7 Tips on how to stop being judgemental

If you have that feeling of, “I’m better than thou,” creeping up on you while comparing yourself to someone else, try the following tips

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We are all judgmental. Yes, even you. I certainly am, many times. I think its human nature. Human beings are prone to judge and evaluate situations, each other, and even ourselves. This is a survival mechanism -- something we do to avoid danger and prevent harm from happening to us.

And yet, while it is in our nature to be judgmental, I don’t think it’s always useful to us. We look down on others, as if we are so much better … and that creates division between people.

Think about it for a second: we see someone, and based on their looks or actions, we pass judgment on them. Not good judgment, either. Usually without even knowing the person. And that’s it — that’s usually the extent of our interaction with that person. We don’t make an effort to get to know the person, or understand them, or see whether our judgment was right or not.

And let’s consider what happens when we pass judgment on people we do know. We see something they do, and get angry at it, or disappointed in the person, or think worse of them. We judge, without understanding. And that’s the end of it we don’t try to find out more, and communicate with these person.

However, If you have that feeling of, “I’m better than thou,” creeping up on you while comparing yourself to someone else, try the following tips:

Don’t pass judgment. If you find yourself being judgmental, stop yourself. This takes a greater awareness than we usually have, so the first step (and an important one) is to observe your thoughts for a few days, trying to notice when you’re being judgmental. This can be a difficult step. Remind yourself to observe first.

Understand. Instead of judging someone for what he’s done or how he looks, try instead to understand the person. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine their background. If possible, talk to them. Find out their backstory. Everyone has one. If not, try to imagine the circumstances that might have led to the person acting or looking like they do. We don’t know the pain they’re working through.

Cultivate compassion. Try to be kind to yourself and the people around you. That’s what we need to be for others and allow others to be for us. Be a loving mentor. Be a supportive friend. Be an encouraging counselor. Be a shoulder to cry and lean on.

Reframe your thoughts. One of the most important life mastery skills is to notice what you are noticing. Sometimes all it takes is a slight shift in thinking to turn judgement into positive thinking. For example, instead of thinking that brother is lazy and doesn’t pray his solah, tell yourself maybe he doesn’t understand why observing prayer is so important and try to enlighten him.  The way you think has everything to do with how you judge people and situations.

Avoid people who are overly judgemental. It's a simple fact that people who spend a significant amount of time together tend to pick up each other’s behavior and characters. If you have friends or acquaintances who are harshly critical of other people, chances are you will begin to do the same. Try to surround yourself with positive people with good energy.

Think about your sins and shortcomings. We all have our own inadequacies and deficiencies, why not focus on that. And if you feel you are perfect and sinless then remember the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “No one with the slightest particle of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” (Bukhari) Sometimes the actions we see others engaged in may be sins, but may not be as serious as the problem of arrogance.

Try to say at least 10 positive things about the people around you every day. When you make an effort to find the good in people, you train your mind to be compassionate and caring. In this way, you nurture your heart and create a positive energy that will benefit not only yourself, but everyone around you.

Too much judgement has a negative effect on your thoughts, emotions and even your physical health. Anxiety, anger and anguish all lead to high blood pressure and heart problems. In this way, judgement prevents you from living a healthy lifestyle that is full of well-being, joy and peace.

Compassion is the key to breaking the pattern of being overly judgemental. When you find yourself being too harsh or critical towards yourself or others, try to think positive, kind and caring thoughts, and you may just find that you have more energy, feel lighter and stronger, and can accomplish anything you put your mind to.

Be like the Prophet ﷺ. Engulf your heart so deeply in caring for people’s happiness in both worlds that it simply does not have space for judgment or arrogance. And perhaps, because of your sincere acceptance of another, you’ll soon find that very person being a means of guidance for your own self.

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