I recently wrote about ways to not judge others and instead make yourself helpful in such a situation and while that will hopefully be one method to learn from, it is much bigger than that. A recent article I read on The Good Life about judgment mentioned that judging yourself is like a poison. I really like that analogy since there are many things affected when you constantly judge yourself, the biggest one is your happiness and it spills over into many other areas of your life.
The Judgment Spillway
Judging things is the norm these days and for most people, its not even considered a bad thing. Well, sorry to break it to you, but it is. Its an infectious, dangerous act that impacts others, your own ideas and behaviors and even your happiness. Its typically looked at as such an innocent act and is often just brushed off as an opinion or comment. Judgments are used for comedy in nearly every sitcom on television and its a continual form of entertainment around us.
All these judgments (no matter how simply or innocent they seem) lead us to looking at the physical appearance or first impressions that develop into habits when deciding on our own relationships, actions or behavior. This superficial level that is only visible builds a pathway to continually look at such a superficial level and it trains us to stop looking at what a person is really like or about before forming some biased surface level opinion. This training, whether its wanted or not, spills into our judgments of ourselves as well. It teaches us to respond quickly and take a negative view over seeing the proper intention or thoughts behind something. We turn the response of others into an attack on ourselves and we take things personally, get defensive and withdrawal from conversations and relationships. All these things can affect one’s self esteem and they continue to erode at any remaining self confidence without even being conscious of it.
Turn That Self Judgment Away
The best way to deal with these judgments is to simply turn them away. Don’t consider them judgments and look at more productive ways to use them. This works whether someone else told them to you or they are in your own mind. There are many ways to do this without allowing it to pick away at you. Some of the methods available (which each really deserve an article of their own) are:
- Expect people to judge you so you’re not shocked by it
- Remember positive comments to help offset ones that tear you down from others
- Learn to accept compliments
- Be humble about yourself
- Accept who you are by recognizing your accomplishments and choices
- Know you can always improve and that everyone has room to grow
- Reflect and learn about yourself to understand and take advantage of your strengths and weaknesses
- Consider all comments (attacks or compliments) as feedback, something to learn from going forward
- Know that most judgments are caused by temporary emotional responses and not always true
Happiness Starts at the Self
Happiness is definitely at stake if you let others’ and your own judgments tear you down and belittle your life, actions and relationships. You need to control how receiving and making judgments affects you and so reducing them with the steps here is a great way to change and control what you do when it comes to judgments. By controlling judgments and looking forward instead of dwelling on things based on judgments is a great way to live and bring allow more happiness to exist inside you. Its freeing to deflect those judgments, hold back your own and to live your life the way you want!
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
I’m surprised I had as much to say as this without getting into more depth about Christian beliefs and how judgment is seen from that angle as well. An important part of the verse above is to see that you should look first at yourself, before casting judgment to others. However, its also not saying to never judge, but to only judge first what you have already been or expect to be judged on as well. This is a touchy subject with Christians and can easily spark a big discussion. My point is not to raise an turmoil, but to recognize that there is SOME reason to judge but I want to encourage you to look at yourself first. Look at your life, study yourself, the judgments others pass, use it to learn from and seek understanding in a spiritual sense around judgments. Judgments can sabotage your happiness without you ever realizing it. Learn to change that and you’ll see as well, that happiness starts at the self.
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