The world is full of opinions.
You have them, your in laws have them, your children have them, and your neighbors, boss, co-workers, and nearly every other person on the planet have their own opinion about everything from politics to the right foods to eat at dinnertime. Too often however, we forget that the definition of opinions is as follows: “A view of judgment formed about someone or something not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.” In other words, our opinions and judgments are based on our own personal feelings about things. If we feel strongly about breastfeeding then we automatically think that women who chose to give their baby a bottle are wrong or off their rocker. One good piece of advice before judging others, is to take a good look at yourself!
The problem is that as we judge others based on our opinions, we forget that in the eyes of the world, we too – have flaws. From the Bible comes the infamous quote, “Let he that is without sin cast the first stone.” And unfortunately, there isn’t one among us who is without fault, or sin, or problems. Each of us has skeletons in our metaphorical closet that we try to hide from the world. In fact, the vast majority of people with drug addictions or alcohol problems come from middle-income families, and spend a lifetime trying to hide or cover-up or rationalized their habit. And yet, these are the first people to judge the local homeless pill addict sleeping on the corner of the Main Street.
The parents who are constantly spewing parenting advice, who are quick to judge others for their parenting styles or parenting choices, likely haven’t perfected the art of parenting quite as well as they think. Family members who may try to put you down, or make you feel less than perfect – are likely riddled with problems of their own that given light, would show they too aren’t perfect.
The question is why do so many of us feel the necessity to voice our opinions (which as you can see from the definition above are not based on facts) to the people around us. Experts believe that folks who judge others, and who believe so whole heartedly in their own opinions are actually suffer from ego problems that cause a deep sense need to be right, or recognized. In other words, those judging you, are simply looking for a way to make themselves feel better about their own inadequacies. If this belittling and berating is a personality trait of someone you know – chances are they in a pretty unhappy place in their life and are only using their self-righteousness to feed their ego. Undeniably, this means that you shouldn’t give their opinions any weigh – but emotionally, this is a difficult thing to do.
Even so, each of us is prone to judge. When we feel strongly about things, it is only natural to find fault with people who don’t agree with us. Human nature causes us to feel validated by having others agree with our opinions. And this need for validation, need to be heard, can turn us into judgmental ugly creatures that spew rumors and hate for no reason.
Can we not just agree to disagree?
Isn’t it okay to have differing beliefs than others?
Isn’t one of the most important things about living in a free country the fact that we can have our opinions and judgments, and have them respected, even if others do not agree with them?
The only way to change the Judgey McJudgekins of the world is to stop being one yourself.
Think before you speak. If you are about to call someone else out for how they are raising their child, or for how they spend their money – make sure that you 1) are in a position to do so, 2) that your comments or opinions will actually be helpful rather than hurtful and 3) that you would be willing to accept the same treatment from others towards yourself. One good way to break the habit of judging others, is to learn how to be impeccable with your words. Sure, you can have your opinions, but before you voice them for the world and toss them out into the Universe where they can have the ability to hurt others – follow the 30-second rule and think.
Ask yourself. Is what I am about to say helpful? Is what I am about to say relevant? Is what I am about to say useful, or backed with good intentions? Is what I am about to say something I would say in front of the person I am talking about? If the answer to any of these questions is NO – then your next step should be a quick internal housecleaning to ascertain why the decisions of another person bother you so much.
A wise man once said, “that which we find fault with in others is only a mirror of what faults we find within ourselves.” When you are about to judge another – ask yourself what it is about YOU that makes you feel so strongly about the situation at hand. This can turn you from a judgmental fool, to a person who respects others and follows the life rule “to live and let live.” After all, what other people do shouldn’t leave you exhausted or exasperated. The way other people choose to live their lives, shouldn’t be a cause for a superiority complex on your part. And the basis of our society, as a free world – is the ability for each of us to express our opinions and live our lives in the way that WE feel is best. Not in the way that our neighbors or extended family members feel is best.
Remember, JUDGE lest YOU be judged!