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The Truth About Judgments

by Lindsay Warriner, MA, P-LPC, P-CST

Many of us would like to think of ourselves as non-judgmental people. We arrive at this mindset through many different ways; you’ve made your own mistakes and know that humans aren’t perfect, others have judged you so you can relate to that pain, you’ve realized others are faced with decisions you’ve never had to make before, or maybe you simply just want to be a good human. Many of us would agree that no matter the reasoning, not judging others is the socially “right” thing to do. However, is that actually realistic? 

Let’s get real and talk some truth about judgments. First and foremost, we all make them, and that’s not necessarily bad! The word ‘judgment’ gets a bad rap. Many of us automatically associate the word judgment with a negative connotation. In other words, to judge someone else is wrong. But the reality is we make assumptions about people all day long, whether that conclusion is good, bad, neutral, or somewhere in between. 

The second truth about judgments is that they’re natural and sometimes out of our control. If you’re a living human with a brain, then you have automatic thoughts. A judgment is simply one type of automatic thought that may occur. 

At this point, we’ve hopefully accepted that we all make judgments. So now you might be thinking, if we all make judgments (specifically negative ones), what separates me from being a “bad” person? Well, first of all, you’re not a crappy person, you’re human. Second, we might not always be able to control what thoughts pop into our heads, but we can do some work around how we respond to those thoughts. Here’s some reflective questions to get you started: 

  • Why did mind go to that place? 

  • Is this thought trying to tell me something about myself? 

  • Did I learn this judgment somewhere? Is this something I need to unlearn? 

  • Is it possible I don’t have all the information about this situation? 

  • I disagree with this action, but can I still validate their feelings?  

  • Am I acting on this judgment, particularly in a harmful way?

To sum it all up, judgments are natural. Like many of our other thoughts, we can respond to them in any way we please. So next time you judge yourself for assuming, take a moment to realize you’re human and reflect on that thought rather than shaming yourself. 



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