Do you find it hard to tolerate stupid people? Do you compare yourself to the other moms/bloggers/runners/dieters on Facebook only to find you’re beating yourself up or tearing them down to make yourself feel better? This is the face of judgment.
Everyone is judgmental, you and even me. It’s hard not to be judgmental, it’s built right into the fabric of our society, but there are ways to stop being judgmental. The problem with being judgmental is it creates a divide between us and other people. It creates a me vs. you mentality which makes it really hard to create meaningful relationships, trust, and accomplish the things we’d like to do in the world.
One day my mom and I went to the store. As we were parking, a small family piled out of their truck. It was a really cold day, and the toddler didn’t have a coat on. My mom immediately said, “OMG what kind of parent doesn’t put a coat on their kid when it’s this cold out?!” Not long ago, I would have probably been the first one to say it or at least agree with her whole-heartedly. However, I’ve been the mother of a spirited kiddo for 8 years now. I’ve been through some pretty rough mornings, and I’ve found, sometimes, it’s better to let them figure out they need a coat on their own. My own experience, plus making the decision to adopt some different beliefs about people and the world, made it much easier for me to release judgment in that moment.
In this post I’m going to share with you some of my favorite beliefs and show you how you can adopt them immediately to start being less judgmental. (It might also be useful to keep an eye on your judgments as you’re walking through the new beliefs I’m going to share… it will be very easy to dismiss these ideas, and that would be a mistake.)
1. You are not better or worse than anyone else.
You might find this one tough to swallow, but when you choose to believe this your world will open up. You may have more skills, or even different skills than someone else, but you are not better or worse than them. The belief we are better (or worse) than another being creates judgment. When you think you are better than someone else you tend to lord over them, to try to control them. Think about that boss you had who thought he was so much better than you… how did you feel around him (or her)? People, whether it’s your friends, spouse, team members, or even your kids, don’t respond well to holier than though attitudes or to being controlled. The more you try to control them, the more likely they are to rebel and defy… which simply leads to more and more judgment. What’s wrong with this kid? Why won’t she just go to bed when I tell her?! Why can’t that person just do what they said they would do? Why can’t he just put his damn socks in the basket?! What’s wrong with me?! I’m the mom! I should be able to get this kid to go to bed! The cycle continues, only getting worse over time, until there is anger and animosity bubbling over.
When you believe you are no better or worse than anyone else you can then come from a place of good intentions. You’ll find you are more willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, and open to a wider array of possibilities. More possibilities means more possible solutions to any problem. Instead of wondering what’s wrong with you or your kid or your spouse, you might find yourself asking more questions, having a conversation, trying new things. None of which would happen if you continue to believe you are better than others.
2. People always do the best they can with the resources they have available.
This one is perfect for those who have trouble tolerating stupid people, which used to include me, and still does at times. If you start believing people are doing the best they can it gives you space to lighten up. It gives you space to stop the judgments you have about them. They are no longer “stupid people” but people doing the best they can where they are at.
This is what I said to my mom that day we watched the family in the parking lot. I said, “I’m sure they’re doing the best they can. You don’t know what they’re going through.”. It’s easy to assume we know the whole story, what’s going on, what’s happened. The problem is, we base that story off what’s happening in our lives, the experiences we’ve had, the challenges we’ve overcome and how we’ve done it. Your experiences are completely different than someone else’s. They’ve grown up in a different family, with different circumstances. Their experiences have led them to different beliefs. They may not have the skills, or the understanding you have, but I believe everyone is always doing the best they can in the moment.
Choosing this belief makes things a bit easier for us… because you can’t change stupid, but you can help people learn new skills and connect with different resources. New skills and resources create different outcomes.
3. There is no failure, only feedback.
It is so easy to jump to judgment when we feel like we are going to, or have failed at something. Nobody wants to be a failure. Our society idolizes winners! If you want to be a good person, have people like you, be successful, you’ve got to be a winner. Here’s the problem with that concept. You’re never going to do anything perfectly the first time. It just doesn’t happen. You will have to fail (over and over again) before you succeed. While this is true… it can be very frustrating and even soul crushing depending on what you believe about failure.
If you decide to believe there is no such thing as failure, there’s only feedback then guess what? No matter the results, you always move forward. When I started blogging my blog posts were crap. My traffic was non existent. I made no money. All things I could take as “failures” on the road to becoming a successful blogger. However, instead of thinking that way I looked at it as feedback. I wrote more posts, and looked at the ones that got more traffic. What did people like? What did they respond to? What kind of monetization methods did people actually click on. I used what could be perceived as failures to provide me feedback to make different decisions, and try different things. Creating a successful blog didn’t happen overnight, but if I’d seen everything that didn’t go exactly as I’d expected as failure I’m sure I would have closed up shop like so many others, before I started seeing the results I wanted.
4. What’s possible in the world is possible for me.
Have you ever looked at someone who’s accomplished something you wish you could do, whether it’s running a triathalon, publishing a best seller, or simply getting their kids to bed easily at night, and found yourself saying, “Yeah but, yeah but, yeah but”? All of those yeah buts are judgments. These judgments keep you from actually accomplishing the thing you want to do. You put up walls, and barriers, you create reasons, also known as excuses, why you haven’t accomplished that thing yet.
When you choose to believe if someone (anyone) can do something in the world then you can too, it is very liberating. Now instead of tearing someone down for an accomplishment you can hold them up as proof. Proof positive that now that they’ve done it, so can you!
In fact, now you can go out into the world looking for examples of people doing what you want to do. The more proof you have that it can be done, the more proof you have that you can do it as well.
5. Flexibility is the best option in all situations.
This one is so tough for me. I know it’s true. I believe it, but it’s something completely different putting it into practice. Let me explain exactly what it means first. We all have typical ways we deal with situations, our “go to” responses and actions. However, when our go to actions don’t create our desired results we have two options. We can keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, or we can be flexible and try something different.
I can be a pretty inflexible person. I have my personal default settings, which do not always serve me well. However, when I am flexible, and try something new I can have amazing outcomes. There is no place where this is more true than being a mother. I came into Motherhood, as I believe we all do, with certain expectations, and my reality has not looked much at all like my expectations. I have learned I have to let go of those expectations in order to be flexible. Here’s a perfect example. I definitely find flexibility and patience intertwined. When I lose my patience I lose all ability to be flexible.
When you are flexible you can create change. When your mind is open to flexibility you will also find you can easily come up with new and different ways to create the outcomes you desire. You’ll be amazed how reacting in a completely new way can change a situation in an instant.
6. People have all the resources they need to achieve the outcomes they desire.
Whether you’re building a team in a network marketing business or raising an eight year old, this one can change the way you interact with people immediately. It can also be one of the most difficult to start believing, or at least that’s been my experience.
As a network marketer I found myself hand holding people new to the business. I found myself giving them everything they needed, delivered on a silver platter with a silver spoon. I did this because I believed they couldn’t do it without me. I did it because I believed they would fail if I didn’t. I would quickly get burnt out catering to a whole team day and night. Until I started believing they already had all the resource they needed within them. Luckily the company I work with made it really easy for me to start believing this, because they provided TONS of resources, and people really did have everything they needed to succeed at their finger tips. As I practiced believing it about the resources the company provided, I was also able to start believing it about the actual person. When I let go of believing they needed me to hold their hands to succeed they actually started succeeding more, because they started drawing upon their own resources, they quit waiting for me to give them the answer and just started figuring it out. They found ways to create success that never would have dawned on me.
When I saw how much this belief was changing my team I started applying it to other areas of my life as well. The kiddo especially. When I started believing she had all the resources she needed I started letting go of my compulsion to make sure I did everything to help her do things “right”. Sigh… if we had an hour we could dissect all the judgment in that statement lol. It started with little things, like getting up in the morning. She has an alarm clock, and has proven to me time and time again she can get up and get ready for school. But my judgments and my concern about other people’s judgment kept me getting in the mix. When I finally said I’m letting this go. She has everything she needs to do this on her own, and she’s proved she can, our mornings started going much better. Does she get up at the time I think she should get up? Never. Does she always get her hair brushed? Nope. Does she always get the healthy breakfast I’d like to see her eat in the morning? Nope again. But, she does get out the door, on her own volition, without me yelling. Because she has the resources. She can do it. This experience has helped me let go of a lot of the judgments I had about her… including things like she’s just trying to make me mad. She’s just trying to be difficult. She’s pushing her limits. All these judgments were not helpful to our relationship. When the day comes where she’s not willing to go to school without having her hair brushed, I’m certain she’ll start getting up a few minutes earlier.
7. The map is not the territory or the menu is not the meal.
What you believe is the world is not actually the world, it’s just a representation of the world. Much like when you go to a restaurant, you don’t eat the menu… it’s not the meal, it’s a representation of the meal.
Everyone believes different things. Even looking at the same situation, no one sees it exactly the same way. When I say the word couch each and every one of us will bring up a different picture that we identify as the word couch. When you are faced with a situation it is not the actual situation you’re responding to, you are responding to what’s going on in your head about the situation. You are responding to your internal map, which is sorting everything through your perception and altering it before you even see it. This all happens unconsciously. Our minds do whatever they can to make us right, (right being the world is congruent with what we believe) they delete and distort things to make them fit the framework of our beliefs.
When you believe you are right about something, your mind will do whatever it can to make what you see in the world support your belief. But if everything is being filtered through your beliefs, and things are being deleted and distorted are you actually right? Or is the other guy, whose mind is deleting and distorting the same situation to prove he’s right actually right? In essence, there is no such thing as “being right”… it simply your mind picking and choosing, deleting and distorting what it sees to support what you believe.
Once we realize this whole “being right” thing doesn’t really exist we can begin to change our behavior. We can choose to believe things that are more useful to us, beliefs that support us and help us create the outcomes we desire.
A belief is just a thought you keep thinking. You choose what you think. When you make the decision to change your beliefs it can be challenging in the beginning. It takes being really mindful about what you’re thinking, the judgments you’re making, identifying your default reactions, but as time goes on, and you regularly choose to think thoughts, such as the seven shared here, that support you in being less judgmental, the easier it will be.
One of the best ways I’ve found to increase my ability to be mindful through the day is to start the day with meditation. Even 10 minutes of meditation in the morning makes a complete difference in my ability to be mindful through the rest of the day. If you’ve been struggling to start a meditation practice you might find it easier to use guided meditation videos. You can even get a ten minute guided meditation videos sent straight to your inbox every morning… click the image below to learn more.