusions, I do perform a sort of character profiling based on what I see/hear/smell. This is beyond mere clothing or (non)fitness. I'm looking for signs of confidence, egotism, ulterior motives, etc. that may or may not lead to future problems. I look for tics, posture, etc. Anything that will tell me what I need to know about someone, before I pass judgement. (None of these thoughts are based on my own self worth.)

There, I said that awful word- judgement. (Who am I to judge?)

But, I think, it's how we handle this judgement that makes all the difference....

See, when I think of the average prissy bitch (sorry!) judging someone who may possibly be taller, thinner, prettier, and perhaps a much nicer person, I'm bothered by the fact that this prissy bitch is wasting her time dwelling on this negativity. All the time she spends gossiping, etc. could be spent doing something productive.

When I find myself judging someone, it is merely a decision of whether or not that person is worth my time. Even if I am not particularly fond of someone, I still conduct myself civilly and do not let my emotions control my actions. People are going to do what they want, regardless of what I think or say. I can't control them. However, I can choose how to react to them, and I prefer to take the moral, dignified route. There are better things to be done than waste time hating others.

In dealing with this sort of negativity, I think it's always important to ask yourself:
  • Is this a reflection of my own insecurities?
  • Am I jealous? 
  • Why else could I feel this way? 
  • Am I letting these thoughts negatively impact my life? 
  • Could I be wrong? 

These questions can be a little scary sometimes. Because truth hurts. But be brave, and consider.

How do you handle judgement?

1 comment:

  1. Very nice piece. The critical element here is one you touched on towards the end. The "how do you react?" part. To me, this is what decides whether being "judgmental" is good or bad. As you alluded it, it is human nature to judge. Our brains are conditioned to gather information, process it, and draw conclusions. It's not a flaw, but just us progressing through a thought process. If we distill this down, I think you can make the process into those three step plus react. The first two are neutral acts. Forming a conclusion is the first area where any sort of negativity can enter the process.

    It's here I'd say that attitude is important. I will pass judgment on people, but it tends to be positive. I think far fewer people would have issues with society judging others if the judgment is positive. Then, as you said, if you do come to a negative conclusion, how you react is the next step. For someone to be deemed what the general population would typically call "judgmental", you really have to be negative on both steps.

    Going back to the gathering of information, this is another area that people can look to improve. This is what you do very well; for some people, gathering information consists of *looks at shoes* and stops there. The more information you gather, the more you can assess, and the easier it is to come to a more objective, well thought out conclusion.

    So all this is interesting, but if the goal is to try and eliminate stigma, how do you do it? To some extent, it is just on the individual. Any sort of insecurities that need to be reconciled aren't really things that we can change. Here is what I feel I (and others) can do, though. Give people more information to gather. I can use myself as an example. I am a male that works in a very traditionally conservative industry, and I have long hair. Right off the bat, people are going to judge me because of this, and it could be a handicap for me. But what if I proactively try to show them they're wrong in the limited time we might have together? I can be very professional with my actions. I can be assertive in a meeting and demonstrate that I am competent. I can make eye contact. These are all things I can control, and if I do that, I give people more information to process to form their opinions of me. And the opinion could change from "he's not very professional" to "this guy's pretty intelligent and creative; his hair might not be what I consider professional, but maybe he's wired a little differently, and that is what gives him his unique thought process in addressing business issues". Even one little thing can make all the difference. Think about a "goth" walking down the street and crossing paths with another "normal" person. In one scenario the "goth" avoids eye contact and strolls along, in the other he makes eye contact and smiles or says hello. In the latter situation, you at least give the "normal" person the opportunity to see something more than just the clothes. We just have to take those opportunities when we get them :)


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