This is me sitting on a bench near the Louvre in Paris. Although blurred you can still see the Eiffel Tower behind me:) You can see me pretending to be carefree and smiling nicely in this picture. That’s because I was trying to be nice, because I didn’t wanted to be judged later on for “being too serious and not nice enough”. Moreover, do you know who is behind the camera? Well, that’s neither a friend nor a family member. I had hired a professional photographer for this photo and do you guess why? Exactly! I wanted to have some beautiful pictures and was afraid to be judged over a “failed selfie” and wanted to show the best part of me not because I wanted attention, but because I was afraid to get heavily judged! The photographer works for an agency that receives thousands of clients like me.
Judgement and acceptance. Two words that matter so much and do not matter at all at the same time. Why so? Well, probably because we sometimes are so heavily judged for what we have been doing that we start ignoring both the judgement and those who judge. Between the judgment we underwent and the acceptance that we have never had, we sometimes choose to be indifferent. We just start not caring at all. “Not caring at all” may sound so cool and a good way to treat a problem, but the “not caring at all” is sometimes the worst thing that happens to us: we just become more and more isolated because of the judgement, because we consider that being isolated is better than being judged. In some situations it is a good choice to make, but isolation is something that we can avoid and find ourselves in a healthy relationship with somebody who will finally accept us in spite of our psychological distress and drawbacks. And acceptance is the wisest choice, because harsh circumstances lead us to different places in life: some are very lucky, some are less lucky or not lucky at all. Judging the least lucky ones is neither fair nor smart nor relevant, because the judgment puts additional psychological burden on their shoulders. Reach out or at least do not worsen their situations.
Judgement is often quick and comes out without thinking enough about it. A lot of people “judge” everyday and everything. We judge the way one perceives the world and the way he/she acts, we judge our fellows over their career and/or education choices, we judge people on how friendly or unfriendly they are or seem to be and so on and on. It seems that judgement is part of our daily life and comes out in a myriad forms and shapes. I have noticed 3 key judgments people make: 1. on our system of values, 2. on sociability, 3. on career/education goals.
System of Values: We consider that what he/she did is not “correct”, “fair”, “right”. Trustworthiness and honesty are the criteria we use to “measure” one’s behavior or choices.
Sociability: How “friendly” or “nice” are they? Are they? Friendliness and acceptance are the qualities we are looking for.
Career/Education goals/choices: Is he/she a “nerd”? Is he/she a “looser”? Competence and abilities are the criteria we use here.
For some people the system of values is the most important criterion, because the sociability and career/education goals are linked to it. We generally have negative impressions of those people, who although tend to be good in their sociability and career/education goals, but lack some values. Thus, a highly successful and sociable person will most likely be perceived as negative if he/she is engaged in illegal activities.
And the magic word is “relevance“.
So, we have criteria and we tend to judge according to our own definitions and perceptions about what is good or bad, positive or negative. But are we relevant? Is it safe to reduce someone to what we think they are? Having criteria and living according to them is good and protects us against what we define as “bad”, but choosing a way of life and living it should not be used to judge others who choose other ways of life, because one never knows the underlying reasons that bring others to different decisions. To insure a harmonious society, compassion and acceptance could be the “good” and “positive” tools. So here are 5 tips that will help you to make more place for acceptance and compassion:
- Pay attention to your thoughts. “I’m judging too fast and without compassion” and “I should be relevant” are some good sentences to begin with, because even when we just express ourselves without meaning to judge, we may still hurt others.
- Try to find some positiveness. Judging others is the result of not seeing their positive parts. Instead of judging them, you should have some compassion for them and some understanding for the complicated situations they might be experiencing.
- Avoid the black/white worldview. You could fail in your identification. Consider to take into account the possibility of “grey” situations. Remember that the white has some black in it and that the black has some white in it. If you choose to accept things as they are, they will stop to appear to you as “right” or “wrong”. They are just the way it is.
- Stop judging yourself. This is very important, because you may be too “judgy” towards others, because of your overly judgmental attitude towards yourself. Try first to accept things the way they are and you will see that judging will no longer be relevant.
- The power of “what if I were in their place”. Have you ever thought that the particular situation, the judged person is experiencing, could be even more difficult for you to handle if you were in their place? Moreover, sometimes, people suffer from a lot of issues like sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, poverty, stigmas, mental issues, misandry (hatred against men) and you just name it. Judging them is certainly not the “right” thing to do!
With love and acceptance,