A judgmental person is like a porcupine. If you get too close, you could get hurt! Judgmental people have three common traits: They are overly critical, they show no respect for the person they criticize, and they justify what they say because they believe it is the truth. People can become judgmental due to their pride, their hurt and anger at being wronged, and a lack of love for others. Three ways to overcome being judgmental include self-reflection, forgiveness, and seeing the whole person.
The word judgmental is defined as “having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.”1 The first trait of a judgmental person is they criticize too much.
No one can handle being criticized all the time. It puts a strain on a relationship because the person being criticized feels unloved. Further, when someone is too critical, it is human nature not to like them. A judgmental person repels others, and will have a hard time forming long-term relationships.
Judgmental people repel people not only because of their words, but also their tone. They will speak to (or about) a person with hatred, contempt, or disrespect. Instead of speaking calmly and rationally, they can be highly emotional—hurling insults, or using profanity.
A judgmental person will often justify the things they say because they believe it is the truth. However, the truth should not be used as a weapon to hurt someone, or destroy their self-worth.
Every human being has value and worth because they are a human being, not because they are good or bad, a success or a failure. A judgmental person often bases an individual’s worth on their character traits, or some other criteria. They are unable to separate a person from their actions.
Judgmental people often believe they are superior to the person they are criticizing. In looking down on others, the judgmental person has an ego problem: a heart filled with pride.
In addition to pride, a person can become judgmental when they are angry at being wronged by someone. Hurt and wounded inside, their heart can grow cold, and they harshly judge the person who mistreated them.
Whatever the root cause, a judgmental person has a heart that lacks love and respect for other people. The danger in being judgmental is that once you feel hatred, contempt, or disrespect for one human being, it becomes easier to transfer these feelings to another.
One way to stop being judgmental is through self-reflection, by recognizing that everyone has faults. The more a person self-reflects, and realizes their own shortcomings, the easier it is to love and accept people as they are.
Another way to stop being judgmental is to forgive the person who wronged us. Forgiveness doesn’t change what the person has done, but it will set us free inside, so we can let go of being hurt, angry, or offended.
A third way to stop being judgmental is to open our eyes and see the whole person. A judgmental person will often hyper-focus on someone’s negative traits, making them blind to their positive qualities. If we can see the whole person, it is much easier to love them.
Instead of being judgmental, we should be selective in our criticism. When a person does something wrong, sometimes it is better to say nothing, to overlook people’s minor flaws and shortcomings. The more you criticize others, the more you will be criticized, and the less likely people will listen to you.
Nonetheless, there are times when we have a duty to speak. For instance, if a person is hurting us (or someone else), it is right and just to speak the truth to make them stop. In some instances, we may have to be bold and direct. However, before we correct someone, we should show them love and respect. When a person feels loved and respected, they are more likely to listen to us when we tell them the truth.
- Oxford Dictionaries, s.v. “Judgmental,” accessed October 27, 2016, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/judgmental
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We should embrace our differences rather than trying to change them.
How many times a day are you judged by the way you dress or the kind of car you drive? How many times a day do you judge someone else’s appearance or even the way they talk and walk?
At school, university, office or even when walking in a mall surrounded by strangers, the judgement game is never ending. I know that I judge everyone, putting them into categories and on shelves in my head.
In our society with different nationalities and ethnicities, we depend on the ability to interact with people primarily through sight. Therefore, we worry about our appearance a lot and how people will “Think of us” or “Think of me” if I spent all day wearing this T-shirt or not matching my pants, and women worry about carrying a well-known brand of bag. Hence, we spend a great deal of time and money tweaking our image to make it more fitting to others.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against looking good. But, a judgemental society is not productive and it kills the creativity in us. Why is that? Because we are comfortable in following trends.
Even in marriages, you’ll find examples of our judgemental tendencies. We marry having an idea of how we want our partner to be, and then when we do get married, we refuse to accept the differences they have and start judging that person, and try to change them to our liking. Many people refuse to change and even if they do change they are not convinced about it.
I believe that this is one of the major variables why many marriages fail. Accepting people for who they are is a blessing, and a trait that not all of us have. We as a society are judgemental, because we lack acceptance. We should learn to open our heart and accept people; every person we meet has something special to give to us if we are open to receive it.
We should learn to accept others and try to adapt to them rather than changing them. No two people are alike. No two hearts beat to the same rhythm.
- Mohammad Al Olama is an Emirati entrepreneur based in Dubai.