How to Stop Being Judgmental

How to Stop Being Judgmental

…and start being compassionate instead.

Jealous Woman

We live in a judgmental society filled with judgmental people.  Take a moment to scroll through your social media newsfeed.  Many of us can no longer accept that if someone disagrees with our opinion it’s okay to disagree. As a matter of a fact it’s more than okay to disagree in a respectful manner and remain friends. The old saying “opposites attract” still holds truth. Unfortunately, the world is evolving and rather than respect a difference of opinion we want to set them straight by annihilating them with a few strokes of the keyboard, and when we are done with that we want to pound our fists on our chest and tell the rest of the world.
Yikes!
Remember when “friends” were capable of agreeing to disagree?
Most of us do not even realize just how much we judge.  We judge a friend’s new boyfriend, the Mom who lost a ton of weight, the Mom who didn’t lose a ton of weight; we look down on our neighbor’s parenting if it’s not how we see fit.  The list is never ending and it needs to stop.
The question is how did we get this way and why?
Toxic social media.

Facebook on iPhone

When used correctly social media can be an incredible method to stay in touch with family and friends. Unfortunately, social media has also given society free reign to say or type whatever they want and hide behind a monitor.  Social media has created a bunch of keyboard cowboys lashing out at complete strangers and judging or misjudging others all because of a difference of opinion or beliefs.  So many of us have completely lost our manners and rules of etiquette when dealing with strangers and in some cases friends and family online.  It needs to stop.  We need to be mindful when speaking to others.  We need to try to be aware of what we are thinking and what we are about to say or type. When you feel the strong urge to “put someone in their place” for a difference opinion online take a moment to stop and think. Would you say what you are about to type to their face? Would you say it to their face with your mother present? How would you feel is someone said what you are about to type to you? If the answers are not in your favor perhaps you should rethink what you about to write. The rules of social media are the same as the rules for face to face conversations. Be kind, be respectful and think before you speak.

Judgmental people are not born, they are made.
friends-argue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A child is not born judgmental unless that behavior is modeled for them.  Empathy and compassion, just like suspicion and judgement, are ingrained in us. People who criticize others are often trying to shift focus from their own issues and behavior by judging the behavior of others. It is easier to talk about someone else’s flaws rather than deal with your own demons. Envy and jealousy are a common cause of judgmental behavior.  We often judge others in areas where we feel most vulnerable.  Try to think of your judgements as jealousy and then take a deep breath and a moment to be thankful for what you have without comparing yourself to others. If we are constantly comparing ourselves with others around us how can we be the best version of ourselves? This is not healthy or constructive behavior.

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Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

journaling

In almost all situations, you really have no idea what is behind other people’s actions. Maybe the toddler in Target is screaming because he or she didn’t sleep well, not because her parents are the worst parents in the world. Maybe the person sitting next to you is overweight or underweight because of a medical condition. Try your best to always consider situations from another point of view.  When you find yourself looking down on other person’s decisions try your best to be more compassionate and understanding of other’s situations. Remember you make the choices you make because of your unique upbringing and life circumstances. Not everyone has the same experiences, challenges and blessings you may have experienced throughout your life. We judge what is different because familiarity is safe. Try your best to always strive to be empathetic and understanding of others.

Stop gossiping.

coffee date

Gossip is a monster that destroys friendships and annihilates trust. It’s more than tempting to judge others when you are with a group of friends and you want to bond over the new girl’s unsightly muffin top. Not only is gossip a sin, it’s mean and cruel. Nothing good ever comes out of gossip, unless you consider the label “wash lady” a compliment. Restrain yourself from gossiping about others. You don’t have to take an ad out in the local paper and make a big announcement, simply excuse yourself from conversations that evolve into gossip. Extricate yourself from the situation if you can’t hold back from joining the peanut gallery. Your friends will hold you to a higher standard when they begin to realize that you refuse to partake in petty gossip. Your friends will begin to label you as trustworthy, kind and compassionate and these are labels that are help with the highest honor.

Watch your language and how you speak to others.

people, couple, friendships, love and love and family

If you have a genuine desire to help someone and give advice try to pay attention to what you say. For example, try to steer clear of telling people what they “should” do, or deem their choice as right or wrong, bad or good. That is, you applying your moral code to someone else’s actions and quite frankly it is up to someone else to decide what is right for them. Start noticing why you might have certain thoughts in that moment. Avoid using words that are overly negative, condescending or critical. For example, instead of telling someone what is wrong for tell them try suggesting what alternatives you use. Instead of telling your friend, “It’s wrong for you to drink sugary drinks, they are disgusting.” Try saying, “I try my best to avoid sugary drinks, and when I do I feel healthier.” It’s all in the delivery of your message. When you strive to be more compassionate and less judgmental your relationships will thrive.
When we feel judged by others we are hurt, so why do we continue to be judgmental towards others?  It’s a vicious cycle that eventually destroys friendships.  Harsh judgment of others destroys empathy.  And empathy is what fuels trust and intimacy.  It is impossible to have a healthy adult relationship without trust.  How can we trust someone when they are constantly judging us?

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The next time you feel the need to be that judgmental friend stop and think:
“Why am I doing this?”
“Would I want my friend judging me?”
“If my friend disagrees with my opinion are they wrong?”
Always think before you speak or type.  Let’s strive to be more supportive and understanding of one another and try to be more empathetic towards others.  Let’s bridge divides by motivating, inspiring and lifting each other up, the world has enough critics.

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