A good friend of mine recently posted an open letter to a community she’s part of, writing about judgment, which was expressed. This letter made me think about having a difference of opinion versus judgment and being judgmental.
So what’s the difference?
According to Wikipedia, an opinion is a judgment, viewpoint, or statement about matters commonly considered to be subjective. In comparison to a fact, an opinion is less than absolutely certain and a result of emotion or interpretation of facts.
A judgment is an evaluation of evidence to make a decision. It has also been defined as “the faculty of being able to make critical distinction and achieve a balanced viewpoint. Often, however, is it used in a critical manner.
A judgmental person is often displaying an overly critical point of view. Often it is communicated in a disapproving, disparaging or negative way, leaving not much or no room for acceptance of differences.
Judging is normal, being judgmental is not
Where comparing and judging is a normal human activity, being judgmental is often a result of unresolved emotionality and/or learnt behavior. It is not pleasant to be around an overly judgmental person and it draws forth arguments and defensiveness.
What’s in your heart?
As my friend says in her article:
“The truth is that when you judge another person, you are not defining that person at all, you just end up defining your own self as a person who likes to judge. If there is hate in your heart, you will speak hate. Just as if there is love in your heart, you will speak that love.”
What is that you want to convey? How would you like to be treated by your friends, family and peers?
Acceptance of difference
At the heart of the matter is practicing acceptance of differences. Against common misconception, you can accept someone’s different point of view without needing to understand it. We all accept things in our lives, even enjoy them, without understanding them. Most people use the light switch without understanding the ins and outs of electricity. It’s a practical luxury, which many accept and enjoy, without needing to understand it.
When you are being judgmental, it is often because there is unmet emotional pain stored in your body. Ask yourself: What would happen, if I accept the other person? What would I not want to experience? What am I afraid to feel?
Often, this leads into uncovering what is underlying the need of wanting to convince others of your opinion.