Have you ever thrown dirty looks at a parent whose child is throwing a tantrum? Stared in horror as someone bites into a greasy cheeseburger? Nodded mutely at a friend's tale of career/relationship/family woes and thought she was making a crazy choice?
We've all been there. Frankly, anyone who says they haven't been judgmental is probably lying or in denial, since few of us are so self-evolved that we don't pass judgment on others.
In fact, it's often healthy foodies who are some of the worst offenders. A research study recently found that people exposed to pictures of organic food made harsher moral judgments than those who were shown photos of comfort or neutral foods.
The thing is, being judgmental is not a behaviour that serves us. Let's face it: we judge others because we need to feel better about ourselves. It may make us feel superior or secure in the short-term, but the long-term stress of never feeling good enough can lead to a host of health issues.
Being non-judgmental, can lead to lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress-related illnesses.
Here are some signs to look out for:
1. You believe that everyone is out to get you.
2. You expect other people to be consistent all the time.
3. You struggle to see beyond a person’s flaws.
4. You easily skip to conclusions.
5. You struggle to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty.
6. You’re intolerant of people unlike you.
7. You’re generally pessimistic about life.
8. You tend to believe people are either ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
9. You struggle to truly appreciate or see the beauty in others.
10. You have low self-worth.
11. You feel anxious around other people.
12. You’re suspicious and untrusting.
13. You have a strong inner critic who judges you.
So here are a few handy ways to tame the judgment.
Your self-talk involves all the thoughts you have about yourself in waking reality. Take some moments during the day to tune into what types of thoughts you’re having. Good opportunities to do this often happen while interacting with others, going to work, looking at yourself in the mirror, or making a mistake. You can also use your emotions to hook yourself into your inner talk. Whenever you’re feeling upset, depressed, insecure, or anxious, try to pause and focus on your inner talk. What thoughts or assumptions are behind your feelings?
Next, in a journal, record your self-talk. Do this every day, without fail! Try to find common themes or patterns that reveal your underlying core beliefs. For example, you might discover that you often think about how “stupid,” ugly, worthless, or weird you are. These beliefs will give you something to work with.
Easier said than done, right? But by slowly and steadily working to accept yourself, you become less critical of others as well. Self-acceptance is about honouring and allowing space for all that it means to be human. Instead of putting yourself up to high standards, self-acceptance is about realistically looking at yourself, understanding why you are the way you are, and embracing who you are at a core level.
Some powerful places to start with self-acceptance include:
Commit to any number of these practices every day and you will begin to see the results soon.