What does it mean to have Judgmental Behavior? In our daily lives, many people tend to give their opinions and suggestions on the things we do and how we ought to do them. Sometimes we may see these people as judgmental whenever they give their point of view on something that concerns us. While this may be true, sometimes some people may offer constructive criticism and their genuine point of view, not to make us feel bad, but to help us do better.
But because of ego or for some reason, we fail to recognize this and tag such persons as judgmental. The truth is, we have all been judgmental at some point, and nobody is perfect or excluded from this. Even by calling out people with judgmental behavior, you may exhibit the same behavior in the process, without even knowing. So how can you identify judgmental behavior?
Being judgmental or having Judgmental Behavior means appraising a situation, a person, or their actions, in a critical but condemning attitude. It is nit-picking and fault-finding with an opinion from a personal point of view, which most times are moralistic and may not be accurate. Having judgmental behavior isn’t healthy for both the condemned and the judge; for the condemned, they may feel inadequate and become insecure about themselves.
The judge, on the other hand, may unknowingly be suffering from personal insecurity, low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, and use judgmental behavior as a “defense mechanism.” The purpose of this defense mechanism is to help them feel superior over the other, avoiding personal fault by pointing out the flaws of others, or trying to feel good about themselves by taking others down.
The negative side of Judgmental Behavior
Although you may think of yourself as a non-judgmental person, the reality is, being critical is human nature; we all have this trait in our subconscious. We may exhibit judgmental behavior at any point, regardless of how sensitive we become about it. However, if being judgmental has become a habit for you, you need to address underlying issues within yourself as it is unhealthy.
1. It restricts your knowledge
Judgmental behavior often comes with giving supremacy to your point of view, making you see the opinions and values of others as irrelevant. This makes you narrow-minded, and the risk in this is that you would find it difficult to learn and evolve.
Seeing your way as the only way would hinder your ability to gain insight and learn from people operating outside your value system. Consequently, you may be limiting your personal growth, productivity, and learning capacity by not allowing yourself to be exposed to diversified points of view, new ideas, and input from more knowledgeable people.
2. Jump into conclusion
Being judgmental could also lead you to make conclusions without proper thinking and precise information. It could as well take a negative impact on your willingness to see facts objectively or attempt to understand full details.
For instance, because you continuously work more hours, handle more projects and get more promotions, you may consider yourself as ambitious. Because of this, you may find yourself labelling a colleague who seems to be the opposite of what you are as “unambitious” because he doesn’t work as hard as you, hasn’t been promoted since he was employed or hasn’t made any improvements in his repertoire.
Base on your standard, you now qualify who is ambitious and who isn’t serious with their career. That partial point of view made you jump to a conclusion about your colleague’s career ambition. In contrast, if you get to know him, you may find out he’s probably a family man with a lot of obligations, and at this point in his career may be more focused on gaining a balance between work and personal life.
3. Underlying impediments
For most people, being judgmental is a self-esteem problem that they do not know of, or refuse to acknowledge. By finding something wrong with others, they feel they are protected from being vulnerable to dislike and being faulted. For such persons, they do not realize that being judgmental is as a result of being insecure themselves and could worsen into mental health issues if not addressed. Unfortunately, such insecurity remains an underlying impediment until they are consciously looked into.
4. You could remain unhappy and dissatisfied with life
There would always be people who are better than you in one way or the other. Many people become judgmental when they find people doing better or less than they are. In reality, condemning others because of their status would not do any good; it would only make you dissatisfied and unhappy with yourself.
5. You are unable to see beyond “good and bad,” “winning or losing.’’
Judgmental people tend to evaluate things as good or bad, right or wrong, winning or losing. Forgetting that not all things are the way they seem, and some items can be multifaceted. Take a group science project, for instance, if a group member comes up with the idea that doesn’t resonate well with you because you believe their approach is impossible, probably hasn’t been done before, or cannot be scientifically proven.
You may be quick to disapprove of it without considering grey areas or giving it a try regardless. If it happens the other way round, you might be quick to approve the idea without proper scrutiny. Making conclusive judgments, especially about people, behaviors, options, and opinions, without considering grey areas or unknown possibilities may limit your perception and hinder you from taking a win-win approach with validation and value.
How to stop being Judgmental
Judgmental behaviour may result in people not wanting to be around you or even have anything to do with you. Asides from the fact that this can leave you lonely and away from the people close to you, it can also limit your general progress and wellbeing. To reverse this effect, here are some steps that you can take:
1. Explore your self-talk
Since most people become judgmental due to their insecurity, they have to work on those insecurities to stop being judgmental. To start working on yourself, you first have to know the root of your insecurity, and one way to do this is through self-talk.
As you go through your day, take time to examine the type of thoughts you have; this could happen while you interact with others, talking to yourself in the mirror, or when you make a mistake. You can also seize the opportunity to explore your self-talk when you are emotional; try to focus on your inner thoughts and things you say to yourself whenever you feel depressed, upset, anxious, or insecure.
You may also decide to keep notes of these thoughts, as it would help you find a pattern that reveals your subconscious believes. For instance, you may find out you regularly call yourself names whenever you are disappointed or think of yourself as weird, stupid, and unworthy. Getting to know this as a weakness would give you an edge to work on your judgmental behavior.
2. Accept yourself the way you are
Although we all know it isn’t easy to accept our flaws, it is a crucial step to take if you want to become more self-aware and less critical of others. Accepting yourself is about understands yourself, why you are the way you are, and acknowledging that you are human. It allows you to live at peace with yourself by embracing the way you are.
You can start accepting yourself by; taking care of your body and general health, write and practice your affirmation exercise, remove toxic people from your life, reading self-help articles on koleolat, and learning to forgive yourself. Commit to accepting and working on yourself, and you would indeed extend the same energy towards others.
3. Learn not to approach situations with a pre-notion, and think critically about your judgments
The truth is nobody can grasp the case of others 100%. For this reason, you must become willing to learn about the situation and not stick to a previous notion before you judge the situation or make it awkward. So whenever you hear something or think a certain way about someone, pause and ask yourself how sure you are; is it accurate?
You may go further to investigate if it interests you, but be sure not to pass judgments if you are not sure about what you think you know. Making this approach a habit would help you wear down your judgmental behavior and become open-minded.
Now that you know that being judgmental isn’t healthy for everyone, you must work on the behavior if you find yourself exhibiting it. However, it is also crucial not to judge yourself for being judgmental, people may often feel resent and hate themselves, thinking they are horrible people. Realize that everyone is guilty of being judgmental at some point, some without recognizing it. Therefore, do not be difficult with yourself, instead accept and work on yourself.