Why Judging Others Leads to Your Suffering

Posted on January 18th, 2017

Judging yourself and others can be the source of a great deal of suffering in yourself and in your relations with other people. But what exactly is judging?

Judging is not discriminating. Discriminating is an elemental mental activity, simply comparing and contrasting two things, two people, two experiences. Comparison and contrast are necessary aspects of our seeing the world. We know it’s light because we know it’s not dark; someone is tall because someone else is shorter. We can also prefer the dark to the light, or the tall to the short—but these are again simple preferences, not judgments.

Judgment goes one step further, a step which makes all the difference. With judgment, we decide not only that we prefer one choice over another, but that one choice is better, right, or good. This makes the opposite choice worse, wrong, or bad, again because our minds work through  comparison and contrast.

Judging begins an emotional tremor which reverberates through us and through all those with whom we come in contact. The cause of this tremor is that judging removes us from the world of connection and belonging, and sets us into a win-lose world. Once we are launched into this world, we are inevitably in conflict and often in struggle.

Trying to end this struggle by coming upon the right judgment, the one which will insulate us from emotional uneasiness only entangles us more. The only way out of this dilemma is to stop judging and to begin noticing the grounds for connection again—that a choice is only a choice, not a judgment. The choice we make may be the right one for us, but it doesn’t have to be the choice for others, or even for us at another time.

When we appreciate the validity-in-itself of the short person or the tall person, the dark or the light, the world rights itself, there is room to breathe, and we can move on in life.

Posted in Individual Counseling

Please remember, this is a blog. It is not psychotherapy or treatment of any kind and is not a substitute for the individual treatment you can get from going to see a good therapist.