Balance, Wellness

How I Stopped Passing Judgment On Others & Gained A Self-Esteem Boost

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If you’re feeling low, passing judgment on others may feel natural–but as it turns out, passing judgment is a route to the opposite of happiness.

How You Can Find Happiness by Fighting the Urge to Judge Others

Though rompers aren’t exactly new to the world of men’s fashion (they used to be called jumpsuits), RompHim has recently brought them back to the forefront of public consciousness. The derisive response to these seemingly benign pieces of clothing is also something we’ve seen before. Everyone has an opinion on the male romper, and most aren’t kind.

The most common complaint is that the romper is “unmasculine.” This no doubt stems from the notion that rompers are traditionally viewed as “women’s clothing.” Personally, I question what about shorts attached to a shirt of the same material is so threatening. While you certainly don’t have to like them, shouldn’t men — and all people, for that matter — feel free to wear whatever they want?

Why do we have to judge people for such ridiculous things? Scratch that — why do we have to judge people at all?

I suppose, in a way, we are conditioned to do it. Sometimes we judge others based on ignorance or fear; after all, something different or unknown can be intimidating. Sometimes we do it as a way to bond with friends. Sometimes we judge because we are insecure — we want to feel good by making others feel bad. This behavior has to stop. By judging our fellow human beings, we hurt people, perpetuate stereotypes, and encourage negative self-talk.

I’m not perfect. Although I strive to be non-judgemental, I still have my slip-ups. However, I have come a long way from where I used to be. Here are just a few of the things I used to judge others for, and how I’ve learned from my mistakes:

Diet

I have to start this section with an apology to my fellow Dumplings. I used to think vegans were crazy. I took no issue with vegetarians, but for some reason, I viewed vegans as taking things a step too far. It seems absurd when I think about it now. Why on earth would someone’s dietary choices mean that much to me?

I met my darling friend Trisha at work. She had the perfect pixie cut and always looked so put together. After chatting multiple times, we realized that we shared a love of makeup, Halloween, and Game of Thrones. I also found out that she was vegan. Being unabashedly curious about anyone with different life experiences, I began to ask her a litany of questions about veganism.

Trisha educated me on the ins and outs of animal welfare, she taught me about biomimicry, and she encouraged me to make the switch to cruelty-free cosmetics. She was never pushy, preachy, or unkind. She was just … wonderful. Thanks to Trisha, I’ve added a host of vegan meals to my recipe book, learned how to make easy substitutions, and most importantly, stopped judging people for their dietary choices.

Body Shape

I freely admit that the judgment I used to pass on other’s bodies was based purely on my own self-image issues. I’m fat, and though I’ve made peace with it now, it used to be something I was horribly ashamed of. My self-loathing led me to mock other people based on their size. Overweight, underweight, and everything in between, I was an equal opportunity body-shamer.

Thankfully, I know better now. After I learned to love and accept my own body, I stopped feeling the need to judge others. What’s more, I educated myself on issues surrounding body-shaming. There’s so much in our society that feeds into this horrible practice, including the common misconception that weight issues are simply due to a lack of willpower, as well as the widespread use of Photoshop in advertisements and magazines. These messages cause people to feel that they alone are at fault for their weight and only adds to the chronic stress that can lead to eating disorders.

I now speak out against body shaming in all forms. I truly believe that no person should ever be made to feel “less than” because of the shape of their body. It’s high time we start honoring all body types for their own unique beauty. The human body is gorgeous, regardless of size, shape, color, gender, and age.

Addiction Issues

I consider myself incredibly lucky that I don’t have an addictive personality. I’m not much of a drinker, I’ve never smoked a cigarette, and I’ve never had issues with drug abuse. I don’t tell you this hoping to get a pat on the back, it’s merely so you understand why I was so oblivious to the truth behind addiction.

I used to judge drug addicts and alcoholics harshly. Why the hell couldn’t they pull it together and just stop using? Well, it’s just not that simple. Much like veganism, it took me getting close to former addicts and alcoholics to truly grasp the complexities of addiction. Now, I no longer dish out judgment left and right. Instead, I’ve educated myself on relapse triggers, offer support to those who need it, and campaign for research-based prevention programs and increasing the availability, affordability, and access to drug treatment programs.

How to Stop Passing Judgment

The easiest way to stop passing judgment on others is to focus on your own life. If you feel the urge to judge someone else crop up, ask yourself “How do this person’s choices harm me or others?” If the answer is that it doesn’t, then it’s time to move on. Don’t concern yourself with what other people wear, how they spend their money, who they love, what their religion is, what color their skin is, where they’re from, how they parent, and so on. Think about your own life and focus on the positive.

It’s also important to remember how it feels to be judged. It doesn’t feel good to judge people, and it definitely hurts when others judge you. I know that I still have a long way in my own non-judgemental journey. I need to work on my self-confidence until I’m strong enough to not to look down on others. The golden rule dictates that we should treat others the way we want to be treated. I don’t want to be judged, therefore I should stop judging. It’s really as simple as that.  

Have you struggled with passing judgment on others?

Also by Liz: 6 Essential Things You Must Do In Your 30s Because, #Adulting

Related: Neuroscience Says This Is The Formula For True Happiness

Letting Go Of Perfection Might Be The Best Thing For Your Happiness

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This article previously appeared on June 29, 2017.

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Photo: Unsplash

Liz Greene
Liz Greene is a makeup enthusiast, rabid feminist, and an anxiety-ridden realist from the beautiful city of trees, Boise, Idaho. You can follow her latest misadventures on her blog, Three Broke Bunnies
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