“Be curious, not judgmental.” - Walt Whitman
“I am grateful that I am not as judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around me.” - anonymous
We are all judgmental. Yes, even you. I certainly am, many times. I think it’s human nature.
Photo by mugley
And yet, while it is in our nature to be judgmental, I don’t think
it’s always useful to us. We look down on others, as if we are so much
better … and that creates division between people.
Think about it for a second: we see someone, and based on their
looks or actions, we pass judgment on them. Not good judgment, either.
Usually without even knowing the person. And that’s it — that’s usually
the extent of our interaction with that person. We don’t make an effort
to get to know the person, or understand them, or see whether our
judgment was right or not.
And let’s consider what happens when we pass judgment on people we
do know. We see something they do, and get angry at it, or disappointed
in the person, or think worse of them. We judge, without understanding.
And that’s the end of it — we don’t try to find out more, and through
communication begin to understand, and through understanding begin to
build a bridge between two human beings.
Can you build a bridge with every single person you meet? Probably
not. That takes time and effort, two things we’re usually short on
anyways. But I’ve found that taking that extra time, even just once a
day, can make a huge difference.
Avoid passing judgment and instead build a bridge between two human beings.
If you’re interested in that, let’s take a look at one method I’ve
been using. I call it the “DUAL” method. I know, acronyms for methods
are corny, but so what? :) This method is corny already, but sometimes
corny is a good thing.
Here’s the DUAL method:
Don’t pass judgment. If you find yourself being
judgmental, stop yourself. This takes a greater awareness than we
usually have, so the first step (and an important one) is to observe
your thoughts for a few days, trying to notice when you’re being
judgmental. This can be a difficult step. Remind yourself to observe.
Once you’re more aware, you can then stop yourself when you feel yourself being judgmental. Then move to the next step.
Understand. Instead of judging someone for what
he’s done or how he looks, try instead to understand the person. Put
yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine their background. If possible,
talk to them. Find out their backstory. Everyone has one. If not, try
to imagine the circumstances that might have led to the person acting
or looking like they do.
Accept. Once you begin to understand, or at least
think you kind of understand, try to accept. Accept that person for who
he is, without trying to change him. Accept that he will act the way he
does, without wanting him to change. The world is what it is, and as
much as you try, you can only change a little bit of it. It will
continue to be as it is long after you’re gone. Accept that, because
otherwise, you’re in for a world of frustration.
Love. Once you’ve accepted someone for who he is,
try to love him. Even if you don’t know him. Even if you’ve hated him
in the past. Love him as a brother, or love her as a sister, no matter
who they are, old or young, light skinned or dark, male or female, rich
What good will loving someone do? Your love will likely only be
limited. But it could have an affect on two people: yourself, and
possibly on the person you’ve found love for. Loving others will serve
to make yourself happier. Trust me on this one. And loving others can
change the lives of others, if you choose to express that love and take
action on it. I can’t guarantee what will happen, but it can be