Awakenings Wellness Center, Portland Oregon

Articles by our Therapists

Judging Others

"At the heart of judging other people is a feeling of being unworthy." ~ Gary Zukav

Posted 03/12/08 by Andrea Wright Anderson

Judging others is a way of hiding from our flaws and only serves to disconnect us from others. Temporarily it might make us feel as if we are better than the person we are judging, but letting this behavior become a habit sets us up for failure. People may begin to lose trust, wondering if we are judging them behind their back, or friends may just want to avoid the negative vibes. Constantly judging others, we may begin to feel shame and even hatred towards ourselves.

Unfortunately, as humans, we have a habit of judging those closest to us most harshly. When we do this we are seeing the world the way we want, not the way it is. Lashing out is often a way to avoid feeling the pain of our powerlessness. Yet learning to be less critical and see things as they are opens us up for more compassion with others and for ourselves.

To find peace and quell the judging monster we must do inner work. It takes determination to look at oneself more objectively and with clarity. It can be helpful to go deep inside to find the root of our painful experiences and heal them. Without this inner work the pain and judging will continue to occur. The next time you catch yourself judging someone, stop and ask yourself a few questions to help get to the root of why you are judging. "What about this situation touches a nerve?" "What aspects of myself does this person bring forth?" "Is there a pattern between this situation/person and other times of judgment?"

Another way to work on putting an end to judgmental ways is to cultivate empathy. We can work on putting ourselves in another's shoes. As we work on this, we must be careful not to judge ourselves when we catch ourselves judging others. We need to learn to be gentle with ourselves also. Simply acknowledge that you were judging and make a promise to work on not judging in the future. If this is a behavior pattern you've had for most of your life it will not disappear over night. Like any new skill, retraining your thoughts takes time and persistence. Beating yourself up over being judgmental defeats the purpose of the work you are doing. Consistently reaffirm your desire to end your judgmental thoughts and practice compassion with yourself and others. Do this and you will develop more nourishing thoughts and eventually a happier, more empowered you.

Source: Soaring Higher - March 2008

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