“I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.”Haruki Murakami
It is easy to judge people; but think again…….
- Have you jumped to conclusions, made assumptions, set yourself above the other person in a self-righteous manner?
- Do you sometimes evaluate the other with opinions based on old, biased ways of thinking?
- Do you tend to feel critical and see the negatives in a person before anything else?
- Have you made snap judgements about others based on their outward appearance/ accent/where they come from?
- Do you label people?
If you have said ‘yes’ to any of the above, welcome to the human race!
I guess we might all have felt judgmental at times, but, equally, it is most important to become aware of ourselves and the workings of our internal world. We need to examine our feelings, thoughts, preconceptions and biases if we wish to become non-judgmental.
Then we might be able to avoid such judgmental behaviour, which can be really hurtful to other people. It also keeps us stuck with rigid, limiting and self-defeating attitudes.
What is important to explore is our prejudices and biases; often we may dislike a quality in another that we do not admit to in ourselves.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” — Carl Jung
Jung’s wise words encourage us to gain more self- knowledge, so that we might challenge aspects of ourselves, rather than judge others for what we do not like or deny in our own personality.
However, seeing the self in the other, if explored and understood, can potentially be part of a bonding process. Rather than judge ourselves and the other person, we may empathise with them and feel closer, since we can identify with their feelings.
Whether through self-reflection, religion, therapy or meditation, it is important that we learn to acknowledge and confront any bigotry, intolerance, distorted thinking or unkindness in the way we approach the world.
As we gently observe ourselves, acknowledging our areas of difficulty, perhaps then we can learn to understand ourselves, without judgement and without labelling ourselves as bad. This a kind of self-care, a way of healing.
So what does being non-judgemental really mean?
A non-judgmental stance is one which is accepting, patient, caring and empathic. Such an attitude creates an aura of understanding and safety for the person you are with. In this way, friendships tend to be deeper and closer, more trusting.
Being free of judgement is a liberating experience. This is because, if we do not judge others, we will not be so hard on ourselves. Instead of judging the other person for their differences, maybe we can accept that difference is a good thing.
Accepting another, warts and all, paves the way for accepting our own inner ‘demons.’
We are all different. Don’t judge, understand instead.”― Roy T. Bennett,
By not judging, we allow ourselves to be interested in those around us, without shutting them out because their views/appearance/ethnicity/gender identity does not accord with our own way of being.
Without such judgement, we will begin to grow, intellectually, personally and emotionally, as we discover what makes others tick.
“Every time I judge someone else, I reveal an unhealed part of myself.”
“ People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.”
Can we learn to merely observe the world around us and the people in it, free of assumptions and foregone conclusions, fixed ways of thinking and stereotypical responses? Then we will discover the joys of welcoming and embracing difference.
It is when we are peaceful enough with ourselves and have learnt to observe others without judgement or criticism, that we may perceive the pain that can lie beneath an outer appearance, hear the untold stories that a judgmental stance would inhibit.
If we cultivate an attitude of empathy, others will feel listened to and accepted for who they are. Being able to listen to a friend’s story, with an attitude of acceptance, is a way of giving love.
“If you judge people you have no time to love them.”-Mother Teresa
Dr Alison Thompson helping refugees. Wikimedia Commons.
“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”-Dietrich Bonhoeffer