3 Things I’ve Learned Not to Judge

Like many people, I used to go through life constantly making judgements.  We’re taught to think critically, and to evaluate.  And there are many times when this skill serves us well.  But I found that my ongoing judging was limiting my life experiences, and preventing me from fully understanding what was going on.

And it was also making me miserable.

So, today, I wanted to share three things that I have learned NOT to judge.

1.  I do my best not to judge others.  Most people are acting out of fear.  People who do hurtful things, are afraid and hurting.  When people are in survival mode, they do things that are absolutely crazy.  I try to be cautious and keep my distance, but understanding this does help me not to be angry.  Along the same lines, I remind myself that I don’t know anyone’s full backstory.  I don’t know what misperceptions they have, and I don’t know that I wouldn’t do the same thing, in their place.  Parenting has definitely helped me in this area!  If you have a kid, you WILL one day appease them, in full tantrum, by giving them a treat at the grocery store.  It’s going to happen.

2.  I do my best not to judge myself.  I have told you before, that I am a recovering perfectionist.  And I’ve found perfectionism creeping up in the most unexpected places.  I’ve caught myself procrastinating, because I was afraid that I wouldn’t go a good enough job.  I’ve caught myself denying my thoughts and feelings, or worse, beating up on myself for thinking or feeling something, because I judged it to be bad.  If we can learn to regard ourselves with the same understanding that we give everyone else, we will be able to look into our feelings and thoughts, and understand what is causing them.  Rather than being stuck in denial or regret, we can move forward.  Our thoughts and feelings are never bad–the ones we judge as bad are often just misunderstandings.

3.  I do my best not to judge experiences.  In life, we don’t get to pick and choose experiences.  Because, if we had nothing but roses and walks in the park, we wouldn’t learn the lessons that are waiting for us.  If we’re never made uncomfortable enough, we will never make the changes that we need to make–the changes that will make life richer and fuller.  If I hadn’t have been through such a hard winter, I would not have decided to leave and create this new life for my family.  So don’t judge difficult times as “bad.”  They might be uncomfortable–or even painful–but they are a necessary part of experience.

Most of all, be patient with yourself.  I have often caught myself slipping into judgements, and that’s normal.  We’re all human.  But I can say that putting forth the effort not to judge in these areas has made my life much more fulfilling.

Accept what life has to offer, and watch the world open up for you!


17 thoughts on “3 Things I’ve Learned Not to Judge

  1. Great post. This is something I really have to work on. I’ve gotten better over the years…but have a ways to go!

    • Interesting perspective, CJ. I’m definitely not a better person than anyone. (I don’t think we are ranked, actually…except that the SUV drivers who try to run me over might be inferior… :-p Don’t worry, Mom, I found a bike trail that avoids all that!). It’s a journey, and if we didn’t have anything to improve, it would be a rather boring journey.

  2. Great post. I have also learned to check myself whenever I start to judge anyone. Judging others can lead one to become stressful, and blinded by this malady. There is no personal growth, as a judgemental person continually focuses on the negative, instead of on the positive, thus stunting personal achievements. You are a very insightful person. Have you had special training? Blessings.

    • Welcome aboard, Parrillaturi! I haven’t had any special training, unless you count last winter–I went through a very challenging time, that led to me revisit every assumption I’ve ever held, and ultimately to leave everything behind and move across the country! I’ve found that life is the best teacher, if we’re willing to hear the lesson.

  3. Great post Bethany. I was told once I was judgmental and critical. That hurt a lot since I had parents that were that way and didn’t want to be that way. What I found though, was there is a difference between being judgmental and discerning. I don’t care how others live, talk or behave, I just get chose who I spend time with and how I want to behave. Everyone gets to be themselves. If I’m uncomfortable with how they treat themselves or others, I get to disengage. That may be a bad explanation, but it’s the best I can come up with in a short space. I love the differences in people, I just have learned to back away from those that take pleasure in being hurtful. It was a very strong life lesson. Thanks for starting the conversation.

    • Excellent point. There definitely is a difference between judging and choosing to limit interactions with people who make us feel bad about ourselves. For example, I understand WHY the people at my old job were so negative (and I hope things have improved for them), but I still chose to leave.

  4. Bethany, you never cease to amaze me with the dept of your writing. Judgement is one of the few things I didn’t have to battle with myself over, with the exception of personal judgement. I too am a recovering perfectionist as you know. But getting older has helped the healing of that part of myself.

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