How Judgment Creates the Great Divide
Anyone can find the dirt in someone, be the one who finds the gold.
A Nation Divided
It’s post Presidential election 2016. Our country is divided. People on both sides of the division are flinging insults and judgments about the other side. Friends, family and other groups are more and more split. And the divide continues to deepen…
Through the mass onslaught of information, people can form snap judgments - seemingly in stone. There is so much information spread every second of every day that it’s a real challenge to sift through what is truth and what is fiction. Yet through that onslaught more and more people find their “truth” and jump on the judgment train.
Even companies like Facebook and Twitter are expressing concerns about the amount of false information and fake news being posted on Social Media. They too realize that the massive amount content –true and false- imprint on people’s psychology serving to form some judgments based on lies.
Judgment can be a divisive, dangerous and destructive force, just look at our nation right now.
What is Judgment?
Judgment is a final declaration – a label and a stamp about someone or something. It’s a conclusion, an endpoint. The term itself implies finality of approval and disapproval.
Sometimes people who tend to make snap black and white judgments often have not experienced life to understand shades of gray. It’s in the gray of life that we find true wisdom.
I often find that the more people know, the less certain they are about their own judgments.
Wisdom has been defined as “the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.”
It’s with wisdom that people more often notice their internal judgments and can seek understanding, compassion, and even - dare I say - love?
We All Judge
All of us judge consciously and unconsciously. I know this firsthand because I’m definitely guilty of doing it too. I still catch myself judging more often than I should.
“This is good.” “That is bad.”
“She is right. “He is wrong.”
“That is ugly.” “This is beautiful.”
Studies on Judgment
Studies in the Journal of Neuroscience demonstrate that our brains make unconscious judgments about whether to trust someone before we consciously process who they are or what they look like.
The challenge arises when our judgment limits us. Judgments can do extreme harm, even close us off from others and constrict our ability to be open and learn. Even more, when we judge, we lose our ability to influence others in a positive way
The Judgment Traps
There are two significant traps we easily fall into when we judge.
Trap 1 – Getting Stuck In Our Own Rules
When we judge, it says more about us than the person we judge.
Know that we are constantly evaluating others through our own judgmental lenses. We filter information according to our beliefs about right and wrong.
Rarely do we pause to ask, what does this judgment say about me?
Our judgments reveal a lot about our own beliefs and our own rules about the way life should be. How often do you question your own beliefs?
Too often it is much easier to label someone else as wrong when they don’t act according to our rules.
Ask yourself, who made your rulebook? Are you really sure your rules are right?
Judgment Trap 2 – Shutting the Door to Others
When we judge someone we lose any real ability to influence them. It’s akin to slamming the door on the other person leaving little or no room for discussion, understanding, change or compassion.
To make matters worse, rarely does someone who has just been judged want to open and discuss their actions and beliefs. Their door shuts too, leaving another great divide in our world.
It’s GAME OVER on both sides.
I recently went to a class with my daughter. The instructor was teaching about the Holocaust and about a certain group of people called, “Holocaust deniers.” He went to tell his students, “Don’t even bother talking to any of these people, they are fanatics and not worth your time.”
That cued me to immediately contradict the teacher. I shared how I did not want my daughter shutting the door on anyone. By shutting out anyone, she gives up all opportunity to influence anyone. I want her to always remain open to understanding someone’s world and always strive to create a bridge of learning and connection.
In merely a moment, you can give someone a new perspective, a new idea, and shed light on an area where there might have only been darkness for a lifetime.
Understanding & Compassion
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
A little compassion and a few moments of listening can go a long way to influencing and understanding someone else’s point of view. You may be surprised to find that you might also change your own views.
This can be an opening to true wisdom.
Also be aware of the impact of positive judgments.
Sometimes people are star struck meeting celebrities or other famous people. Remember that just because someone is famous doesn’t mean they are good people, kind, and have great values. Just like the rest of us, they feel pain, have heartache and experience challenges.
Give Yourself a Break
Of course for many of us, we are our worst critic. We constantly judge ourselves and often berate ourselves if we are not perfect. This leads to pain and heartache. Perfect is an awful standard that no one can meet.
Give yourself a break. If we begin to feel compassion and understanding for ourselves, it will be much easier with others.
Give Others a Break
As we learn to have compassion for ourselves, we are better able to open to other points of view. When we open to others, treat them with understanding and learn from their world, we open to wisdom and actually become better leaders. With this skill, we can have a more powerful influence on their lives. Showing you care without judgment – and genuinely meaning it – is one of the keys to mastering influence.
6 Steps to Get Beyond the Judgment Traps
1) Notice When You Judge.
Begin to be aware when you are labeling a person or situation. Ask yourself if you have all the information or if there is more to be learned.
2) Understand and appreciate the other person’s world.
If you start are judging a person or their actions, stop and take time to understand where they are coming from.
When this happens to me (and it does often…), I pause and ask “what don’t I know?”
Oftentimes, there is a lot I don’t know.
3.) Realize your judgment has impact.
Do you know much weight your judgment carries? Notice how your judgment will affect others. Are you condemning them to a certain lifestyle, certain choices and certain principles that might not work or might even damage their lives?
Know you can’t take back your words. Be mindful of what you say and the effect it will have on others.
4.) Take a moment and question your judgment.
Ask “Is this really true?” “How would things change for me if my judgment wasn’t true?”
5.) Consider other possibilities.
Our snap judgments can often prevent us from considering other possibilities and, even worse, limit others from finding a new path.
Think about these judgments:
“She is ruined for life.”
“They can never recover.”
“His life is over.”
These global declarations can impact someone’s entire life, especially if said to someone you truly influence.
What if our judgment was completely wrong?
What if extreme tragedy provided the inspiration for an entirely new life?
What if the perceived ugliness of something moved someone toward real genuine beauty in life and love?
Remain open to changing your mind. Know it takes a wise man or woman to be open to changing your mind.
6. Find the good.
Remember, we are all more alike than different.
This person loves their family – just like me.
This person feels pain – just like me.
This person is not perfect – just like me.
This person wants to be happy – just like me.
Do your part and be the one who creates a bridge over the divide, heals the wounds, and finds common ground for all of us to stand on.
It is in unity that we thrive, it is in separation that we despair.
Be Well. Be Joyful. Be Inspired.
Have a beautiful day.
To learn more about being a mindful entrepreneur and game changer in this world, please contact Gina’s team at [email protected]
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I help overwhelmed entrepreneurs become GAME CHANGERS by incorporating strategic mindful techniques in their Businesses, their Relationships, and their Lives.
As an international thought leader, Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship Mentor, Tony Robbins Lead Trainer & Deepak Chopra Vedic Master Educator, she is a catalyst for exponential leadership, massive joy and creating mindful lives and business enterprises we are proud to pass on to future generations.