Judgmental vs. Critical

By | December 3, 2011

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.” Jack Handey, American humorist

 

It’s a tough one. We are being told “Don’t judge” yet when we’re old enough to know right from wrong we realize that everyone is doing it but no one is openly admitting it. I know I am. After some deliberation I came to the conclusion that one can be critical and that could be helpful because it is directed at a situation, issue or behavior trait rather than at the person. But sheer judgment targets the person and that is hurtful. I will not serve you the “There is something good in every one of us” because quite frankly lately I have a hard time believing that. Over the summer I have been confronted with some facts of life that have brutally bent that belief out of shape. Whether temporarily or permanently I don’t know, but that’s not for me to decide now and I will try my best to not let it overcast my good thoughts when meeting new people.

Back to judgement: I don’t see it as a helpful tool. In most cases if not all it hurts and it is merely a projection of a “goody two shoes” attitude. We’re seriously believing we’re better by extending judgement over people. Whether we really are or not is a matter that carries a high degree of subjectivity so it is futile I believe to try and settle it. I can’t speak for others, of course, but in my case, when I am being critical I do it with the intention of making a situation better or raising questions that might ultimately lead to that. When I judge I know it’s one of those things that could hurt if I were to say out loud. And not saying it out loud is plain cowardice so there really is no decent way out of it.

I am not in the business of bettering myself to the point of becoming nauseatingly good, that’s a fool’s errand, and will tempt folks to judge which defeats the very purpose of my writing this. So I won’t do it. But becoming conscious about it means that I will hopefully judge less and accept people for what they are. I may not agree with their lifestyle, with their convictions and ideas, but as long as they are not hurting my world or the people in it, all I can do is accept the fact that we are all different. Hardly ever has anyone benefited from being judged, but many situations and issues have improved when people stepped in with healthy critical tools and some good solutions at hand. Leaving egos at the door makes for a less intimidating environment where everyone agrees that no one is fault-free enough to cast the first stone. Please feel free to throw in your two cents, I think it’s safe to agree that it’s a judgment-free space.

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