Henry David Thoreau once said that, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Oftentimes, you don’t notice it but you tend to judge other people based on how they look, what they are wearing and even in their manner of speaking.
Admit it, you probably have looked down on people at least once a day just because they don’t fit your standards. Before you feel bad about it, you should know that you’re not alone in this quest.
Millions of people around the world judge one another because sadly, and according to science, negative emotions are more powerful than positive ones.
So, here’s a challenge for you. For one whole day, do your best not to judge the people around you, whether that person is your friend, colleague or even a stranger. Can you do that? Of course you can. Before anything else, here are tips on how to stop acting like a jury.
1. Stop Saying, “You Should.”
Being judgmental starts from imposing things on other people according to how we want them to be. If that particular person failed to meet your expectations, then keep this in mind: how other people behave is absolutely none of your business.
According to Gandhi, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Instead of imposing something on someone, stop taking moral responsibilities on how everyone should behave. You are only responsible for yourself and your own actions so stick to it. Of course, you can make suggestions and offer advice, but make sure you don’t do it in the “you should” or imposing manner.
And yes, some people might not even want how you behave, but they just don’t care. It won’t hurt if you do the same.
2. Remember: Everyone Is Entitled To His Or Her Own Freedom
There is already a portion in the Constitution that defines the rights of the people. There is no need to introduce any amendments in order to meet your standards.
Plus, you don’t need to assume the role of a parent, teacher or critic in someone else’s life, unless they ask you to.Therefore, don’t assume that you can decide on how other people should think, behave and act for themselves.
Again, you don’t have the moral responsibility to control people and impose on them what they should and should not do. Let them make their own choices and allow them to find their own ways.
If they commit mistakes, then so what? It’s for them to learn so let them be. That’s part of human life anyway.
3. Let Go Of Expectations
Every person in this planet is created differently. Heck, even twins are different – hello, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield.
It is normal to expect something from someone. In fact, expectations are like unwritten contracts that people have to do and follow or else. Since it is unwritten and more often unsigned, don’t expect people to live by those expectations.
Hence, be flexible. Allow yourself to adjust to certain situations, and don’t feel bad when they are unable to meet your needs. Let the circumstances, and not you please, have its final say as to how things will end. Once you start to let go of your expectations, you’ll be able to let go being judgmental too, gradually.
4. Become An Observer
Here’s another challenge for you. Stop whatever you’re doing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself what is your purpose in life. If you can’t decide on what role, then no wonder you’re letting your inner judge control you.
To let go of this, assume the role of a peaceful observer. This means instead of trying to influence other people and dictating them what they are supposed to do from not, stop concerning yourself with their actions.
Think about life as a movie you can enjoy with the people around you as the characters in that movie. Just make sure you don’t act as a director, okay?
Go ahead. Sit back, relax and just enjoy the show.
5. Don’t Act 0n Your Judgments
Of course, you will always have opinions on certain things, situation or even people. The question now is, do you really have to act on it and say it out loud?
There’s nothing wrong with being opinionated, as long as it’s for a good cause and you say it in a way where no one will get hurt.
Otherwise, be quiet. Acting on your initial reaction without even thinking of the consequences is always a bad idea. Plus, it is a perfect breeding ground for drama and misunderstanding, which you certainly don’t want to be part of, right?
In other words, don’t let your emotions and initial reactions take over your rational mind. Give yourself some time to reflect before even saying anything.
6. Understand, Not Conclude
You were walking down the street on your way to work and you see a childhood friend of yours looking depressed and stressed out.
You also noticed her clothes don’t match well and she looks like she haven’t visited a salon for the longest time. Before you think that she is having a miserable life, try to understand what she is going through first.
People often react without knowing the exact story behind the look or situation. It is so easy for humans to think of different things – often bad – without asking the whole story behind it.
The truth is you can never know everything. Unless that friend of yours opened up to you and personally asked for your help, then shut up and tell your brain to stop judging too.
The best you can do is to provide support and offer compassion and understanding. The more you learn to understand the people, the more you will have a harmonious and non-judgmental environment.
7. Be Positive
Science says negative emotions rule out the positive ones. True. In fact, it is easier to accumulate negative judgments over time.
If you notice, it is easier for you to get mad or look at the ugly side of people instead of focusing on the good ones. Well, it’s human nature once again.
If you want to let go of your inner judge, then practice the stop and start method. No, this has nothing to do with men and controlling their urge to let it out after a minute of action. In this method, you stop focusing on the bad side of others and start looking at the good side of things.
Instead of getting annoyed with your neighbor who always rings your doorbell and brings you cookies or pasta for dinner, think of this as a blessing. At least when you forgot to cook dinner, you know that pasta from your neighbor can save the night.
Go on and stop dwelling on the negative things. It only adds lines on your face and, well, you don’t want that.
8. Don’t Overthink
Are you one of those people who often puts even the smallest behavior under the microscope? If you are, well, there is some issue to solve here.
There are people who like to look at the smallest things and examine whether it is the right move or not. Unless you’re solving a criminal case here and trying to understand what led to this behavior, then stop doing this. Not everything deserves your attention.
Remember that every human being is entitled to his or her own rights and freedom. If you can’t accept their behavior and it has not even affected you in any way, then there is nothing you can do about it. Learn to accept the fact that there are some things you can’t control. That’s just how it is.
9. Create Your Own Movie
You know that feeling where after you watch a movie, you immediately pour out your opinions and wish things were done differently? Well, now is the time to do it.
As a last step towards being the better, less judgmental you, visualize your own movie. Think of the people around you as the characters to your story while where you are usually at is the movie setting. Instead of the usual hero-villain plot, make everyone as a hero with a kind, compassionate heart.
Then think of situations where you can practice being non-judgmental. Practice kind, understanding words, instead of dwelling too much on the negative. Act on curiosity instead of judging easily. Once you pictured how your movie would be, apply it in real life.
Judgment is when you compare how people or things are versus what you think they ought to be. The element of dissatisfaction is present on how the things or people are and your desire on how you them to be.`
It may seem difficult at first, especially when judging has become a part of your system. Don’t worry. It’s going to take some time to get rid of this habit. Just practice these simple tips and you’ll be sure get the jury out of you – and make more friends, eventually.