Judgement takes on many different forms. It is obvious when you gossip about someone’s clothing or the shape of their backside. Many recognize these actions as unhealthy and negative and try to avoid this behavior. However, consider this, have you ever yelled at another driver on the road because they cut you off? Or have you ever shook your head at the mom who is carrying her screaming child out of the grocery store? What about when you look in the mirror and berate yourself for your imperfections?
Judgement as a standalone action is neither good nor bad. It is the mindset we foster when we exercise judgement that makes all the difference.
Judgement is “the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and evaluating”. When we use judgement after implementing critical thinking, weighing the pros and cons, “discerning and evaluating”, it can help us to learn and grow from our experiences and the experiences of those around us. But when we choose to use judgement to belittle others and hold ourselves in higher regard, we are only taking a step deeper into the muck. It is up to us to make a conscious effort to judge wisely.
The Dos and Don’ts of Wise Judgement:
Do hold judgement in reserve and foster curiosity first and foremost. Ask questions before forming an opinion. Is it possible that the driver who cut me off is in a hurry to get home because his child just broke their leg? We never know what is taking place in the lives of others. Seek understanding.
Don’t hold onto your opinions too tightly. Once you form an opinion, be open to the fact that new information may present itself that could change your opinion. Stand for open-mindedness rather than righteousness.
Do allows others to have their own opinion. Judgement turns wicked when we try to impose our thoughts onto others. Everyone is on their own journey and what is right for them, may not be right for you. This does not lead to wrong or right, just different.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone why they believe what they do and to share why you do what you do…when appropriate. Healthy conversation where people are trying to understand each other promotes growth and increases knowledge.
Do allow yourself to use judgement to grow and learn from your actions. It is our judgement that teaches us which actions helps us grow and which tear us down. Whatever adverb you assign to your actions, use that decision to inform how you will move forward rather than dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past.
Don’t use judgement to belittle yourself or others. Honor yourself and those around you whenever you are tempted to pass judgement!