It’s perilous to develop an ego that thinks you’re superior to others. Humans tend to be judgmental by nature, and it’s ingrained in you since birth. Some people tend to be more hypercritical than others, but everyone does it in some capacity. Letting go of this air of superiority can help increase your kindness towards others.
You may not realize the dangers of being so negative all the time, as it can affect your ability to empathize with others. You know you should walk a mile in someone’s shoes before judging them. Yet so many people don’t utilize this ability, and their empathetic side lacks.
The Dangerous Game of Judgment of Others
Assume that you’re at a play at your child’s school. You notice that a family there is not dressed the best. Their clothes are older and faded, and they need a shower. You immediately start to judge them based on their appearance.
You don’t know that these people are homeless and live in their cars due to a job loss. They don’t have access to running water, and showering is a challenge. So, it was hard for them to come, given their circumstances, but they wanted to see their child’s play.
Now, how do you feel about these people? If you knew their story, would you have condemned them so harshly? Passing judgment on others blocks your empathetic abilities, and you can’t be a decent human being when you’re so critical of others.
Nine Ways of Letting Go of Judgment
Since having a critical nature is commonplace in society, it’s not an easy habit to break. Here are some things you can do to stop being so hypercritical and enhance your empathetic side.
1. Never Judge a Book by Its Cover
Being judgmental can be detrimental to all aspects of life. A plumber wanted to take on an apprentice to teach the trade. Two men showed up for the interviews. One man was polished and had a suit on with a resume in hand.
The other person was rather rough-looking, and he was covered in tattoos. The plumber automatically assumed the rougher-looking man wouldn’t be a good worker, so he hired the more polished person. Within a few months, the one who appeared so put together on the outside showed his true colors, and he stole over $20,000.
Feeling regretful, he called the second guy and asked him to work for him. That was over thirty years ago, and he is now running the place after the plumber’s death. When you let go of criticism, you see people differently, as things are never as they seem.
2. Don’t Become the Victim
Have you ever played the victim? Sure, everyone has a time or two in their life when they use this card. Sadly, some folks use it as a crutch and a way to survive.
If you fail, it’s easy to point the finger at everyone else and blame them rather than take responsibility for your wrongdoings. When you blame everyone else, you also become critical and judge them. Why do people feel the need to focus on external circumstances so much?
Did you know that playing the victim is a damaging and self-defeating behavior often tied to some mental weaknesses? According to the National Library of Medicine, you often find this behavior in someone with lower self-esteem, minimal empathy, and the need to control a situation. They can present as selfish or narcissistic.
When you start taking responsibility for your actions, not only will you have personal growth, but you will bring out your compassionate side with yourself and others.
3. Watch Who’s in Your Inner Circle
Birds of a feather always flock together, as you don’t see blue jays hanging out with sparrows. The friends you keep say something about you, and if your friends pass judgment on others, you will feel that it’s acceptable to be so critical. Sure, everyone likes to gossip occasionally, and trash talk can be exciting, but it doesn’t feel good when you’re the topic of interest.
When you alter your inner crowd, you will see a difference in your empathy towards others. You will turn away from toxic gossip and learn to speak positively. Fill your inner circle with positive and ambitious people who have no time to pass judgment on others, as they’re too busy living life to the fullest.
4. Stop Driving Good Folks Away from You
People are attracted to those who are positive and radiate joy. When you’re negative and have a black cloud of doom hanging over you, you will only attract people of the same mindset. You can drive good folks away from you when you have a critical attitude.
5. Don’t Allow Judgment to Cause You to Accumulate Guilt
It seems odd that when you criticize others, you accumulate guilt inside. Have you ever been negative towards someone and then felt guilty about it later? When you don’t know this person’s story, you have no right to be critical or mean towards this individual.
This allows negativity to build inside you from all the guilt you carry. Guilt is a heavy load to carry. How can you show others your compassionate and empathetic side when always pointing out flaws and imperfections? Letting go of these guilty feelings can be an excellent place to start.
6. Live with Consciousness
When you’re consciously aware of the things going on around you, you have a different view of the world. Understanding the true nature of items helps you to realize that everyone is human and fallible, including yourself. Diversity is the spice of life, and the world would be boring if everyone were the same.
Having folks from various cultures, religions, and beliefs different from yours only adds to the dynamic that makes this world a fascinating place. Looking through these lenses of appreciation, you see that it doesn’t equate to judgment.
When you develop this mindset, it becomes more challenging for you to be hypercritical as you appreciate the differences in one another and see them as strengths and not challenges.
7. Think Optimistically When Letting Go
The age-old debate about whether the glass is half-full or half-empty has much bearing on your outlook in life. The beauty is that if you don’t know which side of the debate you fall on, you always have the option of knowing that you can refill the cup at any time. When you develop an optimistic outlook, you start to believe that you can change the future.
So, what if the glass is half-empty? Can you refill it anytime you want? Wouldn’t it be nice if positivity was something that you could attain by the snap of your fingers?
It’s challenging to be positive in such a hostile world, but the good news is you can control the negativity. When you change your mindset and stop allowing yourself to see things through a pessimistic lens, you will change your view of people.
Watch yourself become more empathetic as you let the critical side of you fall by the way. It’s effortless to accept others and their indifference when you’re optimistic.
8. Letting Go of Stereotyping and Labeling
Why do people need to categorize one another and label folks? You define this person as rich, while this one is poor. Why does money equal quality and worth in this life?
According to Dr. Monnica Williams from the Moment US Institute, she states that these behaviors are part of a dysfunctional class system. Using this mindset, you see others you judge at a disadvantaged or advantaged status. When you proximate with many types of people, the stereotypes fall, by the way, as does the attitude of superiority.
Conversely, you don’t need to have a penny to be rich beyond compare. When your heart is full of love and empathy for others, your value is priceless. How many good people have you stopped from entering your life simply because you put them in a category of unworthiness according to your standards?
9. Love One Another As You Love Yourself
Every action you make in this life comes with consequences, whether in your words or thoughts. You know how hurtful it is when you’re the center of gossip, so why do something that would hurt others? When you’re overly critical of people, you will bring the same judgment onto you.
Remember, the Golden Rule says to “Do unto others as you want them to do to you,” If you live by this as a guideline, you will see that the world is a much better place.
Final Thoughts on Increasing Empathy by Letting Go of Judgment
While there are aspects in the world you cannot change, there are many things that you can alter. Take, for instance, a person who needs glasses. Without these corrective lenses, it’s very challenging to see clearly. However, everything suddenly becomes vibrant and focused when they put on their glasses.
Letting go of the blinders of negativity and criticism, you start to see and appreciate the diversity in others. You’re more empathetic to their needs and don’t judge them based on differences. You never know what another person is going through, so be kind.