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Do you find your mind often veers in the direction of judgment when interacting with coworkers, spouses, and loved ones?
Have you found that people within your inner circle tend to avoid you or complain that you are too negative?
Is your inner critic drowning out your inner cheerleader?
Although critical thinking can be a tool in many areas of life, when applied too liberally, it can lead to emotional pitfalls and relational ruts.
A judgmental outlook will…
- Sap your joy. An aggressive focus on the negative qualities within others, or even within your own life, may cause you to overlook the positive attributes. Ultimately, if left unchecked, this mindset produces a deep-seated dissatisfaction.
- Damage relationships. Over time, all those negative criticisms spill over and sabotage your connections with family and friends. The emotional burden of carrying your judgments may drive away your closest companions.
- Destroy your confidence. Having judgmental thought patterns doesn’t just affect those around you, but your self-image, as you belittle and disparage your own character the same as others.
The good news is, no matter your personality and history, this cycle of cynicism can be broken. You absolutely can replace all that heavy scrutiny with a healthy dose of grace. Try the following steps to redirect your thoughts and habits:
- Acknowledge when a judgmental thought arises. Observe what situations often trigger that response, as well as the time you spend consumed by that negativity. Develop a new routine: begin reacting to those thoughts by observing the positive possibilities and perspectives.
- Consider the emotions that will be impacted. Recall instances that you have felt belittled or judged by another. Is it your honest intention to cause that same pain? Accept that no single person is perfect, and make it a point to search for the admirable qualities in those around you.
- Remember that you don’t have the full picture. Without a complete understanding of another person’s life experience, it is impossible to fairly comprehend why they behave in the way they do. Have enough humility to admit that things aren’t always black and white; a person can act contrary to your preference and still have a perfectly legitimate rationale.
- Choose to demonstrate acceptance. Everyone has unique traits, weaknesses, and faults. We all fall short of perfection. Your critical eye is unlikely to change this fact. Deciding to embrace the people in your life for who they are will foster deeper connections in relationships. Moreover, accept your own deficiencies. After all, people are more likely to learn and make progress through mistakes than perfection.
Dwelling in a spirit of judgment is draining and disheartening. It clouds your perspective and prevents you from experiencing the good that life has to offer. Using the steps above, put a stop to the pitfalls of a judgmental outlook and instead seek to appreciate the beauty in those around you, so that you may find a renewed sense of joy and contentment in an imperfect world.