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One of the best changes I’ve made to help me be happier is learning to see judging other people as a red flag. Now, I’m not going to pretend I don’t ever judge other people — I think it’s either a built-in method all humans have, or something we develop because of built-in methods. We all judge people, and I’m not an exception. But I’ve gotten better at noticing when it happens. And recognizing that it’s a sign of something harmful.
How to Let Go of Judging
First be aware that you’re doing it, and see it as a red flag. It’s not horrible to judge, but it’s a good sign that other things are going on that are harming you and others. This takes practice. But there are symptoms that tell you you’re judging — if you feel angry or frustrated or dismissive of someone. If you’re complaining about someone, or gossiping about them. These are signs you’re judging. Recognize what’s going on. After you notice the red flag, pause and be curious. Don’t get mad at yourself, but be curious:
- Why are you judging?
- What expectations do you have that are unrealistic?
- What can you guess about what the other person is really going through?
- Can you find out more? (This isn’t always realistic but sometimes you can.)
- What about the other person can you appreciate?
- Can you get out of your self-centeredness and put yourself in the other person’s shoes?
- Can you imagine a time when you were going through something similar?
Once you’ve done that, ask yourself: How can you help? What does this person need? Sometimes they just need someone to listen, someone to be a friend, someone to not judge, someone to accept them. Sometimes they need more — advice, a guide, a hug.
But you can’t help them from a place of judgment. Only when you let go of the judgment that has arisen, and come to a place of acceptance and curiosity and empathy, can you really help. And incidentally, you’ll be a lot happier in the process.
Hope this helps. Come back tomorrow for more inspiration.