I know that you might be wondering why would I even want to judge people, when all the personal development coaches say that judgment is bad. And before you go ahead and judge me for promoting judgment, let me first explain what judgment means to me, and how I use judgment to get to know myself better.
To begin with, when I say judging others, I do not refer to getting together with a group of friends and gossiping about someone (although I use to do this too). What gossiping does, is giving you a false sense of connecting with your friends by putting yourself on a pedestal and referring as being better, smarter, more accomplished, then the person you are gossiping about.
The truth is we all judge, whether we admit it or not. When we judge we separate ourselves from the other person by comparing to them, and seeing them as more or less than ourselves. And that is exactly what I mean when I talk about judgment: separating ourselves from others (or what Gabby Bernstein says in her book Judgment Detox: “judgment is separation from love”).
Judgment does not always have to be directed towards other people, where we think of them as less than us. Judgment can also be directed towards ourselves, when we think of ourselves as less than others.
The main reason we use judgment is to protect ourselves from feeling pain or suffering caused by a traumatic event or seemingly normal situation which on some level has hurt us in the past. So instead of looking within to find the source of our pain and suffering, we project our insecurities onto other people. Which for a moment makes us feel good about ourselves.
These insecurities are deeply rooted in our belief system, which on unconscious level, guide us through life. Our belief system – consisted of the beliefs we have about ourselves, others, and the world in general – for the most part was developed during our childhood. Many of our core beliefs were transferred to us from our parents and family, friends, peers, teachers, and the culture and society we live in.
However, the good news is that our beliefs are not static. We can actually change them. In order to do so, first we need to become aware of the beliefs that are not serving us, which are holding us back from achieving the things that we want in life. Identifying our limiting beliefs is not easy, especially because we want to protect ourselves from experiencing the pain and hurt that caused us to develop those beliefs in the first place. Which is why I use the “Judge others to get to know yourself” exercise. This exercise is one of the tools I use to help me identify those limiting beliefs which are preventing me from being the best version of myself, as well as remembering my past experiences which led me to develop those beliefs.
As I mentioned earlier, when we judge others, we project onto them our own insecurities and fears. When another person says or does something which is a reflection of our own fears and wounds from the past, instead of owning that part of ourselves, we project it onto the other person and judge them. This in return makes us feel safe and protected in that moment. Judging others can have different forms, from intentionally putting down another person for something they did or said, to yelling or honking at the person who cut you in traffic or drives slow in the fast lane on the highway.
Each time we perceive something in others, which reminds us of some fear or pain, we get into a judgmental mode, and we do so without even being aware of it. And this is how judging other people can help you get to know yourself better. Noticing your judgments will help you become aware of your fears, insecurities, and limiting beliefs which are holding you back in life. Once you identify your limiting beliefs, you can then go on and question them to see whether they serve you or not. If they don’t then replace them with new beliefs.
To make it easier for you, I created a workbook, where I take you through a series of questions to help you get to know yourself better by understanding which limiting belief that you hold has caused the judgment, and where it originates from. To get the workbook click on the link below.
Starting this phase of self-discovery can be very discomfortable. Bringing back a painful moment from the past and going through it again would not be easy for sure. You might even learn that some seemingly normal situations have led you to develop certain limiting beliefs. It might be something that your parents, teachers, friends, or childhood crush did or said that was hurtful to you. However, exposing those situations will help you understand why have you developed certain beliefs, how they are stopping you from being your best self, and transform them into new beliefs which will help you move forward in life.
P.S. Those of you who are interested in learning more about how to understand yourself and other people better, here are a few books that have been helpful for me: