Or protecting us from harm?
Is it ruining out lives?
Is it the core reason we are struggling in all of our relationships and interactions?
Well let us start back where it all began, when we evolved.
As humans, we judge people, we are biologically programmed to do that, it’s a survival instinct. Knowing that, I have never tried to be too hard on myself when I find myself judging someone because we all judge and I know that is what causes a lot of mental health issues like paranoia and anxiety, you judge, therefore, you will be judged.
Negatively judging someone doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it’s just a fact of life. Good People make negative judgements, they are not a bad person because they think something that isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. No one is a walking My Little Pony. We are beautifully corrupted humans, dark and mysterious, compassionate and brave, a wonderful cacophony of darkness and light living in a harmonious balance.
But I want to tell you a story about one of my personal judgements.
My best friends is like me, we have a lot in common and she feels like a sister to me but she does things that I don’t approve of and the example I am going to use is Tattoos.
I have tattoos, I love tattoos!
But the thing about my wonderful friend is that, she is spontaneous, she will go into a shop and come out with a massive chicken tattooed to her because she thought it was funny.
I judged her critically for this simply because I am NOT that spontaneous. It is the polar opposite of my inner workings. I am methodical, careful, thoughtful and consider everything for doing or saying anything. So for me, the idea of someone not caring about the financial implications or the long term effects or the social repercussions, it’s wrong to me and something I cannot compute.
But the thing is, she’s not wrong! She never has been, that is just who she is and my negative judgment was a reflection on me and my belief patterns and my behaviour.
Just so you’re aware, I didn’t tell her she was a crappy person because she did something I didn’t see as normal, I laughed along with her and said BITCHIN CHICKEN TATTOO! Even though I felt the pull of judgement inside of me. It’s her life and her choice and I can’t control or be held responsible for that. I can only be responsible for myself, my reactions, my choices.
And I was presented with a choice, I could choose to negatively judge her or I could choose to admire her. Her spirit, her tenacity, her spontaneity is something I have never had. I can either envy her freedom or I can choose to be inspired by it, just like she admires my patience and that is why our friendship flourishes. We admire each others differences, rather than judge.
I will always choose admiration and inspiration, every time.
But this isn’t always about something as trivial as tattoos. Sometimes it’s about something much more intense. Like someone’s life choices. Choosing to not have children. Choosing their gender. Choosing a religion. Having a different sexuality. Eaters of marmite. The Big Things. We cast judgements on these things not because they are wrong, but because they are a reflection of our thoughts and beliefs.
Something I get negatively judged for a lot is my choice to not become a mother, it’s not that I am not maternal, it’s just not for me. And I get a lot of stick for it because it goes against the belief that we are here to be born, grow up, have children and then die while our children take care of us. Choosing not to follow that life pattern that so many people, Good People, choose to do, invites judgement. But it’s my choice, just like they have the choice to have or adopt children.
So they next time you negatively cast judgment on someone’s actions, choices or hair style, just take a moment to think about why you decided to cast a negative judgement. Is it because you are envious of their confidence? Or are you bothered by the fact it’s simply something you think is wrong? Or is it because what they are doing goes against your core values?
The judgement isn’t the problem, we judge negatively all the time because we are who we are and we all want the world to be the way we want and people don’t seem to conform to it! I wish everyone would just be kind, wear jumpers and burst into song more but life doesn’t work that way. Life is messy and everyone is so wonderfully different and let’s face it, there are some shit humans out there, we have the capacity for great compassion and with that, the capacity for great destruction.
I don’t act on my negative judgements as often as I can. We all react but the internet has created a platform where we can act on our worst impulses, anonymously and it has become normal to judge someone without really understanding why we judge them and then acting on it.
The act is the killer.
If I had turned around to my friend and gone, “You just wasted so much money on that, it’s not practical, why wouldn’t you invest money somewhere else”
If I had done that, we wouldn’t be friends. Hell I wouldn’t be anyone’s friend. Did you notice that it has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me? My limiting beliefs about money, caused me to react in a negative judgement and I chose not to act on it.
Now I hear you, what if you are negatively judging someone because they are an asshole and an action is needed, like to tell them, “You are being an asshole. Stop.”
Jades Quick Guide To Figuring It Out:
Is it hurting anyone?
No- Leave them be
Did my friends tattoo hurt anyone? NO! She loved it, it benefitted local artist and it’s a fucking hilarious story that she got a chicken tattooed to her.
Did my other friend who told someone that they were ugly because they were “Big” hurting anyone? YES! So you call them out on it. Fuck Body Shaming.
I am going to give you another example of why I can judge negatively and that is for Social Approval.
We are pack animals and we want and need to be accepted into the tribe for protection. So we seek social validation so we feel safe. In order to join the pack, we have to conform to the packs rules and beliefs and we submit and go along with their ideologies for survival. Time has passed since we were cavepeople and now we can choose our tribes but sometimes, we get caught up in tribes like our friendships or our families, where its harder to switch tribes. Have you ever found yourself agreeing with your friend and then thinking “Oh my god, did I just say that, I don’t even believe that, I feel a bit sick with myself”. You just acted on a negative judgement for social validation because you want your friends or family, to stay with you and not abandon you.
None of us want to be the one who’s at the other end of the negative judgements, so we join in so we are accepted. I used to have a friend who would say things and I would find myself agreeing and saying words that not only did I not believe, I wouldn’t have even thought unless I was prompted and I hated myself for it. I wanted the friend to like me because I didn’t want to lose them but in the end, I couldn’t continue feeling like I hate myself, I had to change and sometimes the best way to change is to remove yourself from the situation or relationship. If you are close to someone who makes you feel like this, you have the right to leave.
The world is much bigger now and if you are spending time with someone who puts you in a position where you act in a way that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to leave. It is scary, but they aren’t your tribe, maybe once they were but now it’s time for you to move on to the next village, a tribe who believe what you believe.
And finally, if you are unsure if a negative judgement is harming someone, take a moment to think about it. All your actions are a reflection on who you are.
So you get to ask yourself, who do you want to be?
A judgemental dick who tells everyone they are wrong because they don’t conform to your ideals? Someone who judges without really thinking why they really hate bangs? They just do because someone told them they had to hate it at one point and you didn’t bother to question it?
Or a kind person with an open and growth mind whose not afraid to tell someone they are a twat? Someone who will listen to the other side of the story and think about both sides?
If you are unsure, take the time to really think about it until you are sure you have that right but in the end.
With enough introspection, you are in complete control of your reality and choices.
And also, Meet Mrs Bobbins. My best friends Chicken Tattoo. Life is complete now.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If this is something you are really struggling with, the inner critic aka Negative Nancy, reach out to me! With a little self love and some practice, we can turn your life around!