“Wow, have you seen what that lady is wearing?”
“Oh, mother, please don’t judge!”
“Come on, that dress is too short for her age, admit it!”
“Stop it. It’s not funny!”
That was a thought-provoking conversation between my daughter and I. Was I being judgmental? I believed it was a simple observation. I was neither judging nor criticising and the lady in question never heard those words. So, no harm done, right? That was what I thought until I was put in my place by my daughter. To her, I was judging by appearance and that was unacceptable. It was not a joke and she was right.
“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself”- Dr Wayne Dyer
There is a fine line between a joke and criticism. So, when does a funny remark become unacceptable? Judging someone is negative, and ‘judgmental’ is a harsh word which we do not like to be associated with. Yet, when we are told that we are judging, we are quick to deny it. Very often we voice our opinions without thinking of consequences. It is instinctive. We react to how others behave but ignore our own behaviour.
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment”- John 7:24
We have become such perfectionists that we think we have the right to correct other people’s flaws. If we feel we have the right to do so, then we must make sure we know everything about that person. We must learn the facts and not assume. We are neither presiding in a tribunal nor are we God, Himself. We cannot form an opinion based on looks or actions. We might think it is funny, but would we tolerate this behaviour if it is done to us?
“When you have an emotional reaction to what you see, you are judging. That is your signal that you have an issue inside of yourself – with yourself – not with the other person. If you react to evil, look inside yourself for the very thing that so agitates you, and you will find it. If it were not there, you will simply discern act appropriately, and move on.”- Gary Zukav
Sometimes when we feel threatened, our defensive mechanism kicks in and judging others help us boost our confidence. Because when we experience negative feelings and our self-esteem takes a dip, we believe we are less worthy than others. Venting out on someone else might make us feel better but we lose our core values.
“It is easy to judge. It is more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience, and willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods. Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow.”- Doe Zantamata
Before we say something, we must stop and think. Before we judge, we must understand why we are doing it. When we learn not to judge others and accept them the way they are, we learn to accept our own imperfection. By turning that negative behaviour into understanding and compassion, we let go of our fear of rejection and learn to accept our own faults.
“If you start judging people you will not have time to love them”- Mother Teresa
Instead of spending time pointing out other people’s mistakes, take the time to ponder on your own. You cannot control how people think and act, but you can control your own behaviour. By choosing to see the good in others, you will end up seeing the good in yourself. It is high time to learn to show more kindness and less judgement.