“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung
How often do you judge people throughout the day? Whether you realize it or not it’s probably pretty often. Oftentimes these snap judgments are a knee-jerk reaction to the world around you. They tend to crop up before you even realize it. Over time they become an inner monologue interjecting commentary to everything you experience during the day.
Think about it for a moment. What are your thoughts like while you scroll through social media? Are you judgmental during your daily commute? How do you look at strangers while out and about? Maybe you even pass judgments on close friends and family, too.
You might not even realize how often you’re judging people, situations, and experiences until you start paying attention. After you read this, try to be aware of how frequently you pass judgment for the following hour or two. You’ll probably notice it’s a pretty common occurrence.
These automatic and almost constant judgments come with a high price to pay, though. They interfere with your connections to others, hold you back from experiences, and keep you from living a fulfilling, meaningful life. It’s hard to fully engage with or understand someone or something when you’re busy judging it.
Learning how to stop being judgmental is the path to mental freedom. While you probably judge things more often than you realize, you can also let go of judgment easier than you think, too. It takes ongoing practice and awareness but it’s worth the time. How can you let go of judgment?
Start paying attention to your thoughts
The first step of learning to let go of judgment is becoming aware of your judgments. You can’t let go of them if you don’t realize they’re there, after all. You need to start paying attention to your thoughts and recognize how often you judge the people, situations, and experiences in your life. Gaining awareness of your capacity for judgment allows you to interrupt these automatic thoughts. Once you recognize the things you judge the most you can work on letting them go.
Everyone is doing their best
Try to remember that everyone is doing their best. More often than not people have good intentions. People aren’t out to get you or ruin your day. Problems arise when someone’s best interest clashes with your own. Other times people have a lapse in their decision making and you happen to be there to witness it. Recognizing that everyone is doing their best encourages you to maintain compassion for others. Think about it – you can’t be perfect all the time so how can you expect anyone else to be?
You’re probably judging yourself, too
Oftentimes people who judge others harshly also turn that same penchant for criticism toward themselves. Is this the case for you? What does your inner critic have to say about you? Are you kind to yourself when you make mistakes or do you tend to tear yourself down, too? As you pay attention to your judgments of others, also pay attention to your judgments of yourself. You won’t be able to let go of judgment of others if you don’t let go of your self-judgment, too.
Separate from social media
Sometimes social media is a breeding ground for judgmental thoughts. It’s difficult not to scroll through your various feeds and compare yourself to the people you follow. Whether they’re positive or negative comparisons, comparing yourself to others is never a healthy practice. Using other people as a yardstick to measure your own progress is usually never a fair comparison. Everyone has their own story and experiences. Social media feeds are only the highlight reel of a person’s life. If you’re learning how to stop being judgmental, separating from social media for some time may help.
Set a reminder on your phone
It’s easy to forget that you’re trying to build awareness at the beginning of your practice. Incorporating automatic reminders can be a helpful tool to keep your practice at the front of your mind. Set a notification to go off on your phone at various times throughout the day. Use it to call yourself back into the present moment and remember to be aware of your judgments. Cut down on the notifications over time until you’re able to remember on your own without any outside influences.
Keep a journal
Keeping a journal is a great way to track your progress. Sit for a few minutes in the morning and write out your intentions for the day. Get any negative thoughts out of your head and onto the paper right away so you don’t carry them into your day with you. Before you go to bed at night, spend another few minutes writing. How did you do with your practice? Did you feel more or less judgmental than the day before? Use it as a way to keep an eye on how you’re doing over time and note whether you’re more prone to judgments at certain times.
Ask a close friend to hold you accountable
Accountability is one of the best ways to accomplish a goal. Let one of your close friends know that you’re starting a practice to let go of judgment. Ask them to hold you accountable during the process or maybe even invite them to participate. It’s easier to practice building awareness when you have someone doing it alongside you or keeping you accountable.
Seek some extra help if you need it
Sometimes learning how to stop being judgmental can be part of a bigger approach to working on yourself. If you’re struggling to reel your thoughts in or finding you’re not able to let go of your judgmental tendencies, seek some extra help. You can reach out to a life coach here at MindBodyBuild to talk about the areas you’re struggling with. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it! If you’re interested in incorporating your practice as part of a greater approach to wellness and mental freedom, schedule a free consultation call with us to learn more today!