They come to all of us, like a mental knee-jerk reaction we didn’t plan to have.
But judgmental thoughts feel like poison, and having them in the first place can make you feel and think things you don’t want to think.
Being a better person means not having those instinctively judgmental thoughts to begin with.
But how do you stop thoughts that come automatically to you, without provocation?
Here are 11 methods to stop judgmental thoughts:
1. Ask Yourself: “Why”?
The first thing you should do when you find yourself judging another person is asking yourself: why? Why do you feel the need to judge?
Judging isn’t something that comes naturally to people.
Tthere are plenty of people who can go through weeks, months, if not years without judging those around them.
So what is broken inside of you that’s causing you to judge others?
In most cases, judging comes from internal insecurity.
We most often judge not because we dislike the person we’re judging, but because there’s something missing inside ourselves.
We feel better about ourselves when we put those around us down.
So ask yourself — what are you insecure about, and what part of yourself are you making feel better by putting someone else down?
Once you understand that insecurity of your ego, you can begin fixing it.
2. Understand Your Triggers
You’re not always a terribly judgy person, right?
There are times when you feel extra judgy, and times when you don’t care at all.
To minimize (and eventually eliminate) your judging self, you have to try to isolate those times when you are judge more than usual.
Tty to figure out what exactly you were feeling that was contributing to your need to judge.
This is known as being openly aware of your emotional habits to redirect your mental pathways and create new ones.
So next time you find yourself judging someone, try to understand your mood, your physical state, the time of day, and everything else.
Are you extra judgmental when you’re stressed, when you’re sleepy, when you’re around a certain person, or something else?
What are your triggers activating your judgmental tendencies?
3. Reposition The Way You See Other People
A judgmental person is someone who believes that they have the jurisdiction to feel negative about other people because those other people aren’t nice to them anyway.
For some judgmental people, the need to judge others comes from a place of paranoia.
You believe that most people don’t like you or would be quick to judge you back.
You don’t feel as if you’re attacking them, but rather defending yourself.
If you feel that you are judging people because of this reason, there are much bigger issues that must be dealt with first.
Namely, your distrust and intolerance of other people.
4. Stop Judging Yourself
For the most judgmental people out there, they’re constantly being chased by an unrelenting inner critic.
There’s the age-old saying: you’re your own worst critic.
But for these people, they take it up to the maximum level.
Their inner voice is constantly hating on them, magnifying every insecurity they have about themselves.
You’re fat, you smell bad, you have a terrible career, you’ve accomplished in your life, nobody really loves you.
We use judging to drown out that voice, to tell it, “See? Other people suck too, even worse than I do!”
But this is only a temporary solution because the inner critic always comes back.
Learn how to forgive yourself. Stop judging others by forgiving yourself.
5. Be More Positive and Optimistic
Judging people requires having a negative state of mind, so by simply changing your state of mind, you can automatically stop yourself from being judgmental.
A positive, happy, optimistic person doesn’t have the time to think about the flaws in other people.
They’re more than happy to go about their day without a single negative thought in mind.
Find the things in life that make you happy.
Wake up every day with intention, with the need to bring joy to others, rather than to bring people down (in your head).
In no time at all, you’ll find yourself easily finding the goodness in others rather than their issues.
6. Meet New People
It’s been proven time and again that the fewer people you know, the more likely you hold onto biases and prejudices.
Because when you have a tiny social circle, you also have tiny personal data on what people are like.
You end up believing people can only be a certain way.
If they don’t fit in that very small box of criteria you’ve been exposed to, then you quickly assume them to be wrong, stupid, flawed, or whatever else you want to think.
So meet new people.
Broaden your horizons by simply opening yourself to the lives of the kinds of people you’ve never crossed paths with in your life.
You’ll soon realize they’re just people, like you and the people you love, and there’s no reason why they don’t deserve your love as well.
7. Learn How To Help Rather Than To Judge
When we judge, we see something we feel is wrong with another person.
Whether it’s the way they dress, they look, they smell, or something wrong that they said or did.
So we keep our negative thoughts to ourselves, but use these thoughts to undermine them and think negatively of them, without them even knowing what they did wrong.
Don’t keep those thoughts to yourself.
Learn how to use them proactively, helping people who might not be aware of the things that are making others judge them.
Be the one person in someone’s life who has the guts to help them rather than judge them and gossip about them, and you will positively impact that person in ways you never imagined.
8. Write Down Judgmental Thoughts and Reframe Them
Judgmental thoughts are typically automatic, knee-jerk reactions.
Nobody mindfully wants to be a judging individual; nobody wants to be a jerk, and we all want to see ourselves as understanding, good people.
But we can’t always control our first thought when we see something, which is why the best thing we can do is control ourselves after.
So when you see yourself having judgmental thoughts, write them down. Let your eyes truly see your judging thoughts, and then secondly, connect them to a positive affirmation.
For example, if you see someone and your first thought is negative about how much weight they’ve gained, you can write the positive affirmation next to it, “They must be comfortable with their body.”
9. Practice Mindfulness With the “Five Senses” Technique
Judging people requires being in an uncomfortable or unsteady state of mind.
It’s important to bring yourself back down to earth with proper mindfulness, or being truly aware of yourself and your thoughts.
And one great way to practice mindfulness is with the “Five Senses” technique, which anyone can do at any time.
This technique involves tuning into each of your senses. Take a step back from whatever your current thoughts might be, and describe:
- Five things you can see
- Four things you can feel
- Three things you can hear
- Two things you can smell
- One thing you can taste
By tuning into our senses and acknowledging what our body is physically feeling, we help ourselves get back into the moment and remember who we are.
10. Go Somewhere You’ve Never Been
The instinct to judge others typically comes from a lack of knowledge and outdated biases and truths that we were taught as we grew up.
Our worldview is narrow, and we don’t know as much about the world and other places that we think we do.
And learning new things can become more difficult the older we get, because we become more settled in our beliefs as we age.
So how do we break out of our beliefs? Travel the world. Go to new places, experience new cultures.
If you lack the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, then it’s probably because you haven’t even tried seeing the world the way they see it — from a new place.
11. Remember: People Are Doing Their Best
At the end of the day, the easiest way to stop judging others is to remind yourself: they’re doing their best.
We all live through our own silent battles, experiencing our own traumas and tragedies, most of the time without anyone else even knowing it.
Don’t be so quick to put someone down, even if it’s just in your mind.
Remember that regardless of how it looks, even the smallest acts can be personal victories for those who are doing it.
Don’t be the kind of person who makes other people feel negative for doing things they want to do, even if they’re doing it badly.
You wouldn’t want anyone to judge you when you’re doing your best, right?
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