Do you make snap judgements about people the second you meet them?
Do you make clearer, more detailed judgements about them after talking to them for a few minutes?
While talking to them do you make unsubstantiated judgements about a person’s class, or what you perceive their class to be?
Do you try to assess (judge) their moral code by the few sentences you share with them?
Do you try to ascertain (judge) what their status in society might be?
Do you try to work out (judge) how much money they may or may not earn, which will give you a more decisive answer to the previous question?
Are you looking at their clothes to decide (judge) whether they are similar enough to you to engage with a little deeper?
Do they ‘seem nice’ or is there ‘just something you don’t like about them’, you can’t quite put your finger on it, but…?
If any of that is true for you then you are being judgemental. How dare you!
Being Non-Judgemental Makes You Better
As you may have heard, one of the highest manifestations of enlightenment is to be non-judgemental. Nothing demonstrates the ability to rise above the normal expectations of a human-being than conforming to non-judgemental practice in every situation in life.
Exhibiting a non-judgemental focus and attitude will, among other things, help you achieve greater spirituality, make you happier, improve the quality of your friendships and open you up to new experiences, and these are just a few snippets of bullshit I’ve read about the benefits of being non-judgemental.
Again, Without the Bullshit
Okay, let’s start again… before you start feeling like there’s something wrong with you.
Do I make snap judgements about people the moment I meet them? Yes, of course I do, and so does everyone else.
Do I make clearer, more detailed judgements about them after talking to them for a few minutes? Yes, obviously! How else would I find out if they were vacuum cleaner collectors or a member of the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society and know to avoid them in future.
While talking to them do you make unsubstantiated judgements about a person’s class, or what you perceive their class to be? Most judgements in the early moments of an encounter are unsubstantiated. It’s our brains way of making the ‘best guess’ with the information we have at that time. I usually make judgements and assumptions based on class due to past experiences. I have a very low tolerance of people who deem themselves better than others, based on their ‘class’ or status in society. So, if I get a sniff of pompousness when meeting someone I quite rightly ‘judge’ that that person is an asshole, and refrain from speaking to them again, if possible.
Do you try to assess (judge) their moral code by the few sentences you share with them? Again, yes! If a person I meet starts to divulge certain attributes which don’t mesh with my own moral code, of course I make judgements about that. Who doesn’t? If for example they’re into big game hunting and went off on safari a couple of times a year shooting the faces off giraffes, I would find that morally reprehensible and that meeting would never flourish into a friendship.
Do you try to ascertain (judge) what their status in society might be? When you meet someone new its basically a mapping exercise. Your brain is trying to gather as much information as possible to create your own personalised image of that person. Some things matter more to some peoples’ brains than others, and as such, certain attributes you perceive may score higher or lower in whether they matter to you or not.
An example might be meeting a person who is homeless. For some, the fact this person is homeless might trigger empathy, sympathy or pity. In others it might trigger annoyance, anger or blame. Regardless on your stance on homelessness you still make judgements based on this information.
Are you looking at their clothes to decide (judge) whether they are similar enough to you to engage with a little deeper? People look for symmetry when meeting new people. If a person mirrors you in any way that’s an indicator that they are in some way the same as us. It’s a commonality which makes communication easier and we assume that if we dress in similar ways we probably have other things in common. Its also linked to the status of a person which I mentioned earlier.
Do they ‘seem nice’ or is there ‘just something you don’t like about them’, you can’t quite put your finger on it, but…? Now this is an ambiguous factor in judgement as its not only based on very limited information, but also on a person’s intuition. It can also be reliant on many subconscious signals or triggers of which we have limited conscious knowledge.
Someone can also ‘seem nice’ and trigger mistrust within you at the same time, without you knowing why. This is when you start to question your own judgement and must decide based your best guess or gut feeling. Remember, it’s also possible for a person to be nice and untrustworthy. You’ve got your work cut out for you in the judgement game.
Judging Others Is Normal
Being judgemental is not only normal, its essential. Without it we’d be up shit creek without a paddle when it came to deciphering which people are a positive fit for us. Judgement is a filtering system we use according to our values. It’s a safety mechanism that allows in the like minded and jettisons the incompatible.
There is no such thing as a non-judgemental approach. To state you are non-judgemental is a falsehood. To strive to be non-judgemental is to strive to reverse nature. You’re fighting a losing battle. Striving to be more open, empathic, accepting, loving, honest, tolerant and less contentious, rigid, prejudicial, harmful and uncaring in all aspects of your life is a better use of your energy.