It can be so easy to be judgmental.
This is how the brain is on default (and trust me, I’m speaking from experience!).
When you’re judging someone you’re usually deciding to see the worst in them.
When you judge yourself you’re doing the same thing.
Your brain tends to look for the negativity.
I want to teach you how to control your negative judgments. This will serve you tremendously in your life.
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post —Being Judgmental.
How To Stop Being Judgmental
Let’s start out by defining being judgmental…
The Definition Of Being Judgmental
The definition of being judgmental is to have a negative opinion. It’s saying something negative about yourself or someone else.
Examples of having a negative opinion are…
- I don’t like people who are negative.
- I hate that I can’t get up early.
- I’m a bad friend for not inviting her.
- I don’t like the way they look.
When it comes to being judgmental, there are two different parts to it.
The first is judging others.
The second part is judging yourself.
I talk a lot about not beating yourself up but the truth is that we all do it and may not realize it. It can be so so harmful. Instead of having this negative self talk that’s unconscious, start paying attention to how you talk to yourself.
Here are some examples of judgments that are sneaky…
- Self: I hate my knee fat.
- Others: She’s so negative.
What you might not know is that you can’t just do one or the other. You can’t only judge other people and not be judging yourself as well. When you judge others harshly, you also judge yourself harshly. And the same vice versa.
Why is this?
It’s because being judgmental is a thought pattern. It’s something you have a habit of doing. It applies to everyone in your life including yourself.
- The Problem With Accountability (blog post)
- Self Accountability (podcast)
- How To Be More Accountable To Yourself (YouTube video)
- Self Doubt Free Course (training)
- Grow You (coaching)
Why Your Brain Likes To Judge
The reason your brain likes to judge is because it’s a survival brain. Your primitive brain is always looking out for what’s “bad.” It’s trying to avoid all those things so it can keep you alive. It’s trying to find the negative in yourself and others so it can avoid it.
Because of this, it’s going to naturally look for the bad things to judge. It wants to pinpoint those things first so it can know to keep you safe.
This isn’t a good thing. When you’re judging other people, you’re making yourself “better than” they are. You’re giving yourself validation because you’re not like them. You’re not doing what they’re doing. And you’re getting a rush of dopamine from seeing yourself so highly.
This might make you feel good for a little bit of time. But, in the long term, it’ll have really harmful effects. There’s a lot of problems with being judgmental towards anyone.
- When Your Brain Tells You Something Is Wrong (blog post)
- Increasing Your Happiness With Brain Chemicals (podcast)
- 4 Brain Chemicals That Make You Happy (blog post)
- Conquering Anxiety Free Course (training)
The Problem With Being Judgmental
There are a lot of different problems with being judgmental.
When you’re judging, you’re distancing yourself. You’re distancing yourself from yourself. You’re holding yourself back from loving you.
When you judge other people you’re distancing yourself from them. You have a loose connection with them. You may be seeing yourself as better than them. And you could be seeing the negative. This keeps you from seeing the good and having deeper relationships with others.
This doesn’t do any good for you. It only hurts you. When you come off of the dopamine hit, you’re going to feel terrible.
Think of it like eating a cookie. It may taste great at that moment. When the sugar high wears off, you’re left with the negative health effects.
You’re going to give yourself a lower quality of life. When you judge others and yourself you’re seeing the worst. When you judge you’re creating a negative experience in this world. You’re not going to experience the best the world has to offer because you’re seeing the negative all the time.
When you choose your thoughts you’re going to get a better experience. You’re doing thought work from a higher place. You don’t need to be constantly suffering because of your thoughts.
- Self Love And Romantic Love (podcast)
- 11 Ways To Practice Self Love (blog post)
- How To Live An Intentional Life (free training)
- Grow You (coaching)
Being Negative About Your Judgmental-ness
When you see that you’re in negative judgment, you’re likely going to judge that judgment.
This is so important to keep in mind when you start becoming more aware of your judgmental thoughts. It’s so easy to beat yourself up over every judgment when you realize you’re doing it.
An example of judging your judgement is saying something like…
- I shouldn’t have had that thought.
- I’m terrible for thinking that about that person.
You’re literally having a thought about the thoughts you have. This isn’t going to help you. You’re going to end up beating yourself up. You’re going to hate yourself for being judgmental. I don’t want you to hate yourself.
Instead of choosing to coach yourself through these times, instead of choosing to have curiosity as to why you’re doing these things, instead of helping yourself out, you’re just digging a deeper hole of judgement.
This is not useful. This is the opposite of helpful thought work.
There’s a much better way of handling things.
- How To Coach Yourself (podcast)
- What Self Care Is Not (blog post)
- Curiosity And Compassion (podcast)
- Scarcity Vs. Abundance Mindset (free course)
The Solution To Being Judgmental Is Curiosity
The solution to being really negative about your judgment is curiosity. This is also the solution to being negative in the first place.
There’s literally no way to make progress when you’re judging your thoughts. You’re not getting anything from hating yourself.
You’ll get the most growth from judgment when you ask yourself why.
When you have those negative judgments pay attention to them. Instead of hating yourself, have some curiosity. Ask yourself, “huh, I wonder why my brain thought that?”
This is curiosity.
Curiosity will help you to understand your brain. Curiosity will help you to break the cycle of judgment.
Your brain is just stuck in the bad habit of judging. Your primitive brain is just reacting naturally. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Your thoughts don’t make you a bad personal at all.
Instead, this is just a thought pattern. However, it’s a very not useful thought pattern. But you can change that. You can take the time to unlearn those patterns. And you don’t have to go along with the first thought that comes to your head. You can change it.
However, it’s impossible to do this thought work if you’re doing it out of judgment. If you’re judging your own thoughts you can’t change the pattern. Start looking at your thoughts out of wonder. When you see them through curiosity, the thought work becomes available to you.
- Two Emotions I Use To Help Me Feel Better (blog post)
- Self Confidence (podcast)
- Building Confidence From The Inside Out (blog post)
- How To Fix Your Relationship (free course)
How To Stop Being Judgmental In 5 Steps
I came up with 5 steps that you can use to stop those pesky negative judgments.
Step 1: Awareness
The first step is to be aware of your judgment. You can’t make a change in something if you don’t know you’re doing it.
Make yourself aware when you’re being judgmental. When you see that negative thought, bring it to your attention. Let yourself know you’re doing it.
Step 2: Question Your Judgment Out Of Curiosity
The second step is to judge your thoughts from a place of curiosity. When you have those judgmental thoughts, don’t hate yourself. Instead, question yourself. Ask yourself, “hey, why is this thought here?”
Have your own back when you have the thought. Choose to lean into the thought you have. Figure out why it’s there. Don’t judge yourself for your judgment.
Step 3: Stop
Step three is to stop judging. This sounds simple but it’ll be difficult.
Whenever you want to judge someone or yourself, choose not to. Step back and say no.
Step 4: Allow The Urge To Judge
The next step is to allow yourself to have the urge to judge.
When you stop judging, it’ll be uncomfortable at first. It’s new and you’re not used to it. But you’ll get used to it. Not judging will become a new habit.
You’ll still get the urge to judge sometimes. Don’t ignore this urge. Allow the urge to come and pass. Choose not to judge anyways.
Step 5: Find New Ways To Connect And Live
The final step is to find a new way to connect with others and yourself. It’s to choose to live. Instead of having that negative thought or judgment, what will you do instead?
This may sound like a weird question but it’s important. You’ll find that when you’re facing a judgment you have a choice. You can choose to judge, or you can choose to see the best.
Connect with other people through the positive. Think about new ways you can live without judgment.
- 21 Habits For A Successful Life (blog post)
- Procrastination (podcast)
- Money Mindset Exercises (free course)
- Grow You (coaching)
3 Bonus Tips (Because Why Not)
I want to give you three bonus tips to help you clear the negative judgments. These will help you to see the positive and take action.
Bonus Tip 1: Limit Negative Media Input
The first tip is to limit the negative input in your life. The best example of this is the news.
The news is good to have to be informed. But you don’t want to be so sucked into the news that it’s hurting you. If you’re constantly intaking negative then you’ll only see negative.
Negative news gets more views. That’s why they show so much negativity. You can do something about this.
For every single minute spent intaking negativity, input positivity. If you spend a half hour listening to the news, spend a half hour listening to a positive podcast. Choose to find the good in the world as well.
- What To Do About Negative Emotions (blog post)
- How To Process Negative Emotions (YouTube video)
- Processing Negative Emotions (podcast)
- Input Vs. Output (podcast)
Bonus Tip 2: Train Your Brain To Believe Thoughts Are Morally Neutral
It’s so important to teach your brain that thoughts are morally neutral. When you see your thoughts are “good” or “bad” you won’t even look at them. You’ll want to avoid those negative thoughts because you believe it makes you bad. You may think if you have a negative judgment, you’re morally bad.
This just isn’t true.
When you have that negative thought, don’t beat yourself up. Instead do the opposite. Decide that you have a brain with thoughts. The thoughts you have are neither good or bad.
In order to live intentionally don’t judge your thoughts. In an effort to live alongside your highest self, see your thoughts as neutral. Know your thoughts don’t change your self worth.
You may judge someone else, but it doesn’t hurt your self worth. You’re 100% worthy. You can see that thought about another person. And you can decide to change that thought.
- How To Process Emotions And Feel Better (blog post)
- How To Pull Yourself Out Of Negativity (YouTube video)
- Why Emotions Matter And How To Feel Better (podcast)
- Self Doubt Free Course (training)
Bonus Tip 3: Ask Yourself If Your Future Self Spends Time Judging
Ask yourself if your future self spends her time judging other people. Does she spend time judging you?
For me, when I think about my future self, she doesn’t gossip. She chooses not to judge herself harshly.
There’s 50% good and 50% bad in her life. There’s no reason to add suffering by judging. She’s not judging herself on top of that so there’s no pull towards the bad. She’s not adding negativity with her judgment.
Think about the time you spend negatively judging others. Or even the time spent judging yourself. Think about the time you try to control what people think about you.
Is it exhausting to think about? It’s such a time consuming exercise and it helps nothing. It’s time to change your thoughts.
Choose to start thinking about things differently.
- How To Live An Intentional Life (YouTube video)
- Visualizing Your Future Self (podcast)
- Grow You (coaching)
A Final Note!
It’s hard to create anything good from a place of judgment.
Choose to become aware of your judgments. Choose not to beat yourself up about it. And choose to change it.
It can be uncomfortable and hard. But it’s so worth it.
Approach your thoughts with curiosity. You’ll learn a lot and it’ll be amazing.
Up Next, watch the YouTube video…