Have you witnessed someone being judged or been judged yourself? Have you caught yourself judging someone else?
Judgment is a topic that is relevant to everyone at every age. This week, Core Values for Life (CVL) invited college and young professional from across the United States and Canada to tackle the topic of judgment on the CVL bi-monthly nation-wide video call.
Granted, there are multiple aspects of judgment, between individuals, by society, institutions, coworkers, friends, and family, and even the judgment we place on ourselves. One young man described the act of judging as thoughts or actions that “place someone in a box.”
We need to ask ourselves, ‘What is the end goal?’ It’s important to uphold a standard and we want people to connect to similar values, but what is an effective state of mind to be in to relate with other people? When we feel the need to place judgment on others, there is a lack of understanding and compassion. We need to understand this dynamic because at the end of the day, it is about growth.
A college student from Washington State agreed on the importance of understanding. “In our families, maybe it isn’t ‘judgment’ but ‘feedback’ to help others and ourselves grow,” he said. “We can have the biggest conflict but because we love each other and have trust, we are also trying to understand each other and take on a different perspective to help each other grow.”
One young women who recently became a new mom shared her thoughts on how to take a proactive attitude in addressing judgment.
Sometimes I find myself in situations where I feel judged but in reflection it’s more self-imposed. Someone could make a comment and it’s not that critical or could even be directed at someone or something else, but I can take it personally and feel judged. So, what can I do to not be affected negatively? I could be insecure about certain things and that allows me to feel judged, even if something is said with good intention. I have to address my own insecurity. On the other hand, sometimes I can unintentionally come off as judgmental but that happens because of ignorance, not understanding others or others not understanding me.
When we get the feeling of being judged, an instinctive reaction for many of us may be to take a defensive stance. One caller contributed, “A defensive attitude is not the best way to understand what the other person is trying to tell you. It takes a lot of effort and training to get to that point. We have a purpose in life to think from a perspective of serving. We are channels for God. When we train ourselves to be more able to understand, we become more positive.”
So, how do we train ourselves?
“Take a breath and don’t just react.”
“Before you pass judgment stop and think. Is this the right moment to say something?”
“Be humble and grateful. You can grow and expand to be more than who you are right now.”
“Listen to your conscience. It is your own judge.”
Terms like judgment, constructive criticism, and feedback were thrown around in the conversation. As one young father stated on the call, “Feedback is essential to growth.” However, at the end of the day, remember that the difference between simply putting judgment on someone else and presenting feedback is in how you support that person afterwards. Whether you are a parent, mentor, or friend, being supportive of the person over the long term is how you demonstrate responsibility and uphold the values you stand for.