Judgement can be seen as one of the biggest obstacles in our path to self-development. Judgmental behaviour can be characterized as speaking, thinking and behaving in a way that reflects a condemnatory and critical point of view. It is critically finding fault and nitpicking with another person, situation, idea or a group of people. In short, it is characterized as condemning someone or something as “unworthy”, “stupid” or “bad”, and observing others through the filter of our black and white ways of thinking. Judgemental behaviours often accompany anxiety, depression, and low self-worth.

It is important to note that the judgemental trait in a personality is not all bad. In fact, it can help us avoid potentially dangerous situations and help us make clear decisions. It also assists us in being innovative, creative and insightful, particularly in giving advice. The judgemental trait in a personality comes from reactive and an imbalance mind that find ways to protect itself from being hurt by other people. Therefore, we can say that being judgemental is truly a defensive mechanism.


Judgement as a defence mechanism

Displaying judgement upon others can be seen as conscious and unconscious behaviours which are used to protect the self-esteem. The main purpose of the self-esteem or ego is to keep us separate from others as a survival instinct and can lead us to feeling isolated due its defensive mechanism. It provides us with benefits in a number of ways.

  • It may temporarily improve feelings of self-worth by providing perceptions of superiority.
  • It may protect us from being hurt by others.
  • By criticizing others, we avoid our own faults.

Common traits seen in judgemental individuals include:

  1. You are intolerant of people that are not like you.
  2. Your self-worth is low.
  3. You feel anxious around other people.
  4. You are untrusting and suspicious.
  5. You are generally pessimistic about life.
  6. You can easily skip to conclusions.
  7. You try to see beyond a person flaws.
  8. You have a strong inner citric who judges you.
  9. You try to see the beauty in others and truly appreciate them.
  10. You start to think that people are either good or bad.
  11. You always struggle to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity.
  12. You always expect other people have a consistent behaviour all the time.
  13. You frequently make moral evaluations.
  14. You always justify your criticism as truth.
  15. You expect perfect consistency from others.
  16. You have a negative look regularly.
  17. You always criticize yourself.
  18. You do not trust others.
  19. You always try to tolerate ambiguity.
  20. You engage in black and white thinking.
  21. You suffer from the perfectionist disorder.
  22. You are losing friends.

How to End the Habit of Being Judgemental

Having a judgemental habit distorts our perception of ourselves and of other people. The tendency to judge can become even worse when we are busy, tired and overwhelmed with work.

However, being judgemental is, in fact, an issue of self-esteem. By avoiding our faults, we protect ourselves from being vulnerable and inflate our egos with false self-worth. These points are linked with feeble self-esteem. Working on self-esteem is essential to ending the habit of judgmental behaviours.

You can work on your judgemental behaviours by:

Accepting the ugly, weird and messy parts of your life.

You become less critical of others by slowly and steadily working to accept yourself. Self-acceptance is about appreciating and permitting space for all that it means to be a human. Self-acceptance is about looking at yourself realistically, and embracing who you are at your core, instead of putting yourself up to high standards.

Here are some powerful ways to improve self-acceptance:

  • Write your own morning affirmations.
  • Get in touch with your inner child.
  • Remove toxic people from your life.
  • Learn how to forgive yourself.
  • Explore the nature of toxic shame.
  • Read self-help books.
  • Take care of your health and body.
  • Journal about how you feel.
  • Make a list of the things that you appreciate for yourself.
  • Surround yourself with the people who support and motivate you.

Make a habit to do these activities every day, and you will begin to see the results.

Ground yourself with mindfulness.

The habit of judgement causes narrow thinking and may lead to tunnel vision. Mindfulness is one of the most powerful practices to counteract judgemental behaviours. Mindfulness means giving attention to the present moment.

Try to recognize your surroundings when you begin to feel the walls of judgement go up. Take everything in around you, feel the breeze on your skin, notice the sounds and colours around you. You can cut the cycle of judgemental thoughts by redirecting your focus to the present moment.

Look deeper into the people and situations.

We tend to judge others quickly as a result of our misconceptions and beliefs. However, finding the conclusions quickly blind us and cause us to ignore the complexity of others. For example, people who are shallow, untrustworthy, cruel and mean always react with some type of pain that is usually sadness or fear. Learn more.

We often find the tragic struggles by looking beneath the facade and immediate appearance of a person. Looking deep into the situation of people helps us to show compassion.

Explore your self-talk and journal about it. 

Your self-talk surrounds all the perceptions that you have about yourself in reality. Spend some time with yourself to tune into what types of thoughts you are having. Interacting with others, looking at yourself in the mirror, going to work or even making a mistake creates good opportunities in life. Try to pause and focus on yourself when you’re feeling insecure, depressed, anxious, or upset.

Record your self-talk in a journal. Without any gaps, do this activity every day. Keep your struggle documented to find common patterns and themes that reveal your core beliefs. These common beliefs will help you to give something to work with.

Ask yourself why you felt the need to judge.

Sometimes, the desire to judge others is often due to insecurities of our own. We are not judging the choice of other people, in fact, we are trying to put them down by making ourselves feel better about our own choices.

Esther Gonzalez Freeman is a life coach. Her teachings include overcoming judgemental behaviours. When experiencing a judgemental thought, she recommends “redirecting our thoughts towards curiosity”. This way, we can get to the root of the reason we feel we need to judge other people in the first place. She also states that curiosity will help us gain a better understanding, in turn, allowing us to feel better about ourselves.

Notice what triggers judgemental thoughts.

Being judgemental is often a thing or a conscious action that we necessarily want to do. When you will be successful to find out the time or a situation where you are most judgemental, you can actively slow your critical thoughts in those moments.

 Karlyn Percil is an emotional intelligence coach. In her teachings, she emphasizes that identifying emotional habits is a principal factor in creating new mental pathways. She invites individuals to look within to notice when judgemental thoughts present themselves. Is it most often in the morning, in the evening, or in moments of stress?

Becoming aware of your judgemental triggers can help pinpoint the cause and reduce these feelings when they first begin to arise.

Finally, be cautious of judging your judgemental thoughts! Remember, you are not a bad person for having this personality trait, and it is important to recognize that many people struggle with judgemental thoughts. With time, education and acceptance, you will slowly begin to notice your judgemental tendencies improve.

About the Author Anu Verma

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