Stanford: Before I tell you, you have to promise not to judge.
Carrie: Do I judge?
Stanford: We all judge. That’s our hobby. Some people do arts and crafts; we judge. — Sex and the City
If someone called you judgmental, you might reasonably infer they didn’t mean it as a compliment. But why?
- to form an opinion or conclusion about
- to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises
- to determine or pronounce after inquiry and deliberation
It’s origin is from the Latin jus, which means law and dicere, which means to say or decide.
A judge is someone who adjudicates. A judge delivers justice. In that sense, having judgment is a good thing. Judgment is an attribute. We seek experts for their judgment, for their ability to discern.
When does judgment become a negative?
This is a question I contemplate periodically. I am curious to know when “judging” acquired its negative connotation. Why do we consider judgmental to be an insult?
Then again, maybe it’s not an insult.
Judgment itself isn’t positive or negative. It just is.
Nothing is inherently “good” or “bad.”
Any talent, skill, need, or personality trait is inherently neutral. What matters is the meaning we give it. The lens we see it through. What we do with it. How we wield it.
Do we judge for justice, to set things right, to rectify a past imbalance, to create healing? Or do we judge to demean, divide, and disconnect ourselves from others?
Maybe being judgmental isn’t such a “bad” thing after all.