Everyone thinks they’re an expert. They judge style, review restaurants, grade policies, scrutinize movies, evaluate leadership effectiveness, and play Monday-morning quarterback. They even judge the beliefs and values of friends and colleagues. Why are folks so judgmental?
Some people want to show off how smart they are, while others judge folks to make themselves feel good. There are those who bully you to accept their way of thinking and those who will follow any values simply to be accepted by the in-crowd. But when it comes right down to it, what gives you, or anyone else, the right to judge?
What Gives Anyone the Right to Judge?
If you’re like most people, you probably pass judgment on others from time to time and are exposed to commentaries, reviews, and critiques of yourself as well.
When people pass judgment, some of the factors that distinguish pure garbage from a credible assessment include whether the individual is honest and trustworthy, knowledgeable and experienced, fair and objective, constructive or mean-spirited, kind-hearted or self-serving, and opinionated or even-handed.
Next time you pass judgment or are on the receiving end of someone’s assessment, consider the following 10 guidelines:
Be realistic. Know what you know and what you don’t know. Being an expert in one thing doesn’t make you an expert in everything.
Be skeptical. Just because information is plentiful and easily accessible doesn’t make it correct. Challenge the information you receive. Confirm its accuracy before you draw conclusions.
Be yourself. Form your own thoughts and opinions. What makes you think others know better?
Be smart. Seek the truth. Don’t let those with a personal agenda or bias distort your views. Remember, one or many believers don’t determine the truth or untruth.
Be confident. Some people who question their self-worth lash out at others to boost their self-esteem.
Be judicious. Judging someone is easy. If you think passing judgment makes you look good, think again. It’s more a reflection on you than on others.
Be kind. Some online comments are rude, mean-spirited, and hurtful. Would you say the same thing to a person’s face? Remember, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Be constructive. Some people hit with fists, others with words. If your comment isn’t constructive, why bother?
Be introspective. Look in the mirror. Those who love to find faults in others rarely find faults in themselves.
Be open-minded. Don’t allow filters to distort your thinking, influence your feelings, or impact your behavior.
How Do You See the World?
Filters cloud everyone’s personal judgments. Cases in point: If you worship wealth, power, and fame, you’ll make judgments based on status, position, and material possessions. You’ll view bigger as better, the more the merrier, and better is best. If you’re enamored by beauty, you’ll judge others by their attractiveness, sense of style, and youthful look. If you measure success by social status, you’ll judge others by their popularity, the number of followers they have, and whether they mingle with the rich and famous. You can also be influenced by strongly held beliefs, such as endorsing a strong work ethic, family first, the value of integrity, and the role that faith plays in your life. As such, your judgments are shaped by these views.
“I would never think, dress, or behave that way,” you may think. Therefore, you conclude that folks who don’t conform to your point of view are wrong and require change. But what makes your preferences or beliefs correct? Isn’t everyone free to think, look, or act as they choose — as long as it doesn’t affect others? What gives you, or anyone else, the right to label, ridicule, or bully people if they don’t prescribe to your values?
People who disagree with you are no more stupid
than you are for not agreeing with them.
The next time you pass judgment on someone else, take the shoe-on-the-other-foot test. How would you feel if you were on the receiving end of the judgment? Are you being honest, objective, and fair? Are you being tolerant and kind? The truth is, the only person you are qualified to judge is yourself. Judging others is easy; judging yourself can be a bitter pill to swallow. You be the judge of that.
Do You Judge?
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.
Should Your Viewpoint Matter More than Mine?
You Get What You Expect
Moral Character Matters
Groupthink: What Makes You Think Others Know Better?
This Discussion Has No Room for Debate
Protect Yourself from Bad Information
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Peter Lim says
Many thanks, dear Master
I think a wholesome person doesn’t need to judge others–judgement could be a sign of self-discontent or inadequacy. In Confucianism, we refer to such people as Chun-Tzu, the GENTLEMAN who is an example to others—the opposite is the SIAU-REN–THE SMALL PEOPLE who know not virtue. Confucius’s THE ANALECTS is one of the world’s greatest books. This is mentioned in my THE GENTLE ART OF TAO LEADERSHIP
I would love to read more
Frank Sonnenberg says
I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment.
Some people will do anything to win the acceptance of others. What they fail to realize is that happiness doesn’t come from impressing others; it comes from within. That’s why I strive to be an exemplary role model “Chun-Tzu” and live a life of honor and integrity.
I look forward to reading your book, “The Gentle Art of Tao Leadership” and learning from you.
Thanks for taking the time to write.