We’ve been hearing and talking a great deal about judgement as we have entered the new year. Someone very dear to me recently commented that they didn’t believe that it was possible not to judge. That inspired this post, to be honest, because it really got me thinking about this topic of judgement.
One dictionary defines judgement as: “the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions”. A second definition is: “a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.” (I will do a post about this second definition because I think it’s a category of its own.) The word judge, used as a verb, is defined as: “form a conclusion or opinion about.”
Neither of these words seems to have a particularly negative definition, yet we point out this word as the “problem.” We start making judgements and learning judgements from those around us from the time we are born. Sadly, most of the judgements we see and hear are negative and we start applying negative judgments to others and even to ourselves. It is the level of negativity combined with the certainty that our judgements are “correct” or “right” that I believe is actually the problem. The problem is then compounded by our attitude/idea that we have the right or need to share our opinions with others and they need to agree! I have never heard anyone have a problem with a positive judgment (sometimes called a compliment).
I may judge a certain situation, say some food, as bad. I really don’t like it and I don’t have to like it or to eat it. There’s nothing wrong with that unless I also feel the need to share that opinion with others. If I don’t like something then others shouldn’t’ t like it either! My husband and I used to have some folks we hung out with and if we ordered something they didn’t like, they would make rude comments about our food and felt they had every right to do so whether we liked it or not. Now they often ate things I didn’t like, but I didn’t comment. One time, I finally had enough and I made some comments on their food that were pretty rude, I admit and they became very angry!! When I pointed out I was doing the same thing they did to us, they immediately started pointing out how it was different when they did than when it was done to them. And their arguments made no sense, even to them, as we got into more of a discussion about it. They, for the most part, stopped commenting on our food after that. They had a right to their opinions and we had a right to ours, but neither had a right to share those opinions with the other couple.
I used food as an example, but the same scenario applies to judging situations, people, whatever. We can think whatever we want, but we don’t need to share that with others. And if we are judging harshly, perhaps we need to find ways to neutralize those judgments in our own minds. We don’t have to agree or like everything or everyone, but we also don’t need to share those beliefs with others. If we treat people with politeness, even if we don’t particularly care for them, we can create a better world.
This is just a start, but I truly believe that we can make the world a better place than we found it by making small consistent steps. Don’t be overly harsh on anyone, including yourself and you may find that you are a happier person and you’re helping make the world a happier place.