Who Am I To Judge

You know, the funny thing about judgment is—it sneaks up on you when you least expect it, and it’s often disguised as harmless observation or maybe even concern. I’ve been guilty of this more times than I care to admit. It’s like standing on an imaginary pedestal, watching the world go by and ticking boxes in your mind: right, wrong, weird, normal. But recently, I had one of those eye-opening moments that made me step back and ask myself, “Who am I to judge?”

This revelation hit me while I was at the grocery store, of all places. There I was, in the cereal aisle looking for rolled oats, mentally critiquing another shopper’s cart overloaded with what I deemed ‘junk food’. And then it struck me—I had absolutely no context, no backstory what-so-ever. Maybe they were throwing a birthday party, or perhaps they had a tough week and needed some comfort food. Who am I to be making such assumptions?

This moment was a real game-changer for me, and it got me thinking about the journey from being judgmental to developing a deeper sense of understanding. Because really, does it matter what other people choose to do/buy/wear/say? Spoiler alert, it doesn’t—not at all. Let me take you through a few steps that helped me reshape my perspective.

Step 1: Recognize and Acknowledge

The first step (which is the hardest, if you ask me) is recognizing and admitting you’re being judgmental. So much easier said than done. It requires a level of self-awareness that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. For me, it took that moment in the grocery store to see that my judgments were more about me than about anyone else. Once you recognize these moments happening, acknowledge them. It’s okay—we’re all human, and judgment can be a knee-jerk reaction to what we don’t understand.

Step 2: Reflect on the Why

After acknowledging your judgmental thoughts, it’s crucial to reflect on why you felt compelled to be judgy in the first place. Are these thoughts based on your values, insecurities, or perhaps misunderstandings? For me, reflecting on my judgments often revealed more about my own fears and biases than anything else. It was uncomfortable to do, but also incredibly insightful.

Step 3: Cultivate Empathy

Empathy is the antidote to judgment. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with other peoples choices or behaviors, but understanding their possible circumstances or challenges can help dilute your harsh judgments. Their choices are not your choices and everyone’s free to make their own choices (about everything and it has nothing to do with you). Whenever I find myself slipping, I try to imagine the struggles the other person might be facing. This shift in perspective can turn judgment into compassion with ease.

Step 4: Let’s Talk About It

If you’re in a situation where your judgmental thoughts concern someone you interact with, opening up a dialogue can be helpful and enlightening. Ask questions, show genuine interest, and listen. You’d be surprised how much there is to learn about people when you approach them with curiosity rather than judgment. This alone has led to some of the most honest and enriching conversations in my life (and probably saved a few of my friendships/relationships along the way).

Step 5: Practice Makes…Better

Finally my friends, remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. Reducing judgment and increasing understanding takes practice, much like yoga or meditation do. The more you work on it and the more you try, the more natural it becomes. I won’t lie and say I never judge anymore—that would be, well, a judgment in itself – ha! But I’m definitely getting better, and the journey itself has been incredibly rewarding (and freeing) for me. It’s allowed me to meet people where they are without expectation.

So, if you find yourself quick to judge someone my friend, remember that it’s not permanent feeling. With a little effort, a lot of patience, and an open heart, you can shift from judgment to understanding in almost every situation. You might even find that this new way of thinking not only changes how you view others but also how you view yourself (boom!).

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