Judging is making you tired
We walk through life with a set of beliefs and ideas in our mind. We observe people and their behaviors and assess them. Are they behaving according to the rules? Are they doing what is expected of them? Are they who they are supposed to be?
We draw conclusions. We decide who matches our assessment criteria and label them with “positive” or “negative” adjectives.
Judgment becomes a habit. We give ourselves the responsibility of making sure everyone meets our standards. Without even noticing it, we carry over our shoulders the titanic task of deciding who is “good” and “bad,” what is worthy of our approval and what is not.
Judging takes a toll on our energy. Like any other action, we need to invest energy in the process, bring it to an end, and then deal with the outcome. Every step demands that you focus a little bit of your emotional energy in deciding what to do next.
Have you ever felt drained after a gossip conversation?
Maybe you have felt uncomfortable around a coworker that is so nice to you but has these weird ideas you don’t share?
And how about acknowledging that your spouse is making an effort to be nice but still feeling they are all over the place?
And we are only talking about judging others. Imagine the kind of effort it means for you when you judge yourself!
Remember, judging is a habit. This means that you learned it and practiced it enough times to believe it is the only possible behavior. When we let go of a habit that is harmful, we have the choice to replace it with a healthier one. What would serve you better at this point in your life?
Here are three things you can start doing to unlearn your judging habit:
- Notice when you make a judgment. What was the context? Did you speak or only think about it? Did it happen without thinking or did somebody or something encourage you? Is there a specific situation that gets you into a judgmental mood?
- Reflect. When you notice that you are judging someone, ask yourself questions to understand what you get from it. This can help you find the reasons why you do it. How did you feel when you stated the judgment? What kind of satisfaction does it create? You could fill in the blanks in this sentence as a reflection exercise: when I said ____I felt ____ because ____.
- Explore. Turn on your curiosity and wonder what would happen if you just stopped judging other people. How would your day be different? What would you do instead?
I hope these three ideas help you begin an interesting process. Well-being involves much more than physical health; it's about finding the best ways to meet your needs and provide yourself with joy and peace. I am sure you will feel you have more energy available as you explore these exercises.
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