Judging Someone Says More About You Than the Person You’re JudgingJun 24, 2019
A few years ago, I found out this girl from high school was making fun of me behind my back.
Apparently she thought the photos of my life in California were annoying so she’d screenshot them and send to a group chat saying things like, “Oooh look at Alissa, her life is soo perfect.”
It stung when I heard that. Not because I really cared what this girl thought of me. We weren’t close friends, or really friends at all. Though I’d always thought we mutually liked each other. No, it stung because I wondered how many other people were thinking things like that about me.
I felt unfairly judged.
Especially because I knew how my life really was. Of course the photos made things appear “perfect”, but they didn’t show the loneliness I felt sometimes or the anxiety that weighed on my heart. I’d been proud to share those photos but after hearing that, I felt stupid.
I could go on and on about how bad it felt to be judged, but I’m no better.
I’m just as guilty of being judgmental of others. I’m guilty of gossiping with the rest of ’em.
So, before I could ever go on to preach about how we shouldn’t judge, let me raise my hand up high and say I’m working on it, too.
We’re All The Same
I try to practice what I preach. I try to remember we’re all the same inside. I try to remember we all have desires, hopes, dreams, and fears. I try to remember how it hurts to feel judged.
I try but I don’t always succeed.
The first time we meet someone, we make a judgment about them. When we pass a stranger on the street, we make a judgment about them. When we see an influencer on Instagram, we make a judgment about them.
Why does she always post pictures like that?
Who would wear makeup to a work out class? She must be insecure.
They’re on vacation, AGAIN? Do they even work?
These are the more unenlightened thoughts that have arisen in me. These thoughts separate me from them.
Some days I love the world. Other days I get annoyed by a random person on Instagram. I’m a work in progress. And as a human being, I know these reactions are normal. But, as I type this out, I wonder: What causes me to act this way? Why do I let these things bother me?
My answer goes straight to: my ego.
Ego (noun): a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.
Ego is talked about often in the spiritual world and it’s sometimes hard to get a grasp on what it actually means. According to Mind Valley, “Spiritually, ego is the veil of individual personality that bars you from having a universal existence. It is because of our ego that we get the perception of separation from other beings, the Universe, and God.”
My ego, my sense of self-importance, is what gets in the way of me being compassionate and loving to other human beings. My ego tells me my needs are more important than others. I’m right, they’re wrong. I get caught up in my own world with my own agenda. The people who aren’t going along with my plan are suddenly the reason for my impatience, judgment, annoyance.
Who the heck am I to judge? I myself, am not perfect. I’ve been judged unfairly. I’ve been annoying. I’ve made someone impatient.
Consciously, I know this. Yet I have plenty of these moments where I fail to see the good in others and get too caught up in my own desires. I’m guilty of noticing others’ flaws while conveniently ignoring my own.
Everyone Is Our Spiritual Teacher
When we judge others or gossip about them, that’s our ego running the show. And as awful as it is to admit, it feels good in the moment. It feels good because it reaffirms our own self-importance which our ego thrives off of. It makes us feel superior.
Let’s bring it back to high school for a moment. Say there’s a new girl in school. She’s really pretty, smart, and nice. Her experience at a new school can go a couple of different ways:
Either she’s accepted right away and makes friends because she’s a nice, smart person. Or her presence threatens the other girls in school. Their egos are shaken because she seems “too perfect”. Instead of being accepting, they look for what’s wrong with her. They band together and gossip.
“That new girl thinks she’s all that.”
“She seems stuck up.”
“I heard she was weird at her old school.”
Sound familiar? This is the ego at work. This kind of behavior stems from insecurity and fear. Our ego tries to protect us from feeling powerless. The ego says, No, no, you’re better than them. You’re good; they’re bad.
So while giving into our ego may feel good in the moment, we feel guilty later on. We can do all the meditating, church attending, and reading of spiritual books, but if we’re judging others, we’re not living a truly spiritual life.
See the light in others and treat them as if that is all you see.Wayne Dyer
Like I mentioned, I want to be less judgmental. I want to more compassionate, patient, and loving. Well, when you say you’re committed to something, the Universe tests that commitment. It gets ready to teach you the lessons over and over until you’ve learned.
Want to be more patient? The Universe will make sure you’re behind the slowest car on the road. It’ll make sure you have computer issues, car troubles, and long lines. It’ll stick you with that person who loves to chat when you’re in a rush.
Everyone is our spiritual teacher. Especially the people who drive us crazy.
It’s easy to be a spiritual, loving person when we’re around those who make our lives easy. That’s not the point. The true test of our spirituality is when we’re around people who typically make us want to pull our hair out.
The Universe is like, hey, you said you wanted to be a more patient and loving person. Here’s someone to practice that on.
I’ve been candid. I’m still a work in progress. But, I’ve found some tactics that help me think twice when I’m about to place judgment on another person.
How to Judge Others Less and Love Them More
Picture them as they may have been as a child. Let’s say a person likes to talk about themselves a lot and yearns for constant attention. Often times, my initial reaction is to find them obnoxious and irritating. However, when I picture them as a kid, I wonder if maybe they didn’t get much attention in their family. Maybe they were bullied, so as an adult they want to speak out extra because they never had a voice before. Or maybe they do just like attention. Who knows? But what I do know is that my heart softens for this person when I view them as a child. We’re all still kids inside craving approval and connection.
Be so filled with love that you have nothing but love to give. I’ve been reading Serena Dyer’s book, daughter of the great spiritual teacher, Wayne Dyer. She had a chapter about how you can’t give away what you don’t have. She says, “You can’t give away what’s not inside of you. If you don’t have love, you can’t give love away. If you don’t have anger or hate or anxiety, you can’t give them away, either.” While it’s a tall order to only be filled with love, we can try to be so at peace with ourselves that our feathers aren’t easily ruffled. It’s been my practice to start every day in meditation and gratitude so that when I go out into my day, I’m existing in a high vibe state and not easily knocked off my game. Again, some days are better than others, but I’ve started making it an intention each day to be non-judging and more loving.
Remember, we’re all the same. We may look different, have different backgrounds, different stories. When you strip all of that away, we’re all human. I try to remember that this person I’m talking to has hopes and fears, too. They, too, have moments when they look in the mirror and don’t like what they see. They, too, beat themselves up for something stupid they said. They’ve had moments of sorrow and pain. They’re just trying to get through life the best they can. We’re all human. We all hurt sometimes. The least we can do is be kind to one another.
Look in the mirror at yourself. When something bothers us about someone, it has more to do with us than with that person. Unconsciously, we’re often bothered by traits that we’re lacking and wish we had. And we’re triggered by traits we do have that we consider undesirable.
- Trait I’m lacking: I often get annoyed by people who talk a lot and don’t listen well. I think this annoys me because I’m on the quiet side and always wished to be the type who could talk to anyone. It gets on my nerves sometimes because I’m like how do they always have something to say? On the flip side, I do value silence and the ability to listen well. But, just because that’s my value and something I’m pretty good at, doesn’t mean it needs to be the case for others.
- My undesirable trait: I’m pretty competitive. But, when I see over-the-top competitiveness in other people, I find it super annoying. Like, the type of people who always need to be first in line and will elbow others out of the way in order to win. Ick! Except, no, I’m just as competitive. This annoys me in others because it’s something I see in myself and wish it wasn’t so prevalent within me.
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.Wayne Dyer
As much as it pains us, and our ego, it’s actually not our job to decide how someone else should act. It’s not up to us to determine how they should be. Our job is to accept and love one another. You don’t have to be best friends with that person who bugs you, but change your lens for a moment. Find a way to soften towards them and discover what they’re here to teach you.
More patience? Acceptance? Gratitude for your own life?
We’re all here for a reason and we were created exactly as God intended.
The next time you find yourself placing judgment on someone, pump the breaks for a moment. How can you see the light in them? How can you soften toward them? What can they teach you? At the very least, even if you haven’t fully convinced yourself yet, simply wish them well and move on with your day.