It’s an unhealthy habit that we often don’t realise we are doing. Ahead, some tips on how to show more compassion.
Have you recently caught yourself judging someone for their appearance, behaviour or relationship, only to feel guilty about it?
Casting judgement is natural - we all do it. But an unhealthy amount can intensify negative thoughts, and it’s important to remember that we only know so much about somebody else’s life. Being judgemental can hurt other people, and is exhausting for the person doing it. Here’s how to show a little more compassion:
1. Put pen to paper. When you have a judgemental thought, do write it down. Then rewrite and reframe it as a positive affirmation. If you judge your friend’s sense of fashion, your empathetic rewrite might be, “She seems to feel comfortable with herself, no matter what she’s wearing. I’ll have to ask her what her secret is”. By reframing negative thoughts, we feel better about ourselves too.
2. Try the “five senses” technique. This mindfulness technique can help to shift negative thinking. Describe five things you can see in that moment, four you can physically feel, three you can hear, two you can smell and one you can taste. This method helps you to be present in the moment and better able to consider the intentions behind your actions and judgements.
3. Interact with new people, places and ideas. Our instinct to judge usually comes from a lack of experience with certain people, behaviours or actions, and is created based on our own biases. To challenge those deeply held beliefs, try travelling more often. The more we get used to different ideas, the more we become less suspicious about things we had initially disapprove of.
TIP: Identifying when we’re at our most judgemental can help us slow our critical thoughts in those moments.