At times, we form an opinion or come to a conclusion, deliberately or otherwise, only to find out that the story in our head is polluted. By judging, we work hard to build a wall and to protect ourselves and live securely. The problem with this stance in life is that often it prevents us to build meaningful and genuine connections with self and others. Although judging is a natural instinct, you can definitely be aware of it and control your impulses. When you adopt a mindful outlook, you embark on intelligence and wisdom track. The non-judging approach is the protective gear that will support you against unsound decisions and irrational reactions in life. Releasing judgement is stepping over self-made barriers to see and grasp “things as they are.”
The myths and the sensationalized stories are good examples of our preconceived judgements. Overall, the side effects of judgments such as fear or the condemning categories of bad and good in our mental descriptions create prejudices, biases and stress. The habit of categorizing is good for filing system but when it comes to our life relations and connections at times it limits our perspective and growth.
How to remove the obstructive judgemental attitude?
- Be mindful- Recognize the judgments that unfold whether you are performing a task or when you are in the fight-flight mode. Observe how your mind describes the situation: as mundane, suspicious, energetic, or any other attribute that influences your behaviour or reaction to that particular circumstance. For instance, to observe our judgemental mind practice breathing. Set a time and start paying attention to your breath and surely your oblivious mind will start harassing you by labelling your practice as boring. Basically, the approach is not to suppress your judgement but to be aware of it.
- Don’t take it personally – I remember that when our son started high-school, the amazing principal recommended that as the parents of young teenagers, do not take their withdrawn behaviour and uncommunicative reactions personally but be continuously loving, caring and have a set framework of rules. Don’t snoop, they will eventually talk to you and tell you all about their adventure but on their own time. It was great advice, one that kept the peace. Or as adults, it happens that you will encounter disagreements. As long as you remember that the conflict is not about you, it helps to detach the “me” connection and give others the benefit of the doubt.
- Reframe – This approach is about not changing the facts but having an open mind to recognize that people have different ways of doing things or different perspectives. Instead of getting angry or miserable, channel your energy to pause and reflect. The challenge is to dive underneath the anger and your oxygen tank is your ability to reframe. With regular practice, the efforts to reframe a situation becomes a habit, one that is immensely rewarding especially when you encounter setbacks. Reframing a difficult situation or dire circumstance allows you to transform the problems into possibilities and remain strong, composed with a positive mindset.
- Self-reflection – As soon as you start judging, try to ask yourself whether you have had the same or similar behaviour.
- Don’t blame yourself or others- As much as blame game is an easy defence mechanism, surely it is unproductive and unpleasant. The tendency to distort our self-esteem with blame is inept. Rather, see things as they are, and break away from blaming yourself or others. Again reframe the situation, replace words such as should to could or losses to learning experiences to make a pathway for much better opportunities.
- Be a friend to yourself – Connect with your strength, intelligence, and love yourself. Dismiss negative thoughts and destructive criticism. When you stop judging, you will distance yourself from gauging others and assume an impartial approach in life. One that helps with mastering your mind.
Featured image by: Todd Schorr