It is a clear part of human nature to look at other people, how they act, and the things they do and make judgments about this.
Often, these are fairly minor and kept to yourself. But then, if you are not mindful of this, it will get out. This is where gossip and general conversation about other people comes from.
No matter how hard you try not to judge other people, you are still doing it. This tends to come from the need to compare yourself to other people. It also comes from the process of seeking to be your best, but along the way to not be emulating someone you do not wish to be like.
Why do you do this? How come everyone does this? Part of this is just human nature. People tend to be comparative, competitive, and in being at all analytical apply their experience and perception to others.
You have a unique experience and perception of life, the Universe, and everything. The places you have been and lived, the environments, communities, education, upbringing, relationships, associations, and everything else that has been experienced by you influences and impacts your world view.
This is true for everyone. But due to the relative size of the reality you occupy, this can be difficult to see.
Your reality is exclusive to you
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” — Albert Einstein
Reality, as you know it, is centered around you. That is not a commentary about selfishness, it’s the truth. You are the only one inside of your head, and so you are the only one who views reality as you do.
What about the rest of the world? The “reality” of the world is based on collective consciousness. Certain beliefs and truths are drawn together and make up the fabric of the overall experience that is reality. This is where you can see the Law of Attraction in action, as like attracts like and a shared experience becomes part of your collective reality.
But your perception of reality is solely yours. Everything that happens to you along the way influences how you perceive reality. Further, your reality is colored by your overall demeanor, thought process, attitudes, thoughts, feelings, actions, and environmental factors of where you are.
This only becomes a matter of selfishness when you do not recognize that other people live in their own realities, and are not subject to your whims and ways. Selfish people tend to believe that theirs is the One True Way, and all others are not right, AND should be changed.
All that being said, perception of reality impacts judgment of others. You exist in a certain way, from a perspective specific to you. Since nobody else is exactly like you, you may judge them based on this.
Most of the time these judgments are subtle, and even largely inconsequential. However, that is not always the case.
Be mindful of passing judgment
Since you are always looking at, comparing, contrasting, and inadvertently judging people based on YOU and your experience, knowledge, environment and various other factors, judgment gets passed. For the most part, this is entirely within yourself and is not shared or otherwise publicized.
However, you still may find yourself exposing your judgment of other people, with other people.
This can take the form of a simple conversation. It is where gossip tends to begin. Someone might make a comparison you agree with, and in the process, you are verbalizing your judgment.
Please note, this is not necessarily malicious. Sometimes that judgment is based on an idea of how that friend/acquaintance/coworker can be changed. If only he wasn’t so loud; it would be great if she saw that her partner is no good for her; you’re right, they would be so much better off without their pets. Look familiar?
Well-meaning though it may be, this is still a judgment about another person getting vocalized. You are now sharing your judgment of that person, and as such, contributing to impressions of that person.
Why be mindful of judging others? How does this matter to you? Because often, the judgment of others is a reflection of ways in which you either believe yourself to be, or fear yourself to be.
Judging others implicates you yourself
Many of the things we see and judge in other people are either things we see in ourselves, or that we hope we are not also doing or being.
For example, when you see someone else as arrogant, you either believe you are also arrogant or fear that you are. If you judge someone as foolish, you either think you are as well or fear that you are. When you judge someone’s choices, you either have made similar choices or fear the repercussions of doing so.
This is not discounting that there are bad people who do bad things out there. This is not a matter of judgment or opinion. When the objective behind something that you do is intentionally hurtful, harmful, cruel, or otherwise unkind, you are not being a good person. Good people do not intend harm of any kind on other people. This is not a judgment, this is a fact.
Even acknowledging that bad people are a thing, some of the (rightful) judgments of them are ALSO based in your fear that you are similar, or doing similar.
The question is, how do you avoid judging people?
Be mindful of the conversation
You are going to make silent judgments of other people. That’s just the way it is, it is a part of human nature, and you cannot avoid it. However, you can take actions to avoid making your judgment public.
When you find yourself getting into a conversation about that other person, before you begin to agree or disagree or really talk about it…walk away. Change the subject. Do something to pull yourself away from expressing judgment.
Excuse yourself from the conversation. Make a non-committal statement to the effect of, “I would prefer to not say anything here.”
This is totally easier said than done. Or more specifically, easier thought of than done. When you are talking to a friend or loved one or group of friends, and the conversation gets onto the subject of a specific person or group, it is nearly impossible to not discuss it. Part of that falls under the general, unwritten social contract of human interactions, and part of it is subconscious, unintentional, and part of the flow.
Which brings up the final aspect of passing judgment.
Forgive yourself for being judgmental
Because of how selfish, self-serving, narcissistic, egotistical, unkind, and other uncomplimentary things you can say about our culture today, being judgmental is often lumped into the intentional unpleasantries you encounter. Thus, when you find yourself being judgmental, you may also feel guilt and dissatisfaction.
Because you are going to judge people no matter how much you strive not to, when you end up doing so, forgive yourself. Unless you are intentionally attempting to be hurtful or otherwise cause harm, forgive yourself.
Being mindful of what you think and feel can help you be better about not sharing the judgments of other people and groups that you make. Even knowing this, when you still verbalize it, unless malice is involved, you can forgive yourself.
Just making the effort to judge less blatantly is a step towards creating greater inner peace, and building your best life and being the best you that you can be.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done, even when you are being judgmental, unless your intent is malicious, that does not lessen this truth.