If you were a fan of the TV series Seinfeld you will remember the scene where a woman was breaking up with George Costanza. During that conversation the line “it’s not you, it’s me” was born.
This line was an instant classic. It was repeated throughout school hallways, offices boardrooms and in family homes. It was a cute & sarcastic way for a person to let another person know…it really is you, it’s not me!
However, truth be told, George was really onto something. The idea of “it’s not you, it’s me” is directly applicable when we are judging others. Let us set the record straight and all come clean shall we – we all judge! Admit it!
“Hello my name is Sean Hubbard and I am a judger.” That feels good to get that off my chest. You try it!
I am not proud of my judgment. I do not intentionally judge. I don’t even like judgment, yet I still find myself judging. After all, I am human.
I have learned that when I am judging others, I am in fact judging myself. My disdain of another is actually a commentary on me.
Here are three reasons why judgment of another person occurs:
- Incongruent Actions: When others behave and act in a way you wouldn’t, you judge the person because their actions are conflicting with your values. You tend to become a little righteous when your values are being stepped on so you judge that person as being “bad” or “wrong” because they don’t share your values.
- Envy: You can’t be good at everything. And there are some things you wish you could do that you can’t. Often you become insecure about your lack of skills. So when you see someone performing a skill that you can’t, envy kicks in and you judge that behaviour as stupid, or bad, or arrogant (fill in the blank). But deep down you are just jealous.
- The Ugly Truth: There are certain characteristic traits you do not like about yourself. In fact you hate them. These are the dark and ugly qualities that when exposed have a negative impact on your life. You learned to either ignore them or you have tried to disown them altogether (telling yourself they don’t exist). The ugly truth is that these negative traits are a part of you, and always will be. Because you won’t admit or accept the ugly truth, you project your disdain for yourself onto others when their actions reflect those traits.
I still judge; however I am able to quickly recognize why I am judging and I can consciously stop. This has proven quite beneficial because it allows me to be more accepting of others, more productive in situations, and more accepting of myself.
The next time you find yourself judging someone else ask yourself “Am I judging this person because of incongruent actions, envy, or the ugly truth?” I think you will be amazed at your answer.