Reflections on the dangers of judgment
“Judgment is the Enemy of Understanding”
The very second you start to judge yourself or others…
…is the same second that you stop understanding.
As soon as you judge something or someone , your subconscious mind puts what you are judging either into the “good” or “bad” category.
Black or white.
No shades of grey.
And that oversimplification will mean you…
…objective information and facts.
Once you have made a decision to judge, your subconscious mind will change your focus and will guide you to look for evidence that your judgment is right and to ignore or not notice evidence that your judgment is not right. (Sometimes called “confirmation bias”)
Here’s a couple of examples to demonstrate.
First of all…
Judgment of yourself.
Let’s say you have a belief “I’m a lazy person”
Your subconscious mind will focus your attention on all the times you oversleep and don’t get things done. At it will take your conscious attention away from when you get up early and have a really productive day.
So the objective truth may be that you get up early and as you intended way more that you oversleep.
But because you have judged yourself as a “lazy” person, your view of reality is distorted and you give way more attention to the times when you oversleep. Thus confirming your biased opinion of yourself that you are lazy.
And how about judgment of others?
Let’s say you expose yourself to heavily judgmental media every day. And the newspaper you read is politically biased against a certain race or religion or culture or group of people.
This may lead you to believe what the newspaper says is a fair and objective view (which of course it is not).
So you start to believe …
………… (insert any religion or ethnic minority or nationality or group of people here) are bad.
The “judgment is the enemy of understanding” principle kicks in right at the moment you for this belief.
…you start to notice things that tell you your belief is correct.
…you start to ignore evidence that your belief is wrong.
…you stop listening to the facts and only hear what your subconscious belief wants you to hear.
So, for example, say you judge all homeless people as being “lazy scroungers”.
You never stop to listen to a homeless person.
You stop trying to understand.
You notice the headline in the news when one homeless person gets drunk and ends up in a fight.
So, you never get to really listen to and understand the objective truth that most homeless people are not “lazy scroungers”.
One of my previous clients, let’s call him Jim, was homeless.
And as I listened to Jim’s story, I got to find out that 2 years previous to becoming homeless Jim was earning a 6 figure salary in London. He was a member of all the right social clubs. He drank the finest champagne, wore the most expensive designer clothes and ate at the most exclusive restaurants.
Then one day his world changed.
He came home.
The police were at his door.
They told him his wife and kids had been killed in a car crash.
He could not cope.
His world fell apart.
He turned to drink.
Lost his job.
Lost his luxury flat.
Lost his so-called friends.
So, is Jim a lazy scrounger?
Like I said at the start…
“Judgment is the Enemy of Understanding.”
I’m off to avoid judging myself and others and remind myself that my own beliefs are not facts.
How about you?
To your happiness and fulfillment.
“Europe’s Leading Expert on Personal and Professional Growth”
Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High Performance Leadership