How to Be Less Judgmental

How to Be Less Judgmental

How to Be Less Judgmental

From criticizing ourselves for not being perfect, when nobody is, to making assumptions about others without having the full picture, judgmental thoughts happen so frequently we often don’t even realize we’re having them.

Today, let’s dive into judgmental thoughts and explore how to train your brain to overcome them.

What are judgmental thoughts?

When we have judgmental thoughts, we form opinions and rigid observations of ourselves and others based on a set of personal standards that are often unrealistic.

These thoughts are typically automatic and negative in nature. Common types include:

– Judging others based on their looks, clothing, parenting styles, and/or perceived intelligence.

– Comparing our achievements to others who are more or less successful.

– Forming opinions based on stereotypes, gossip, and biases.

Why are judgmental thoughts harmful?

When we are always passing judgment on ourselves and others, this constant state of criticism can negatively impact our mental wellbeing, driving self-comparison, harming our relationships with others, fueling anxiety, and worsening depression.

But when we work to edit these thoughts and overcome our brain’s negativity bias, we build new neural pathways and train our brain to overcome these intrusive thoughts.

Over time, practicing empathy and seeking to obtain an understanding of where others are coming from can help us bring more positivity and acceptance into our days.

Benefits of being less judgmental:

– Strengthened relationships with others.
– Less stress and anxiety.
– More tolerance and open-mindedness.
– Higher self esteem.

Ways to be less judgmental and stop judgmental thoughts in their tracks:

1. Identify triggers. Try to gain an understanding of  the circumstances that preceded the judgmental thought. For example, maybe you’re more judgmental when you’re stressed, feeling insecure, or had a bad day at work. When you have context, you can understand what’s driving the thought and begin to work to overcome it.

2. Challenge the thought. Because of your brain’s negativity bias, it is much more likely to focus on what’s wrong — so to challenge the thought, ask yourself: “Is this helpful? Is this kind?” With training and repetition, it becomes easier to shift your thoughts to something more positive.

3. Separate the behavior from the person. Just because someone makes a bad choice doesn’t make them a bad person. Try to judge actions over people and realize the difference between the mistake and the judgment you make about it.

4. Notice how judgment makes you feel. Paying attention to how judgmental thoughts feel in your body can help you practice mindfulness. Whether your shoulders feel tight or your breath has quickened, bringing yourself back to the present moment will provide you with the time and space you need to choose how you’d like to progress.

5. Give people the benefit of the doubt. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to make it through the day. The next time you have a judgmental thought, try to switch it to a more generous interpretation. For example, the next time you are in a grocery store and a toddler screams, what is the most generous interpretation you could give? What about, “That poor mother. She must be so exhausted.”

Our thoughts are not facts. By working to edit our judgmental thoughts, we can train our brain to become more resilient.

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Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.

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