The Good and Not so Good of “Judgment”

cropped-10060694_lWho am I to Judge? What gives me the “right” to judge others? Do I judge others more harshly than I judge myself? I would guess that the more harshly I judge others is a great indication of how harshly I judge myself.

When I looked up the word “judgment” in dictionary.com, it was nice surprise to read, “the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion.” Where is the negativity in that definition? I certainly don’t see any. Which leads me to the following: It is absolutely necessary to judge…good judgment can lead you away from circumstances and people that could be negative or even dangerous to your life.

So then, why do we (yes, me included) get so spun up when others appear to be judging us? Could it be that we feel they are saying that they are better than us? Could it be that we think of those in spiritual (God, Higher Power, Universe, etc.) or positional power (parents, police officers, judges, etc.) as the only ones that have the “right” to judge us? For me, the answer used to be yes. Don’t get me wrong…I can still struggle with being judged…AND I have learned some helpful insights when I perceive I am being judged.

Judgment is an act of projection. When I am being judged positively, understand that person sees something in me that he or she likes about him/herself. When that person sees something negative about me, he or she carries and does not like that same trait.

Judgment onto another person is not truth. The only thing true about judgment onto another is that the person who judges believes it, which only makes it his or her truth.

People judge out of their egos attachment to past experiences. If a person had a horrible relationship with someone who had blond hair, a white dog, and wore flip flops, he or she would probably not judge me too positively. They would (again) project that bad relationship onto me. Remembering that not everything is about me can be a great step toward liberating myself from the perceived judgment of others.

How to quit judging myself when I judge? Now this is tricky, primarily because I can be pretty hard on myself at times (not always). When I notice that I am comparing myself (judging) to others (good or bad), it is a good time for me to do the following:

– Acknowledge that judgment is a natural part of life and create an opening for some self-compassion. This can be a great indicator of something within me that I either feel really good or really bad about, which can shine a light on something that might have been unconsciously hidden.

– Understand that sometimes I might be judging someone to be doing better than me in an attempt to feel small or to shrink. Or, on the other hand, I might be thinking that they are not as (successful, happy, healthy, etc.) to “feel better” about myself. Either way is a great indication of me looking outward at someone else instead of turning the spotlight on myself, which could be really scary. I believe some of our biggest fears are those that we run from by comparing ourselves to others.

So, judge away, my friends! Give yourself the liberty to see the things you like in others, which will help you see things about yourself that you also like. And, just as importantly, notice the things you judge in others to be negative and then ask yourself, “What is it about me that I see in him/her that I don’t like?” If you dig deep enough, you will find it. And…give yourself the liberty to not break out the shovel and start digging until you are ready. I would judge each of us to have a similar AND very unique journey, which must be individually honored.

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Karen Solt is an Advanced Holistic Coach who is dedicated toward helping others discover the areas of their lives that are creating imbalance, discomfort, confusion, and relational problems. She holds a Masters in Psychology (Counseling) and is passionate about human healing. She works individually with clients and also presents workshops and classes to others seeking inner growth, better relationships, addiction help, and ways to uncover hidden sabotage patterns. A retired Navy veteran, Karen has had various life experiences that have created her unique style of coaching of all walks of life. She can be contacted at ksolt@me.com.

References: Dictionary.com. (2016). Judgment. Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/judgment

5 thoughts on “The Good and Not so Good of “Judgment”

  1. Thank you for sharing that insightful piece on judging

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  2. Thank you for insight on judgement. I believe everything you said. I catch myself more and more in judgement myself. Like you I have classes and seminars. I teach If you judge you’re not loving yourself.
    Thank you Karen
    Shaman Leah Tenderfoot

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  3. maritha Pottenger

    Great thoughts–worth reminding ourselves regularly. One extension….although checking inside when we judge others is appropriate, the degree of likeness may be very small. I believe that judging the statements or behaviors of others as dangerous is appropriate in some circumstances. If someone is verbally attacking all blacks, or Muslims, or gays, or…and encouraging others to attack physically as well as verbally, I judge that individual as dangerous to be around. My responsibility is to examine my own beliefs and statements to try to be sure that I am not making blanket judgments of whole groups of people–and to speak up against dangerous statements (unless that would create a physical threat to me).

    Maritha Pottenger

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  4. […] on that wonderful quality that you love and respect about yourself. If you find yourself judging another, find the area within you that you are projecting onto that person. I might not live my […]

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  5. […] others for doing exactly what you’re doing, as “judgment” typically is self-projection. See The Good and Not So Good of Judgment (ye ol’ judgment […]

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