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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Why Constantly Judging Others Is No Good For You

Why Constantly Judging Others Is No Good For You

When it comes to judging other people, I think it’s inherent in all of us to do it to some degree. But do you know how judging others impacts yourself and the things in life you want?

Let’s explore what judging others can do when you do it correctly or incorrectly, and I will share some easy techniques to control your judgmental desires.

Why Do We Judge People?

We have intelligent brains, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I see it with clients I coach every day who realize that their mind does everything to protect them.

It’s not you who’s doing the judging. Instead, it’s your brain – usually the subconscious part – that’s doing all the work. You are just going along with it, not challenging it. (Learn about the brain’s mistakes here: 7 Mistakes Your Brain Makes Every Day – And How To Fix Them)

If you go back to our prehistoric ancestors, it was our bigger brain and ability to judge, decipher, and conceptualize things that ensured our safety and existence in the 21st century. As the University of California’s evolutionary theorist, Rob Boyd, said, “Think about what is necessary to live in Alaska. You’d need a kayak, a harpoon, and a float not to sink. Nobody invents a kayak. People learn the proper way to make a kayak from others.” [1]

Hence, some judgment will always be useful. You need to be mindful of how, when, where, and why you are giving that judgment.

Among the many reasons why we judge people, we mainly do it to stay safe. When you walk down the street, for instance, your brain is working on ensuring your safety, so you judge others’ actions before they do anything. That’s obvious, right? But what will you do when it happens at work or more subtly in your life?

Here’re 2 examples with my clients that show why judging others is bad for anyone:

The Corner Cutter

I want to share a story about my client, who was so fed up with a team member who always finished work at 5 P.M. sharp and was notoriously known for cutting corners. No one seemed to have an issue with it except my client. It infuriated my client and damaged their career. They claimed that the corner-cutting team member was the problem, but it wasn’t. It was them.

You see, you could never change other people, but my client’s brain made them think that their career success depended on what everyone else was doing. That is a fast step towards disaster. It’s impossible to get everyone to work in the same way as you do. Eventually, my client convinced the company to coach their team. We discovered that no one saw this person as a corner cutter, though. Seething, my client reported dozens of occasions in which their team member didn’t do their tasks and judged the person on their personal standards.

When I coached the whole team together, we could see the disparity between what my client thought was going on and what was genuinely happening.

The corner cutter ended up asking, “Do you read everything everyone sends you? How do you get anything done?”

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My client exclaimed, “Doesn’t everyone do that?!”

While the client saw a lack of precision and carelessness in the corner-cutting team member, other people were merely focusing on their area of expertise and letting others get on with their jobs. Thankfully, my client is now back on track and achieving more because judging others undoubtedly wore them down.

Being on a Pedestal

People often looked at me in horror whenever I said, “Everyone is doing the best that they can with what they perceive they have.”

It’s tough to see bad things happening in your life and not judge others based on your own standards, but remember that not everyone is you. Our brains jump into automatic overdrive and tell us they are!

Imagine everyone is standing on a tall column like a pedestal made up of lots of blocks. Each block comes in the forms of:

  • Experiences
  • Your beliefs at this time
  • Your values (which can also change)

Now, imagine removing all the matching blocks on the pedestal. Can you see how you can be left with people who are more superior or inferior to you?

Let’s apply this idea in a real-world scenario. Another client of mine was annoyed with anyone who messed up at work. Some awful things happened to them as a young adult, and it taught them always to do the right thing. Never break the law, forever abide by rules, and if someone tells you to do something, you do it!

When people didn’t live the same way as they did, my client felt disrespected, unloved, undermined, and unappreciated. Could you imagine what impact it had on their life and success?

Though the client tried to hide it from us, we helped them see that the people around them didn’t share the same experiences, so they couldn’t see the world through their eyes. The first sign that my client was changing was seeing them walk in the room, grinning.

“I didn’t feel crossed today,” the client said. When I asked what they meant, they explained that they got behind the wheels without ranting about others’ poor driving skills.

One of the little exercises I set for the client was to imagine that the person driving in front of them was not an idiot or buffoon (their words, not mine). Instead, it was someone who was driving for the first time after getting involved in a big crash, a sick child who’s on the way to the hospital, or a parent who made a cake for their daughter’s wedding. It helped them change their perspectives about why people do things.

“When you judge others, you do not define them — you define yourself.” — Earl Nightingale

How to Stop Judging Others

A lot of people struggling to stop judging others tend to be control freaks. (Mind you; being a control freak is not a bad thing. It can be an excellent thing if you can manage it well). Control freaks like things a certain way and are good at getting positive results in life, so they feel as if their actions are validated.

The issue is that it doesn’t happen to everyone, so you can easily find yourself rubbed the wrong way. That’s when they say things such as:

  • “It has to be done that way.”
  • “They never do what I ask.”
  • “I could never do that.”
  • “That’s impossible.”

It is typically enough for me to call out a client regarding the finality of their words and try to shift their perception about people, their actions, and outcomes in life so that it does not become a problem again.

When you use words with finality, your brain sees the ultimate end destination and doesn’t notice any possibilities around it.

Of all the things you can do to make a judgment not an issue, you may look out for the assumptions you make in your head about others, what is possible, and what you think about your personal and professional life.

1. Communicate

If you struggle with the above concept, communicate it to others. There is a difference between gossiping and wanting to understand something. I was talking to someone who had a similar hardship to my family member. They told me it was impossible to talk to my relative. I explained how my conversations with the said relative started with things like, “I would like to share how I feel about something” instead of what my friend was saying, which was, “Why do you have to do that all the time?!”

Be mindful of your phrasing and style of language. If you are looking to remove judgment from your relationships, ditch the “why” word. It adds blame and guilt to the question. But if it goes like, “What do you think the reasons are…,” it takes the responsibility away from you and enables you to have difficult conversations with someone.

2. Try to Understand What Others ACTUALLY Need

Often, when we go through something, we get judged because of it. If you want to see this in action, tell people at work, at the gym, or home, “I had a bad sleep again last night.”

Suddenly, you will be inundated by people who want to offer the perfect solution for you. I know this because a good few years on a chemo medication for my lupus robbed me of sleep, and I became fascinated by how many ideas people had, especially when they were making assumptions about why I couldn’t sleep. Some of them were:

  • “You need to get off your phone.”
  • “You work too hard.”
  • “You don’t do anything to relax.”
  • “You can’t drink coffee in the afternoon.”

The list could go on and on and on and rarely were they right. Those folks did not even bother to ask if I was on a medication that was notorious for causing severe insomnia. Still, I didn’t get mad at them because the bottom line was that these people were just trying to help. When you realize that, you can reshape the way you see the world.

Another excellent example of that is a new parent. Their baby is crying in a public space, and they fear that everyone thinks that they have poor parenting skills. The irony is that it’s the very opposite thought that most people have, which usually sounds like, “That poor Mom/Dad! I’ve been there — no sleep, loving their beautiful bundle, but worried sick that I would mess up or, worse, miss something wrong!” Most new parents are not quick to realize that bringing a baby to a restaurant lets them earn comments like, “Oh bless, new parents! It’s a hard time, but it’s amazing!”

3. Reframe Your Mindset to See How Others Judge You

Have you thought about how judging someone or being judged ruins your life?

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“We don’t judge people when we feel good about ourselves.” — Brene Brown

Keep in mind that judging people is done to keep us safe. We want to help others, even though we really can’t help ourselves. If we don’t wade in with a view, we could look like we don’t care. At the most basic level, humans need other humans.

People struggle with others’ opinions, especially when they are told to move on with their life and get over something. That’s easier said than done for some people, though. By inserting yourself in their case, you stop the other person from finding the best solutions for them.

You may bounce out of bed after a breakup, for instance, and think, “They aren’t holding me back!” Meanwhile, others may need time to overcome their grief and reflect before they move on.

I see my clients in this situation all the time. Some want to concentrate on the future and define what they want. Others need to go back to understand what they got and didn’t want. Which one do you identify with?

Judging what you would do based on what someone has to do is ludicrous. So, curb the voice that wants to say, “If that happened to me, I’d get up and keep going. You can’t give up now; otherwise, they’d win.” Lucky for you, you don’t know how to deal with it because you will not go through the same ordeal. If you are in doubt, it is best to listen and keep any advice to yourself.

4. Challenge Yourself to Look Beyond the Obvious

The pandemic has done many awful things, but I feel like it has helped to level the playing field. If everyone is the size of a small box on your screen, and you can’t see their footwear, smartphone, clothing, watch, etc., you lose your ability to view another person.

Challenge yourself with these statements:

They drive a new car. They must be good at their job.”

(Someone could be up to their eyes in debt, struggling with their life and scared that people would discover who they were or who they thought they were!)

They have no pride in themselves. Their clothes are always screwed up or dirty!”

(A person could be a full-time carer who worked from 9 to 5 and was lucky to get five minutes to themselves a week. In reality, are they not more dedicated and hardworking than most people you work with?)

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“They are so together and always make time for me no matter how busy they are. I wish I could be that brilliant.”

(Someone could be harboring deep fears, thinking, “I’ve got to help everyone.” Unfortunately, they are nearly burnt out, depressed, and struggling to function because they fear what others will think of them if they don’t do everything that others need and want.)

This is how judging people can be so dangerous.

But is there a time when you can judge others?

When Should You Judge Others?

The same reasons that can stop people from speaking up in a crowd help fuel domestic violence, discrimination, and injustices in the world. As the founder of The Business Womans Network, we have helped those affected by domestic violence many times.[2]

In every case, it wasn’t just the victim who feared being judged — the people around them feared receiving judgments, too. We often heard how neighbors or friends “had their suspicions” but did nothing. They did not want to judge others and assumed that everything was alright.

In people’s defense, new research suggests that our brain causes this bystander effect.[3] Interestingly, it proves that we need to look to the world around us — our network of connections — to create a judgment. Then, ask yourself, “How are others responding to it?”

If something feels off in their response, your brain may be up to no good as it tries to ensure that you fit in.

But it is in “not fitting in the world” that things get better. Sometimes, speaking up is not at all easy. Judging others on a new standard is a big challenge, so build your confidence first and keep going no matter what.

Rosa Parks, Emmeline Pankhurst, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi – our history is fuelled by people who judged and decided that it wasn’t good enough.

I’ve helped individuals speak up against workplace bullying and discrimination. On every occasion, everyone knew what’s going on, but only my client had the preferred outcome, strategy, communication skills, mindset, and action plan to make a change.

Remember: finding the judgment can keep you safe, but it can also keep you stuck.

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More on Understanding Judgments

Featured photo credit: Adi Goldstein via unsplash.com

Reference

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Mandie Holgate

International Coach, Best Selling Author & Speaker inspiring people around the world to success.

How to Control the Uncontrollable In Life 6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them) Self Awareness Is Underrated: Why the Conscious Mind Leads to Happiness 20 Life Coping Skills That Will Help You Stay Strong How to Effectively Set Goals in Life to Get Where You Really Want to Be

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive

What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive

In order for you to change your life, you must first change the way you think. If you are new to self-improvement, this is something that you must understand. Looking back at the various figures who have made dramatic changes in their life, there was a point where they had to shift toward positive thinking.

This concept isn’t as simple as it looks on the surface. Much like any habit, there are particular ways to go about tapping into the power of positive thinking and to be thinking positively on a daily basis.

What Is Positive Thinking?

Positive thinking is precisely what it says. It’s a series of habits and thought patterns that make you see things in a more positive light. One common example is seeing the failures you experience as lessons and opportunities to grow.

Positive thinking encompasses a number of things and impacts our lives in big ways. Positive thinking can create changes such as:

  • The way you talk to people both online and in person.
  • The people you attract.
  • How you inspire and encourage other people both directly and indirectly.
  • Your productivity methods and overall working capabilities.
  • Your stress level and how you manage it.

From this description, you can say that thinking positive is much like a lifestyle. The more positive you are, the more good things will appear around you, even in situations where you experience setbacks or challenges.

Another way to look at positive thinking is the addition of good thinking habits replacing bad ones. For example, how many times have you said “I can’t do that task” or “I’ll never achieve this goal of mine”? By definition, thinking this way will guarantee that you’ll avoid that task and put less effort toward that goal. On the other hand, by thinking “I can do that task” or “Someday, I’ll achieve that goal,” you’ll be motivated to work towards those objectives.

How Does Positive Thinking Change Your Life?

For those who have been in the self-improvement world, you can tell from the points above how your life can be impacted. Things like improved productivity, being more approachable, and more can create ripple effects throughout your life.

Getting into more details, these things can translate to larger things in your life. Some changes that positive thinking will do to your life are things like:

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  • Being able to achieve goals consistently when you set them.
  • A dramatic change in your attitude.
  • Using money in a more intelligent manner to the point you’ll be earning more.
  • Having more like-minded friends.
  • Being more generous and kind to others.
  • Living a longer life.[1]

Positive thinking from this viewpoint can sound like it’s too good to be true, though this is no simple task. It’s not a matter of flipping a switch, and suddenly you’ve learned how to think positive. That said, these are good incentives to be working towards, and there is research behind these things being true.

How to Tackle Negative Thoughts

Another key aspect to positive thinking is that positive thinking isn’t about eliminating all negativity from your life[2]. Our lives do have negative events; you’ll make mistakes, fail, and have setbacks. However, it’s important that you strike a balance between being aware of reality and accepting your surroundings and thinking optimistically.

There is no right or wrong method to pick from, but being able to limit negative self-talk in various areas of your life comes down to a few simple techniques. Here are some examples.

Follow a Precise Guide to Cultivating a Positive Mindset

The guide involves looking for feedback, paying attention to your thought patterns, and rearranging them to accept negative emotions. Other guides will bring you through the process by getting you to believe you can change your attitude all the way to avoiding toxic positivity.

Learn About Your Thinking Style

Are you a logical thinker or an emotional one? Do you focus on the short-term or the long-term? Do you naturally sway toward the positive or the negative? Identifying all of these things can help you get a handle on how your mind naturally works before you go about changing it.

One way to tap into your thinking style is to learn about how you are motivated. Check out Lifehack’s Free Assessment: What’s Your Motivation Style? One you know your motivation style, you’ll begin to understand yourself and how you think on a daily basis.

Create a Curiosity Around Negative Thoughts

Looking at negative thoughts as something interesting instead of as something damaging is a good step toward giving them less power. When a negative thought comes around, try writing it down and contemplating it for a few moments.

Why did that thought come about, and why are you looking at that particular thing in a negative way? How can you change that thought into something positive?

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10 Simple Habits to Practice Positive Thinking

The methods mentioned above are ways to nullify the impact of negative thoughts. There will be times where you will still think negatively, but the impact will lessen. This is especially true when you incorporate various habits into your life to improve your positive thinking.

Here are some things to consider to help you cultivate a positive mindset.

1. Do One Act of Kindness Daily

Making someone smile has as much of an impact on them as it does for you. Doing good things feels good, which is why many of us feel compelled to make donations to non-profit organizations. The act of charity warms our hearts.

But you can make more of an impact by doing something nice for someone else. Smile and say hello to someone, give someone a compliment, or help them out in a small way if you see them having issues.

2. Laugh More

Along a similar vein, positive emotions cause us to shift our attitude, and laughter is another big one to consider. Laughter shouldn’t be forced though, so make a point of being around people who can make you genuinely laugh. This can be a comedian, a friend or family member, or anyone who can get you to chuckle.

3. Read More Positive Material

Our social media diet is one of the largest influencers of our mood. That, along with television or other video content. If you’re watching or reading content that makes you angry, negative, or hateful, that behavior is going to project onto everything else you do and get in the way of positive thinking.

To change that, you must change how you are consuming content and what you gravitate toward. Make a point of reading some positive news and developments. Another option is to read or watch videos that focus on things that you’re passionate about.

4. Set Goals

Another solid method is to set goals and work to achieve them. This can tackle a lot of negative thoughts as people often set goals and give up due to negative thoughts most of the time.

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Setting goals and striving to achieve them on a regular basis allows you to build the framework to overcome those negative thought hurdles. You’ll eventually stop making excuses and focus on the task at hand.

5. Have a Strong Morning Ritual

In general, what you do first thing in the morning determines the energy you put toward the rest of your day. We all have our usual routine in the morning, and many times that routine doesn’t put people in a space that’s conducive to positive thinking.

My recommendation is to mix up your morning ritual to include some positive things. Examples are doing some exercises, showing yourself some self-love through gratitude and positive affirmations, or maybe doing something you enjoy, such as completing a puzzle or writing a poem.

6. Ask the Proper Questions

Negativity is something that we have to accept, but how we change the impact of it can be through questions. The catch is that you need to be asking the right kind of questions first.

For example, if you’re a pessimist, the questions you’ll be asking yourself are negative. “Why did this happen to me?” “Why do bad things happen to me whenever I try something?” These are negative because you’re painting yourself as a victim, and it does nothing for your mindset but slow you down.

Instead, start asking questions like:

  • What’s one good thing about this situation?
  • What is it that I can learn from these events and circumstances?
  • What is one small thing I can do right now to start fixing this?

By asking these questions, you’ll start to give your brain some tasks to ponder over to solve this situation and gain something from these experiences.

7. Create a Positive Environment

Consuming positive content is one way of creating a positive environment, but there are other things that can influence it. In general, creating an environment where you can be positive is key to development. This means:

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  • Do the things that bring joy and energy into your life.
  • Be around positive people who lift you up.
  • Continue to strengthen that environment by reinforcing standards for what’s acceptable for you and what isn’t.

8. Meditate

Meditation is another morning activity to consider and one to do overall if you want to practice positive thinking. Meditation provides a number of benefits when done on a regular basis.

Meditation provides you with an opportunity to look inside yourself and see what makes you tick. It helps you to look at thought patterns and to begin rearranging them. It’s a powerful method because it adds perspective to who you really are and what you truly think[3].

From there you can make drastic changes by simply meditating.

9. Write Down Your Thoughts and Tackle the Issues

Similar to meditating, consider jotting down the thoughts that come to mind whenever you feel stressed. During these periods, you’ll see that when you’re stressed, you’ll be writing down things that cause you to feel stressed. It could be something extreme, or it could be a series of small things you need to do that have piled up.

The idea is to write out those thoughts and the next day begin working on fixing those problems to make room for a more positive outlook.

10. Read Positive Thinking Books

The last method to boosting positive thinking is to be reading more books on the subject. Positive thinking is a subject that has been researched heavily, and there is a lot of information on it. You’ll find a lot of it overlapping or having similar elements, but it doesn’t hurt to pick up a few books and read what the author has to say on the subject.

While reading articles is great, a book has more room to add more details and perspectives that aren’t otherwise there when reading an article.

Final Thoughts

Positive thinking is not something that can be done overnight. It’s something that takes time as it involves rewiring your very way of thinking and reinforcing habits. It’s not an easy path, but it can lead to many avenues opening up to you in various ways. The road to success and to great change is through a positive and developing mindset for better physical and mental health.

More Tips on Positive Thinking

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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