How to Rein in Your Judgments of Others
This tip can help you feel more comfortable with people who make you angry.
Posted Jul 10, 2020
“I cannot believe how people are acting!”
“How could they not wear a mask?”
“Why would someone get a haircut?”
These are just some of the frustrations clients have expressed to me over the last few weeks. Everyone has an opinion on what other people should be doing.
I get it. I am a recovering “I know what you should be doing” zealot myself.
It is essential to understand that thinking you know better than another person is not just an opinion, but a judgment. We all have lots of judgments about others, especially after we see pictures of or hear about people engaging in behaviors in which we disapprove.
You might even be right, that the behavior they are participating in is harmful, but judgment does nothing to change the other person. Most importantly, being judgmental sucks your energy dry.
Think about the last time you were complaining to a friend about your ex, your boss, or your friend’s behavior. Reflect on how your body felt. Remember how worked up you got? You might even feel a bit like that as you recall the incident.
That is a lot of emotional energy that would be way better spent on something you wanted to change in your life rather than on what someone else needs to change.
Here is a tip on how to stop judgment in its tracks that I just wrote in my upcoming book. Repeat this phrase to yourself every time you feel judgmental:
When I am pointing a finger at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at me.
Often when we are upset with the way someone treated us, it is because they are demonstrating a behavior about ourselves that we do not like.
Let’s apply this to your judgment of people not wearing masks. Yes, you are justifiably angry that people are not following suggested guidelines. But maybe you are judgmental of them because you are uncomfortable with the times you have bent the rules? Maybe you are angry that you never ever break the rules and others seem to get away with it? You might be envious that they can be so cavalier and you have to always watch what you do and say.
I am not suggesting you stop wearing your mask (please keep them on for everyone’s safety). But I am encouraging you to look at how your judgment of the other person might have something to do with how you are feeling?
The more we understand our feelings the better we can help ourselves. We cannot control anyone else besides ourselves.
What is it like to turn the mirror on yourself? What can you learn? Let me know in the comments.