Do you want to stop judging others today so that you can have more peace and enjoyment in relationships? Judgments are human nature, but they do cause problems, so join me in being willing to adopt a non-judgmental stance.
Remember it is not about perfection it is about progress…
At first, I have to admit I gasped at the unexpected sight of a grown woman in her bright yellow footy pajamas as she was heading into Wal-Mart. I thought to myself, “Who would go to the store like that?” “Oh my, what was she thinking?” I know young teens head out in all kinds of outfits, but this was a woman close to my age, and I am no teen.
The alarms in my head went off – I was in the judgmental mode.
I quickly decided to alter my thinking. So I sat back and reframed my thoughts. I thought to myself, “Hurray for the woman in the yellow pajamas.” “Good for her!” “She made it out of the house today.” Silently thinking to myself, “I wish I had the gumption to head to the store in that outfit; it must be nice to feel free enough to be yourself.”
I realized I had made some progress with my desire for a non-judgmental attitude. This time I knew right away, that I wasn’t the holder of the truth nor elected to be the fashion police. I had no way of knowing why she was dressed the way she was.
I let my mind wander – “Maybe it was dress up day at work, a dare from someone, or maybe she lives with depression, and it took all of her strength just to rise out of bed and head to the store.” Another thought was, “She may have been up all night with a loved one that was sick and desperately needed to purchase something to alleviate their suffering.”
But the bottom line was, “Maybe she likes to dress in pajamas and who am I to say it is wrong?”
One might ask – did it even matter what I thought or how it was interpreted? Well yes, it does as we discovered last week – judgments are problematic for us. If you missed the post, click here to read it: Why Is Judging Others A Problem For Us?
I decided her reasons for the way she was dressed belonged to her. I went about my day smiling at the lady in the yellow pajamas with a sense of peace that permeated my heart. After all…..
A non-judgmental stance helps us to see the best in others and isn’t that what we want others to see in us?
So how do we go about taking on a nonjudgmental stance?
Well, it takes time and practice. We will never attain perfection but getting close will make a huge difference. Below are steps that will move you closer to become less judgmental.
Taking a Non-Judgmental Stance
Notice the judgment:
The minute you begin to hear yourself judging – STOP and push it away. If you aren’t sure when you are judging look for words like good, bad, right, wrong, unfair, fair, never, always, no one, everyone, should or shouldn’t. If one is using these words most likely, they have dipped into the judging pool.
Pause for a moment before letting your mind jump to judgments. Just observe what is going on.
Describe the facts without adding any interpretations:
Learn to state the facts as you see them by describing what you see without adding an evaluation. Example: “He ran the stop sign” instead of “Did you see that idiot run the stop sign?”
Give the benefit of the doubt:
What is it going to hurt if you assume that everyone is doing the best they can. It is impossible for someone to know why we do what we do so let us extend the same courtesy to others.
Look for the goodness in others:
Actively look for the goodness in others. We are all flawed so focusing on what is good will bring us more joy.
Let go of Self-Judgment:
We are our own worst enemy when it comes to judgments. As we stop judging ourselves, we will become less judgmental of others.
Accept feelings, thoughts, and emotions:
Learn how to state your feelings, thoughts, and emotions, without judging them. In turn, do the same for others. Just simply name them. “I am afraid,” instead of, “I shouldn’t be afraid to stay alone at night.”
Non-verbal speaks volumes:
Watch your tone and body language. We can judge so quickly with a roll of the eyes or an inflection of the voice that says something different than the words we are speaking.
Leave it to God:
Acknowledge God is the judge, not us. Ask him to help you become aware of where judgments have gotten in the way of your relationships.
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time;
wait until the Lord comes.
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and
will expose the motives of the heart.
At that time each will receive their praise from God.
I Corinthians 4:5 NIV
You may be skeptical of adopting a non-judgmental stance, so I encourage you just to give it a try and let the experience speak for itself. Take the steps above and apply them this week.
I am confident that taking on a non-judgmental stance will be worth it. It will bring your more peace in your present day moments and joy in your relationships with others.
I would love to hear how taking on a non-judgmental stance has helped you in your relationships and given you more peace?
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