A Woman's Voice

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY ~ On Being Judgmental ~ December 1, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

I had an interesting conversation with one of my daughters a short time ago. In this conversation, she used the word ‘judgemental’ as a negative or undesirable trait. She mentioned during this conversation that she did not want to be a ‘judgmental’ person.  I have also heard other people say such statements as “I’m tired of being judged”.  I find the use of this word rather foreign to me. I personally, seldom if ever, feel like I am being judged by others. Maybe people do judge me and I just don’t recognize it. I don’t know. As a writer, I need to have a wide variety of opinions.  It would be pretty difficult to write books, articles, or blogs without having  them.  As you can probably guess, I’m about to expound on one of these opinions today.

I know that I am not the only one with observational skills and personal opinions. I also know  that it is necessary to assess situations and  people in order to  make an informed decision about what I am observing and where those observations will lead me. This is where I am going to get a little philosophical and use an analogy to better explain my assessment of the use of the word ‘judgmental’.

Many years ago when I suffered from  depression, which is considered to be a form of mental illness, I was ashamed about my condition and chose to hide this fact from my family and friends. I felt that there was a “stigma” attached to mental illness and I did not want anyone to know so I kept it a secret as much as possible.  Now, after almost thirty years I am able to not only write about my experiences but I am far more willing to discuss what I went through when the appropriate opportunity arises. The conclusion I arrived at after all these years, is that I actually had a bias myself. I know it was a learned bias based on my personal frame of reference, but it was a bias nonetheless. At the time of my illness, I was projecting how I thought society felt about mental illness when I was the one actually thinking it.  Does that make sense? If I didn’t have my own bias toward mental illness, I would have been more open about it in the first place regardless of what anyone thought.

Okay, now I want to return to the concept of  ‘being judgmental’ or the feeling of ‘being judged’.  I think the same rationale I used for admitting to my own bias also applies here. Perhaps, people who feel that they are being judged have that trait in their own personality. If they think they are being judged in any way, shape or form, maybe it is because they are actually judgmental towards others themselves. If a trait is part of our character, we might assume that others share this same trait.

We can and do project the emotions that we are dealing with on others. We actually have no idea what other people are thinking. If we choose to express our views on other people’s thoughts, we are only sharing what is going on in our own minds. What I’m basically trying to say is this. What we think we see in others may actually live within ourselves. The only way we can ever know what someone else is thinking is if they share their thoughts with us. 

“Be nice to someone today. It might not mean much to you but it could make the world of difference to them. The ones we think deserve it the least are the ones who need it the most”.  ~ Charles Betts



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