We’ve all heard that judging other people is not a nice thing to do. Yet, most of us judge others or ourselves to some degree and likewise have been on the receiving end of harmful judgment at some point. But the reason we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be involved in judgment is not just because it is unkind but because it actually has a negative spiritual effect on our lives.
We tend not to realize that what we think, do, or say affects our experience of life. The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that wherever we focus our consciousness is what we attract. When we see darkness in other people, we awaken that darkness within ourselves. If today you judged 10 different people, whether it be for their behavior, their choices, their beliefs, or any other aspect of their being, you have brought 10 elements of darkness into your own life.The more you judge others, the more judgment you bring upon yourself.
Here are 4 tips to start judging less and start loving more:
1. The more room you make for self-improvement, the less space you have for judgment. A person who is dedicated to working on themselves doesn’t have time or energy to judge other people.
Review your past week – how many times did you think or speak from a place of judgment? Those judgmental thoughts are stealing fulfillment and contentment from your own life. Conversely, how many kind thoughts or words did you share?
Focus on your own spiritual growth, becoming a more giving, caring, sharing person, and you will find little room for judgment.
2. The way you judge others reveals your own areas for improvement. Judgment stems from our relationship with ourselves. The people we judge can be like mirrors that show us what we are unable or unwilling to see about ourselves. Someone who is really content with their life doesn’t have the inclination to judge other people. You cannot judge people harshly unless you are doing so to yourself, which is far more painful.
A bully on a playground picks on other kids as a way to avoid being picked on himself, often due to some kind of insecurity. Even as adults, we still subconsciously model this behavior. Judging others is a way to deflect how we feel about ourselves.
The good news is that this can help us grow. Think about the people that you judge the most. Ask yourself why you are judging them and how that reflects something within you. Is it insecurity about some aspect of your life or perhaps jealousy because of the lack you feel in some area? Turn moments of judgment into opportunities for self-reflection. This will not only help you stop judging others but will also show you the areas for growth within yourself.
3. Ask yourself if you are really helping or if you’re just judging. We are never short of material to judge other people. Sometimes, it feels justified. We have a burning desire to say something loudly without any restraint in order to “help.” We may think we are helping someone when really, we’re just criticizing them and tearing them down.
It’s hard to separate your own desires from someone else’s when you think you are right. In these moments, ask yourself: “are my comments helpful?” and “am I coming from a place of true care?” Be honest! More often than not, you’ll find that your “advice” and “expertise” and just ways of showing your superiority or putting someone else down.
4. Don’t judge yourself too harshly - you can’t grow without failure. Harsh judgment isn’t something we only reserve for other people. Often we are hardest on ourselves. We get down on ourselves when we make mistakes, we criticize the way we look and act, and we hold ourselves to impossible standards. Only angels are meant to be perfect – as humans, we are meant to live messy lives and find the Light in the darkest of places.
You can never learn until you first fail at something. When a child learns to ride a bike, they aren’t trying to look graceful or be perfect; they are focused on learning something new. Every time they fall, they get back up until eventually they master the skill. The same is true of all areas of our life. We are meant to make mistakes. Our work in this life is fall and get back up, learning from the failure.
The mistake we make is thinking we are supposed to live perfect lives. Then when we make a mistake, we allow it to defeat us, never growing or learning. You will never grow until you embrace your failures. Remember, your lowest moments are just the beginning of your highest highs.
Changing judgmental behaviors is a life’s work. It takes practice. By focusing on self-reflection and self-improvement, you can make strides every day towards becoming a less judgmental person. The less you judge, the happier, more fulfilled your life will become.