Why we judge each other…
There’s nothing like the sting from feeling judged, is there?
And it always hits a sensitive spot for me when I hear mothers judge each other.
When I’m able to take a bird’s eye view of it all, I see what may be happening. Because I know that when we judge, we are often (indirectly) trying to define who we are…by spotlighting and calling out the opposite aspect in another person.
We all have critical minds. I mean quite literally, we have minds that have the capacity for critical thought. For taking in information, for synthesis, comparison, organization, and reasoning. Our brains are wired to do this and to assess and compare in order to clarify all day long.
So having a critical mind is not a negative thing…it’s a hugely beneficial tool.
But here’s where I think we get things wrong:
When we use our own (critical) mind to try to change someone else…we judge.
When we use our own (critical) mind to try to change ourselves…we discern.
There is a huge difference between judgment and discernment– and it’s all about which way the spotlight is facing.
Judgment says, “It’s my job to let other people know (even if it’s in my own mind) how they most need to change — what’s wrong with them.”
It’s a way to distinguish who WE are by pointing the finger at who THEY are.
I always think it’s funny when I hear someone say, “I’m no one to judge, but …..” You know that what they are really saying is that “I know I’m not perfect…but I’m not as imperfect as she is.”
We only judge people on things that we deem important. If you believe you are someone who is trustworthy, then pointing out someone else’s untrustworthiness is important to you because you want to be known and seen as trustworthy.
On the other hand…
using critical thinking in the effort to better grow into the person you want to be is a process of discernment. It is using wisdom and applying it to your own life. To your own choices. To your own growth edges.
I’ve come to the practice that when I find myself judging others, I try to ask myself what specifically am I judging them about? What specific trait or characteristic is at the core of my judgment around them?
And then I ask, “Where can I improve in that area?” or maybe it simply serves to solidify my own beliefs, or helps me see where I want to grow in my own character.
Ultimately, though, taking the critical thought that generated a judgment and asking it to be used for my own growth is a much more satisfying process all around.
And can you imagine the world we’d live in if we decided not to judge each other, but instead focused on refining and growing our own beautiful selves?
With warmth and love,