When you are exposed to new ideas, experiences or a different way of looking at the world, do you tend to judge, criticize, or dismiss it before you’ve give yourself a chance to even take it in?
Judgment seems to come naturally, especially when the new thing or idea challenges our existing worldview — the things we “know” about how the world works. New ideas provoke fear — fear that what you think you know may be wrong, that you’ll be left behind, that you’ll be unprepared to adapt, that you’ll be proven irrelevant, that you’ll be abandoned and alone, no longer fitting into the tribe.
Fear of what we don’t understand or what is different or foreign to us is natural; it’s the way we keep ourselves safe. But rather than admit our fear, we often default to judgment. Judgement is a form of resistance, a way to escape the fear of what we don’t understand.
Judgement gives us an illusion of safety by putting a wall between us and the ideas and people we don’t understand. Behind our judgment, we are safe in the world we know. But that wall of safety is also a wall of imprisonment, a wall that keeps us isolated and alone, separate from others.
When you’re judging someone or something, you are unable to hold space and listen fully. When you don’t listen fully, you cannot connect in a meaningful way. Judgment forces you to view the world through a narrow lens, so you miss out on seeing the bigger picture and therefore miss opportunities to solve problems.
When you release judgments — whether about ideas, people, or experiences — a whole world opens up to you that you may not have realized existed.
3 Mindset Shifts to Shift Out of Judgment and Criticism
Here are three mindset shifts to shift out of judgment
It’s almost impossible to be in genuine curiosity and in judgment at the same time. Judgment closes you off, whereas curiosity opens you.
Do you tend to assume you know what another person is going through because you went through similar circumstances? Or you assume you know what an experience will hold because you’ve been through it before? Do you often assume you know what someone means when they use a certain word?
Assumptions are the foundation of judgments.
Instead of assuming, ASK.
So many people are afraid to ask questions because they don’t want to appear ignorant. Instead, they assume things, and appear more ignorant.
So many rifts would heal if we brought a little more compassion to our daily experience. It’s easy to stand at a distance and judge someone’s actions, thinking that you would never do the same thing. Maybe you wouldn’t. But how do you know?
The common advice is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. But let’s get real: even when you do this, you still don’t know what the other person is experiencing, because you don’t have their mindset and model of the world. You don’t know what events shaped another person influenced their viewpoints.
Before you rush to judge someone else, remind yourself that you may not be aware of all the factors of a situation.
When you find it hard to feel compassion, try this mind-game: imagine that everyone you encounter were going to die at the end of the day. Notice if it affects how you treat people and what you say.
When you hear a new idea, do you instantly write it off, judging that it’s not applicable to you or your situation?
A judge who presides over a court of law considers all the evidence and information presented in a case before deciding what’s relevant and making a ruling.
The mindset of consideration is a mindset of open-mindedness.
Approaching new ideas and new circumstances with open-mindedness can take you to places you may have never previously dreamed about.
Instead of judging something as not applicable to your situtation, ask, how can it apply to me?
Instead of writing something off as something you already know, ask, what can I learn from this?
You might surprise yourself with a new perspective.