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How You Can Deal With Highly Judgmental People

How You Can Deal With Highly Judgmental People

Judgmental people are everywhere. You might even be one yourself and not know it! But regardless of whether you judge or not, we all certainly recognize when others judge us. They are negative, draining, and they don’t make you feel good. So what can you do to cope?

Here are 10 tips that will help you keep your sanity:

1. Don’t take anything personally.

This is a difficult one for most people. We usually assume that someone is doing something because of us. But the truth is that highly judgmental people criticize everyone and everything – especially themselves. Sure, they might think they know everything or act like they are God’s gift to the world, but trust me – they don’t really feel that way. They act this way all the time, under all circumstances, with all people. So remember this: It’s not YOU … it’s THEM.

“Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”  -Don Miguel Ruiz

2. Be compassionate.

Nasty, judgmental people are made, not born. Think about what could have possibly happened to this person in their life to make them this way. A child doesn’t become judgmental unless that behavior is modeled for them. So maybe their parents judged everything too – including them. You never know what kind of negative message they received about themselves growing up. So while it doesn’t make their behavior any more tolerable, remembering this will at least help you have a little bit of empathy for them.

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“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

3. Look at it as a life lesson.

I think life is all about learning. If we don’t keep learning how to be a better person, then what’s the point of it all? So if you view judgmental people as just another life lesson, it will help. View every interaction with them as a “test” that you need to pass. Are you going to respond with negativity? Or are you going to rise above your instinct to attack them back and decide to be the better person? You always have a choice. So work on choosing positive responses.

“I am not someone who is ashamed of my past. I’m actually really proud. I know I made a lot of mistakes, but they, in turn, were my life lessons.”  -Drew Barrymore

4. Don’t sink to their level.

Like I just said, when someone criticizes us, our first instinct is to become defensive and protect ourselves. Or maybe you just attack back. But doing this makes you no better than them. If you don’t like their behavior, then don’t give them the power to change who you are. Don’t let their negativity turn you into a cranky, crabby person who plays the judgmental game right along with them. Choose to be the classy person and walk away with your head held high.

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” -Coco Chanel

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5. Look beyond the obvious.

Most judgmental people are also critical of themselves. That might be hard to believe, but we have no way of knowing all the negative thoughts that go through their heads about themselves. For example, I knew a guy once who was criticizing all the overweight people a beach. He said they had no right to “flaunt” their flabby bodies so everyone had to see them. But guess what? He had severe body image issues himself. So his words were just a reflection of how he really felt about himself.

“The struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.”   -Oprah Winfrey

6. See them as if they were a child.

We don’t expect children to know everything. That’s why we tolerate and accept bad behavior from them more often than we do from adults. We think that once a person grows up, they should know better. They should have figured it all out. But that’s not how it works. Many adults don’t quite “get it” yet. So if you view them as a child – someone who is still learning and growing and doesn’t know any better – then it will be easier to be more compassionate.

“It is easier to build strong children then to repair broken men.” -Frederick Douglass

7. Reframe it.
Maybe the judgmental person is your boss. It’s obviously difficult to have to work with someone like that eight hours a day five days a week. But maybe you should focus on the fact that you even have a job. Or that other people you work with are really awesome. The judgmental person does not have to be the focus of your life unless you allow it. Put their behavior into context and try to look for the positives in the situation – or even in them.

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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” -Winston Churchill

8. Have an attitude of gratitude.

Be thankful that YOU are not a bitter, judgmental person like they are. Be grateful that perhaps your parents didn’t criticize and tear you down like their parents did to them. Be happy that other people like you more than they like them. You can always find something to be grateful for in every situation – even if it is a difficult one. Anything can be seen as a life lesson if you choose to see it that way.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
-Melody Beattie

9. Focus your attention on other people who love and support you.

If you can avoid or remove the judgmental person from your life, then do it! Even if the judgmental person is your own mother, that doesn’t mean you have to talk to her every day. You can put distance between yourself and them. If the person is your boss, try to fly under the radar as much as possible. Maybe the person will forget about criticizing you and then go pick on someone else.

“You have to surround yourself with people who love you and want the best for you.”  -Mena Suvari

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10. Don’t believe them.

Just because a person judges you don’t mean that what they are saying is right! Just because someone calls you stupid, doesn’t mean that it’s true! Just because someone calls you fat, it doesn’t mean other people think the same thing! One thing I know for sure in life is this: there are very few facts. Most of it is just someone’s opinion. So don’t confuse facts with opinion.

Here is the takeaway: don’t play into their negativity. Don’t take that on. Most judgmental people take pride in tearing other people down in attempt to feel better about themselves. But don’t let them drag you down with them.

“If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.” – Michael Jordan

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is a communication professor, dating/relationship and success coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

Practical Advice for Overcoming Problems in INFP Relationships Learn the Different Types of Love (and Better Understand Your Partner) How to Become a Motivational Speaker and Influence Millions of People Why It’s Okay to Hit the Wall and How to Overcome It Fast Are You In a Verbally Abusive Relationship? (And What to Do About It)

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Last Updated on December 16, 2018

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:

1. Listen to good music.

Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.

2. Don’t watch television passively.

Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…

3. Don’t do anything passively.

Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)

Time is incredibly valuable.

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4. Be aware of negativity

A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.

5. Make time to be alone.

I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.

Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.

Take some time to figure out who you are.

6. Exercise.

This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.

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Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.

Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.

7. Have projects.

Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.

You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).

8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.

That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.

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One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.

9. Change your definition of happiness.

Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.

10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.

I get varying reactions to this one.

The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.

There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com

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I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).

On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.

11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.

Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.

I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.

For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)

12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.

It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.

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