What Judging Others Reveals About You

outcast girl
Do you know what judging others reveals about you? A lot.

Judgment can really be an ugly thing.

A few months ago, I was line at the gym waiting to swipe my membership card to enter the gym for my morning workout when I heard something disturbing.

Two women who were ahead of me in line started chuckling to themselves and commenting about a woman inside of the gym.

Lady #1: “I wonder if fat-ass Shamu is here this morning.” (Side note: In case you didn’t know, “Shamu” is the name of the huge orca at Sea World.)

Lady #2 (pointing at an overweight woman on an elliptical machine wearing a black-and-white outfit): “Yep, there she is! God, she is such a pig!”

Then they both swiped their membership cards and chuckled their way inside of the gym.

Yes, these were grown women in their 30’s, who got their jollies by making fun of a woman who presumably was working hard to positively deal with the issue that they were currently laughing at her for (if that makes any sense.)

Yes, judgment really is such an ugly thing.

Unfortunately for those two women, what they didn’t realize is that their comments about that woman told me (and the world) so much more about them than it did about that woman.

The Truth About Judgment

When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.” -Earl Nightingale

For some reason, people love to judge other people.

I know firsthand, because I’m definitely guilty of doing it too. I don’t do it nearly as much as I used to, but I still catch myself doing it more often than I should.

Whenever I slip up and start becoming judgmental of others, I take a step back, and remind myself of this truth:

We usually judge others in the areas where we feel the weakest.

Seriously, think about it.

If you’re being honest with yourself, I’m sure that you can relate to some of the common examples below:

“Ugh, why can’t that mother control her unruly kids?? They are running through the store like animals!” (Translation: “I don’t feel great about my abilities as a mother, and it makes me feel a little better to judge a woman who appears to be struggling in her duties more than I am.”)

“Why is this guy’s blog more popular than mine? His blog posts look like a third-grader wrote them.” (Translation: “I wish that my blog was as popular as his is, and I’m insecure about the fact that it isn’t.”)

“This woman thinks that she’s all that because she drives a fancy car and has so much money–it’s disgusting.” (Translation: “I wish that I had as much money as she did, and by judging her as a villain, it makes me feel a little better about being broke.”)

“Look at that dude smiling all of the time, he’s so fake and annoying.” (Translation: “I wish that I was happy enough to smile all of the time. But since I’m not, I’m going to judge this guy as a phony and a fraud.”)

“Look at that fat-ass whale on the treadmill, she’s such a mess.” (Translation: “I don’t feel great about how I look, and it makes me feel good to viciously judge someone who I believe looks worse than I do.”)

Be real with me–do you know anyone who is completely secure with themselves who also consistently and harshly judges other people in the ways described above?

Yeah, me neither.

That’s because our judgments reveals our soft-spots. Our insecurities. Our weaknesses.

And usually, we harshly judge others because we do the same to ourselves.

Here’s how we can change that.

Remain in Curiosity

I’m not naïve about this judgment stuff.

I don’t think that it’s possible to live a life where we never judge anyone, ever.

That’s an admirable goal for sure, but my goal is to offer solutions that are realistic enough for people to be willing to give them a try.

And here’s a simple one to remember next time you’re feeling the urge to be a little “judgy” of others:

Remain in curiosity and stay out of judgment.

Judgment shuts us down and keeps us from understanding the full situation. If we’re being honest, most judgments about people are based on incomplete information.

Curiosity, on the other hand, keeps us open to the possibility that there is something about the situation that we don’t fully understand.

Whenever I see people acting in ways that I think are insane, stupid, or worse–this is the question that I ask myself:

“I wonder what’s going on with that person that I don’t know about?”

I’ll admit, this may sound simple, but it’s much easier said than done.

Judging people is easy, and it some cases, it can even feel good to do it. On the other hand, being curious requires maturity, emotional intelligence, and a healthy dose of self-control to do it consistently.

Even though in my mind, I immediately (and pretty viciously, to be honest) started to judge the two women at the gym who were pulling the “mean girls” routine, I was eventually able to step back and look at their behavior with curiosity by asking myself:

“I wonder what would cause two grown women to act in such a mean-spirited way toward a woman who is minding her own business at the gym?”

Lots of different answers came into my mind, and the act of switching from judgment to curiosity made it possible for me to shift to a more positive frame of mind.

And once I was finally in that positive frame of mind, I shifted my attention to the person who deserved my attention way more than those two women did:

Specifically, the woman who was on the wrong end of those rude comments.

So, I decided to do something about it.

Making Things Right

I have been on the wrong side of harsh judgment before, and I know how much it can hurt.

Whether it’s the fact that I smile a lot, or because people think that I’m delusional for fighting for a kinder world, or even because of the color of my skin, I’m used to being judged.

These days, I expect it and I’m actually okay with it.

That’s because no one can judge me more harshly and viciously than I have judged myself.

(You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.)

While that’s all true, it still really bothers me to see other people being the butt of other people’s mean-spirited teasing and jokes. And even though the woman on the elliptical machine didn’t hear a word that the two women in line said about her, I still felt the need to do something about it.

So, did I angrily confront the two women who made the “Shamu” comment?

No. There’s no point in wasting my energy on people who aren’t open to hearing the message.

Instead, as I was walking to the locker room, I made eye-contact with the woman on the elliptical and I smiled at her.

She genuinely smiled back, and then she put her head down and re-focused on her workout like a boss.

Sure I didn’t do much, but in that very brief moment that we shared, I wanted her to know that in a world where she may be harshly judged by others, I will not be one of those people who does it.

Will that brief moment that we shared make a positive difference in her life?

I have no idea.

Only she can be the judge of that.

Your Turn

Do you judge people often? How do you deal with it when you become judgmental of others? Jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!

48 thoughts on “What Judging Others Reveals About You”

  1. Yes, I am judgmental about one thing, now that I did make my health change and have lost a huge amount of weight.. now in a healthier body and athletic. Just over a year ago, I could barley walk due to my obesity. Now training for a half marathon.. running competitive races, regularly. My judgmental attitude? Heavy people. I will be honest. When I see a heavier person stuffing their face with fast good or junk, it now turns my stomach. Or I see them in one of those sit down auto carts at Walmart, instead of walking through the store, to get at least a little exercise.. I get disgusted. Why? Because I fear being like that again. I am so scared I will fall off of my new found, healthy mind set and return to old habits. I dream of being ‘fat’ again. It scares the you know what out of me. Wow.. admitting that is powerful. Will I still be grossed out by heavy people.. probably yes. I am disgusted at my loose skin I see on my body as it is. Do I like the way I look now, YES.. most defiantly. However, that underlying fear is there. I try to remind myself that they are where I was and I pray they find a way to being healthy and taking care of them-self. I do keep myself in check. But, I have a very very heavy brother, in total denial of his serious health issues as a result and he has ‘disowned’ me being successful too, so that has a lot to do with it too! BTW.. thanks for the perspective.. guess the coworkers are down right disgusted with them-self to gain up on me and bully my healthy weight loss success.. They need to read this blog entry.. but I know they won’t!

    • Hey Kristen–thanks as always for your honesty. I’m in no position to tell you not be grossed out or disgusted by overweight people, but I will offer an alternative: Empathy. You’ve walked the road of extreme weight loss, and as you said, you know what’s it’s like to be in their shoes. Losing weight and changing eating habits can be very challenging, and since we don’t know the full story of the person riding in a motorized cart at the store, maybe they are doing everything that they can to reclaim their health. Or maybe they’re simply happy the way that they are. Who knows? But these days, whenever I see someone who is acting in ways that I may not understand or agree with, I strive to respond with curiosity rather than disgust. It isn’t always easy, and I fail a lot at doing it, but I’ve found that curiosity has helped me to be more tolerant of others and the journey that they’re on.

      • Thank you Shola.. I do have empathy. That is one thing I have a strong skill in and am told that often by others; when helping people. I do keep myself ‘in check’ with that empathy.. it is that underlying fear that grabs a hold of me.. giving me those negative judging thoughts; therefore have to maintain. When I posted my response to this entry, I shared it with my mom. She has gently brought it to my attention that I have acted ‘judgmental’ with my talking to her of my observations.. etc. I am very honest and open with mom, as she is with me. There was power in revealing to her, after writing here and realizing why I was being judgmental towards them being heavy. I do remember and that is what scares me. I was so unhappy not being able to navigate that heavy body and all the health issues as a result of not taking care of my health.. turning to food addiction instead. Now that I am so healthy and thriving with true happiness, I am so scared it will be gone again. But, empathy.. yes.. that is what I need to turn towards when I feel negative towards others. I just had that thought towards two of the coworkers a few minutes ago (quite heavy I might add) that have bullied me so terribly this past year for becoming healthy. I know, I know.. understand they feel powerless to stop their bad habits and get healthy. I know they have to decide when they are ready and not me. I try to encourage gently, but they respond so awful towards me.. gave up months ago! Well.. I guess I will hang in there and keep trying to be positive.. even when I feel that negative though process coming on!

      • Thank you sooo much for opening this line of conversation!
        I grew up with and went to school with gangs; crops, bloods and bulldogs mainly…
        They were hard at such an early age. Let me say first that I am a Wonder Bread skinny White girl. Especially in high school. Haha. I was always afraid of being snapped like a twig if I upset any one of the Cholas I had in my PE class. And if I said anything to them that wasnt to their liking they would shoot me down in a humiliating way (bc they were seriously Smart and like total word smiths. Comedy Central Def jam had nothing on these Latinas ). And at 1st I hated them. Why were they so horrible? I was nice to them. It just wasn’t fair.
        But then I became curious – just like you said here- and I thought what would cause girls so young to be so mean? And then something answered me back and I saw what kind of morning they just had at home… I could see like a movies playing in my mind… Their parents calling them names and / or letting them down. I saw the boys they were school girl crushing on who were not treating them right. I started to see with each girl I became curious about… These snap shot movies? In my mind of what their life was like as a whole and then I had to fact check… Was I just imagining these stories about their lives?
        Ok so ALL of the bulldog latinas we’re always working on their calligraphy skills .. in class all the time they wouldn’t be doing class work they would be drawing these beautiful calligraphy / graffiti style art in a sketch or note book. So I asked them How they made their letters like that and without acception all off them showed me how to do calligraphy in Their style .. it was awesome. And it opened them up over time and one by one they each would share their “ruin”. Or bad events they were going through. I learned they were confused how to resolve these problems and then I saw them get their power from insulting and beating on others bc it’s the ONLY way they knew how to feel powerful in the midst of their really hard life situations they were dealing with at home. I couldn’t help but absolute end up having so much love for all of them and I slowly over my freshman and sophomore year in highschool friended most of the bulldogs and the bloods and was friends with only a few of the crip latinas but I became friends in my junior year with the crip gang leaders. I became like Switzerland in high school haha. Like all the white girls mostly – who had talked trash on peeps in these gangs and we’re about to get beat up by any of the Cholas especially … Would find me on campus at lunch or on Campus and beg me to reason with whoever they had upset so they wouldn’t get beat up. The crazy thing is whoever I asked them to not beat up the gangs did Not beat up that person. Because I asked them not to. Well and that person had to grovel and apologize profusely for their offense and keep their promise to NEVER do that again. But I still trip out when I think about it. I ended up in the craziest position ;. Me some little twiggy white wonder bread girl – somehow I had gained the respect and even friendship from some of The scariest people I have ever met.. even to present day… By Not judging them and being someone who just… Actually cared about them… I also Never lied to any of them Ever. And I always spoke to them from a place of respect and love. Basically without any judgement or condescension. And that kept me from ever being scared through all of my high school years walking the halls with these Cholos and Cholas who many saw as thugs and bullies… But I also got a second and even Better gift from that whole experience… As I passed them in the hall and saw them in all of my classes everyday… I no longer saw them as monster ; bullies .. they turned from people I was afraid to look at into the most beautiful people I have ever had the honor to know. Under all that hardness they were like beautiful soft flowers and they were hard on the outside because they had to be hard to protect this beautiful softness that had inside of themselves. Their lives dictated ; be hard or get crushed. So they were hard. But because I became curious. I was allowed to experience their awesomeness. I lost touch with them over time. But I am so grateful for my time with them and for them allowing me to know them like that. I know for a fact they changed me into a better person and changed the way I would view difficult people ; personalities foreverrrrr. People are just people and if everyone were like me and did things the way I do things , blah, blah, blah… The world would get really boring really fast.
        So thank you so much for opening up this conversation because I think the the people who are judging others are only mis educated or uneducated and have most likely been socially conditioned and are not aware of why they are judging. It good to allow everyone to see why they judge or at least consider why they judge and hopefully help them to trick themselves out of judging by curiosity. Curiosity DOES work. It’s probably the only thing that actually works to cancel our judgement. I didnt actually realize it was my curiosity that helped to flip the script in high school until I read your column here. But that’s absolutely what the antidote was to my judgements and continues to be my antidote for judging. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Please don’t ever stop. Because this article here that you wrote is really a tutorial on how to shine brighter in a world of confusion and darkness where it is too easy to lose your way. But the brighter someone shines inside the more they can light their own way and can see their path more clearly so they never lose their way.
        Yup that’s your magic. If you did not know that already ?? Your welcome. Hahaha.

    • I am fat and I am learning that there are way more ways to be healthy than weight loss. Yes it helps but it’s only a fraction. I am currently exercising solely for health and sleeping more for health. I am adding lots of fruits and veggies with my meals for health not weight loss. I recovering from multiple eating disorders and fat phobia is not healthy mentally and physically either. You judging fat people is understandable but I would check yourself. Are you disordered in your food and exercise in anyway because that’s not healthy either.

      • I just want to send you my serious love and respect for loving yourself and treating your body like the treasure it really is and not allowing dumb people to dictate how you think of yourself. I have gone from being 100 lbs over weight to getting all the way into Jane Fonda shape and then gained again… And back and forth.. hang in there I have a point. Lol. I swear. So what I noticed is that when I was heavier people I had conversations with , peers , my daughter teachers, sales people in a store… none of them had too much interest in what I had to say. THEN I got all the way in rad shape… ok so as I lost weight what I had to say about anything to people I talk with throughout any given day… not over the phone I person… they were more and more interested in what I was daying.
        And when I got all the way in shape.. Everyone listened to me like I was Ghandi. Not kidding. I remember thinking… How is it that these people think what I just said is so special when we were talking about something similar a few months ago and they thought I did not know what I was talking about… And then I realized it was my weight loss. Because I stopped being valid again as I gained my weight I had lost back…
        Am I just imagining it? Have you experienced anything that has been similar? I’m sorry I saw your comment on here and you sound really balanced strong woman who knows and loves herself… So I thought I would ask you to basically fact check for myself… Do people actually care less about other people in proportion to how overweight they are ? And care more in proportion to how in shape other people are? If you have time and you feel like replying to me … I’m so all ears. Haha.

        Happy halidays to you weather you respond or not. And Happy New Year. May this be the best year yet. :-D.

  2. Oh.. BTW.. tried to ‘edit’ my post.. but could not figure out how.. so add here. When I do see a heavy person eating something healthy, or out exercising.. my thoughts are ‘rock on! You can do it.. etc’.. It is always positive. In fact, I saw a very large woman out walking with hand weights.. a few months ago. She had a big smile on her face and looked happy she was taking care of her. I smiled at her. But then I looked at her feet and her shoes were in terrible shape. I knew she needed new shoes to take care of her body in getting healthy. I prayed she wore a sized 10 shoe. The reason? Because I had two great, newer pair of sneakers I cannot wear due to running now. I had to get bigger shoes for my toe box for my foot strike, because otherwise my toes get sore when I go for good run. Anyways, parked my car and went up to her to ask her what sized shoe she wore.. she told me 10 and I got so excited offering her my two pair of new sneakers I could not use. She cried happy tears and they fit her perfect! I know I shared a story here.. but it goes to show.. my ‘judging’ stems from inner fear of myself being unhealthy again. So, wanted to back up my last post to show that I am not judging of heaviness so to speak, but issues that cause the issue or continues the issue…

      • This was a great post! Found this post while trying to figure out why I suddenly started (silently) judging a friend for having a one night stand with some guy, while chatting online with another guy for something more serious. I think I’m just scared that if someone did that to me I’d be devastated.

  3. Happy Labor Day Shola! Yes, I have the day off, and am chilling out today with the hubby. I did indulge years ago in non-stop judgement of every person I laid eyes on. And you’re right on, it was all about where I was at. Just entering adulthood, recovering an abusive, violent childhood, thrown into the adult world with no preparation. Everyone who was happy, successful. good-looking, in love, etc. I judged them harshly and hated them all, mainly because I could not figure out how in the heck I would ever get from where I was at to where they were at. I judged them all as terribly insensitive to me, to so obviously enjoy life when there I was, little misery-guts, in their midst, and no one would rescue me. Well, I was very young, otherwise I have no excuse. Looking back, now I feel so sorry for anyone who had to be around me, especially at work! Now I am grateful. None of them judged me. Everyone was kind and patient, and gave me room to grow. When I look back on things that they said to me, I do see they consistently gave me positive pointers and gentle advice, which did sink in over time. Those people I judged to be assholes were actually so kind, so loving, and in my judgement, I couldn’t see what was really happening. Maybe that’s another lesson about judgement. It is not only unfair to the one being judged, but it blinds the judge to the truth, and blocks out any useful learning and growth. Thank you Shola, now take the rest of the day off!

    • Oh Donna, I can completely relate to your comment! For me, my harsh judgment mainly revolved around people with money. I thought all of them were self-centered, greedy, snobs who only cared about themselves. And as you said so perfectly, I felt so hateful toward them because I could not figure out how I could go from where I was (broke and miserable) to where they were (rich and happy.) When you added your lesson about judgment, that hit home so hard: Judgment is no only unfair to the one being judged, but it blinds the judge to the truth. Damn, that is SO true! How many times I have judged people based on incomplete information, only to be completely wrong once I did end up getting the full story? Thanks for that gem, Donna!

      P.S. After I wrote the blog post, I did follow your order and took the rest of the day off! 🙂

  4. Shola,

    You are so right, I’ve noticed many times when people criticize certain behaviors, it is something they do themselves. Somehow they don’t recognize it in themselves. Working in retail I’ve seen all kinds, those who understand I’m doing the best I can under sometimes difficult situations and others who just get angry. I try really hard not to judge their behavior and understand the situation from their perspective. As you said, most judgements are based on incomplete information – I don’t fully know why they are angry and maybe they don’t know themselves. I just try to lighten them up. Believe me I’m not always successful stopping myself from making judgements, but I try. Hopefully a lot of people will read this post and benefit from the message.

    • Kat, as a former retail employee myself, I can relate to hard it can be (if not, impossible) to refrain from judgment when dealing with the horrific rudeness that retail employees are subjected to on a near-daily basis. Having the emotional maturity to look at that rudeness and even attempt to be curious about where it may be coming from says a lot about the type of woman you are. Also, please know that I even though I wrote this blog post, I judge people (sometimes, harshly) pretty often. My goal each day is to notice when I do it, and then make the conscious shift to being curious. It isn’t always easy, but I’ll still keep trying. Thanks for your comment!

  5. I admit I am horribly judgmental. Another reason some people judge is because it is a “I am going to get them before they get me” mentality. I grew up in a very unstable environment and I grew up not trusting anyone (not even my immediate family). I have a tendency to try to peg people so that I feel like I already know what I am getting into when dealing with them. If that makes sense. It hasn’t done me any good so that is why I appreciate these posts so much, they give me hope that slowly but surely even I can change.

    • Carrie-Lee, I completely understand! I’ve been there too, and any meaningful change first starts with awareness–and you’ve already got that one covered! 🙂 I don’t think that being judgment-free is realistic, but I do believe that we can take the edge off of our judgments by trying to be a little more curious about others’ actions and behavior. I’m thrilled to hear that these blog posts have been helpful!

  6. I agree with you that to be totally non judgemental ever is basically impossible. But I strive each day to not judge myself and others harshly. I think that once you consciously strive to demonstrate kindness and unconditional self love it makes it that much easier to show kindness and unconditional love to
    others. So I would say the fact that you flashed a kind smile to that lady you have been being kind to yourself 😉

    • I’m so glad that you added that, PhillyL. I didn’t spend a lot of time in this post addressing the dangers of judging ourselves harshly, and that is such an important issue. And you’re right–once you demonstrate kindness to yourself, it makes it that much easier to give that kindness to others 🙂

  7. I used to be the queen of judging others, until I found myself on the receiving end of that. It does not feel good and it’s unnecessary. Now, I try to catch myself and pull back. And I ask myself sometimes, what would make another person behave as they do and I try very hard to do that without judging them for the behavior. Thanks for sharing and helping make the world better… one blog post at a time!

    • That’s what it’s all about, Lisa! Sometimes it takes being on the receiving end of harsh judgment to make us realize that we would never want to purposely inflict that type of pain on anyone else. Just like you, I strive to catch myself and pull back–and I know that it will be a battle that I’ll be fighting for the rest of my life. Thanks for the kind words about the blog, my friend!

  8. The people who cause me the most stress/struggle are mean people. But like you, instead of condemning them or judging them, I have tried hard to seek to understand why they are so mean. And if that is not possible, I make up a story in my head that keeps me from judging… perhaps they were abused; perhaps someone they love just passed away; or maybe they just got fired. Whether or not these stories are true is not relevant. It simply allows me to move on and let go my objection to their behavior!

    Keeping it positive thanks you to, Shola! Hope you had a happy Labor Day!


    • Hi Kathy,
      I am very similar to you. The people who cause me the most stress are mean people. As for judging them, when I notice that they are being mean, I do judge them, I think to myself, ‘they are so mean’. Sometimes, I can roll with it and say, well they are just having a bad day’ but admittedly, most of the time, I wonder how in the world were they raised to think that what they are doing is anywhere near socially acceptable. Thankfully, in these situations, I am able to walk away and keep my judgements to myself. At least that is a step in the right direction.

      • Sara, I’m right there with you, my friend. Like I said to Kathy, that is also my weakness. For example, I’ll never understand what would cause a person to curse out a cashier because the cashier wouldn’t honor her expired coupon (I saw this happen last year.) When I see people acting in ways that aren’t socially acceptable under any circumstances, I already know that I’m going to judge them for it. But now I’m able to add the second step of attempting to be curious about what would cause them to act that way. And if I fail, then I do what you said and walk away and keep my judgments to myself. At least that allows me to stay peaceful (and sane :))

      • Hi Shola,
        I am 35yrs old. I grew up with 4 older siblings. Today I struggle with my feelings of past judgements that I experienced growing up. I often remember moments from my past and to me, now as an adult I feel like I was often misjudged back then, like the judgement was unjust. Although I was and am very aware that judging others based on what I see or hear without knowing why a person does or says what they do, is not nice and i guess wrong of me. Which I’ve learned through my own experiences now that I’m older I have found myself succumbed to those behavioural patterns. I was actually less judgemental as a teen to young adult. Which makes me sad about who I may become and that the person I worked hard to be better has changed or forgotten her why. I have always judged myself harshly due to the way I was judged growing up, even if I w’t actually the person the ppl who judged me thought i was. Sometimes i think a person can be perceived as mean when they are not trying to be mean. But u cannot change the way others may interpret you. Anyway my point is in reference to your curiosity of how must they have raised to think that its socially acceptable behaviour. And my thoughts are maybe they were raised to think that behaviour is acceptable because of the ppl who raised them treated them that way. That person may be working on ridding themselves of those unhealthy ingrained beliefs and are struggling that day to because it is very difficult to change the way you see, act, react to things when its all that person has known from day dot. It is definitely something you have to fight for and work on everyday because it’s easy to get lost along life’s journey. Thankyou for your lessons, they act as a reminder that being kinder and trying to make a change in and for ourselves and others lives for the better is what we fight for everyday. ❤

    • Kathy, I have to admit that these days, mean and rude people are my weakness when it comes to judgment. When I see people treat other people rudely, the judgments come into my mind fast and furious: “what an ass!”, “I can’t believe that this idiot had the nerve to…”, or “Wow, this might be the biggest jerk that I’ve ever seen in my life!” This is a huge challenge for me, and to be able to go to a place of curiosity when dealing with rudeness isn’t always easy. I really like the idea about making up a story to keep me from judging others, and that’s an idea that I’m going to steal from you, if you don’t mind :). I hope that you had a great Labor Day!

  9. It’s a fine line between using good judgment and being judgmental, isn’t it? I’m working on that. There was a time when I’d become friends with those “mean girls” at the gym, or at least try to be accepted enough not to be the brunt of their meanness. It never works. Eventually I’d find out they do it to everyone — including me and most likely including each other. Or worse, I’d end up going along with their snarking and then feel horrible about myself afterward. Now I’d treat them like a toxic waste site and avoid being anywhere near them (smiling politely all the while).

    I have friends who call me judgmental for that. Maybe they’re right. But I can’t fix the “mean girls,” or go back in time and fix what made them that way. What I do have control over is myself, how behave, and how I choose to spend my time. Like I said, it’s a work in progress.

    • That is so true, Maria! There is a very fine line between using good judgment and being judgmental. Good for you for not wasting your time trying to gain acceptance from the mean girls at the gym! Like you said brilliantly, just act like they’re a toxic waste site and move on (I might have to steal that “toxic waste site” comment, by the way ;)). Also, I have to say that your friends are wrong to call you judgmental for doing that–that’s a perfect example of using good judgment, in my opinion. It’s a fine line for sure, but choosing to avoid people who aren’t nice makes complete sense to me.

  10. I’m reminded of a French saying: ce que je n’aime pas dans les autres, c’est moi meme. (Spelling might be a bit off.) What I don’t like in others is myself. I’ve been increasingly aware of my judgmental streak and when the voice starts, purposefully halting and asking what’s the real issue. I’m becoming particularly sensitive to women slashing at other women and wondering if the, to quote Blondie, Rip Her to Shreds mentality is societally acceptable as it keeps women busy dividing and hating each other instead of uniting and challenging the status quo.
    PS Loved the retreat.

    • Nice! Je parle francais, aussi! (Okay, that’s all the French that I know ;)). That is such a great quote and it is SO true. We all have a judgmental streak, and the key is to become aware of it, and ideally ask what is the real issue behind the judgment. Yes, there is definitely a culture of women tearing down other women, and the best way to combat against it is to not participate in it (which can be hard to resist, at times.)

      Also, thanks for the kind words about the retreat! But since all I have are the initials “mbcc”, I don’t know who you are–if our paths cross again, please make sure to say hi!

  11. Well said, Shola!
    People can be cruel, mean, and downright rude. They will do anything they can do to make themselves out to be better than someone else. I had two aunts get into an altercation recently because of this. One did the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the other thought her cause was more worth fighting for. As an outsider, I listened to the two of them try to “one up” the other. It started out as judgment for this, and then ended up spilling into judgment for every other aspect of life. The worst part is all of the dirty laundry was aired on Facebook.

    People don’t realize that their little judgments eventually make them look like fools. Every time you point your finger at someone else, there are three more pointing back at you.

    I have to leave you with a couple quotes. Can’t comment without them!

    “The least amount of judging we can do, the better off we are.” ~Michael J. Fox

    “Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I’m not perfect and I don’t live to be. But before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.” ~Bob Marley

    • Valisa, isn’t that the truth? Facebook can be such an ugly place for judgment, and I see it there all the time. If people would just realize the simplicity (and power) behind your statement, the world would positively change in an instant: “Every time you point your finger at someone else, there are three more pointing back at you.”

      Also, as usual, you came strong with the quotes! You will forever be my Quote Queen!

  12. Hi Shola,
    I love your positivity and the insight you bring to the table. I often wonder if it is a deep down mechanisim that provokes these nasty people to be that insecure to try and i emphasize TRY to use emotions as a steam to get other people to follow their meanness. When I see someone being mean and hateful to someone or directly to me. It definitely is a turn off. I simply walk away. No need to be around negative auroas. Keep holding your head high what you are doing is a good thing.

  13. Enjoyed this read. In all honesty I was looking for info on how to deal with judgemental people. But when I started reading this it made me reflect on my self. I really try not to be judgmental but I catch myself doing some of the things on here. I also catch myself being curious to why people act the way they do. Am I wrong to want to limit my interaction with these self loved and judgmental people?

  14. Thank you for your sharing this info on judging others. I have been guilty of this quite often. As I get older it seems to get worse because I think I know everything(haha). I live in an affluent neighborhood where most of the people are quite fit, dress nicely and have expensive houses and cars. It can be easy to get caught up in that trap along with everyone. Another lesson I’ve learned is we must look in the heart and not the outside of someone. The folks that I am surrounded by are also extremely competitive. This is passed down to their children and it can be a very sad situation. Sporting events out here have become almost comical. Anyway, thanks for your wise words and I really appreciate your example of the lady in the gym. I will try to remember that the next time I try to judge someone.

  15. What a helpful blog entry. Thank you. I have sensed insecurity in myself in the form of judging and went looking for a blog that might address it. The part about being curious was so helpful. It seems like it would allow empathy to maybe take the place of the judgement. I’m trying this! Thank you.

  16. Pingback: You Only See What You Know - Can You Use That As a Mom Tool? - Learn With Ginny
  17. I always try to remember not to judge anyone, as I look at myself and see I’m not perfect either besides it hurts them and If I ever see that I’m causing someone to feel bad about how they look I’m so ashamed of myself,as I know it hurts God as well so I don t ever even try to judge and if I ever do, let me feel they’re pain .So I will be forgiven

  18. Hello!
    Such a beautiful post.
    I have noticed that I am becoming aware I judge others. The other day , I judge friends for their mistakes in their relationships.
    How unaware they are and selfish…no coherent,etc.
    Now, I feel bad myself for being so critical.
    I don’t want to continue with this habit which visits me from time to time.

  19. Great post! Extremely well-articulated article about the reasons *why* we tend to judge other people, and how this is often revealing and unhelpful to everyone involved. I’d like to offer that there is a difference between judging a *person* and judging their *actions*. We have every right to judge people’s actions, and we must, for society to function properly. Laws act to prevent certain actions, like murder and theft, because we judge those actions to be wrong, and destructive to society. We can and should judge the actions of an overweight person eating fast food, or a drunk person getting in their car. These people are doing harm to self and others, respectively, and their actions are wrong (unless you’re a rather extreme moral relativist or you make a slew of unlikely assumptions). Their actions may be understandable, but it does not make their actions acceptable, or good. In practice, though, it’s difficult to separate the person from their actions, as we tend to reduce people to the small slice of their life and actions that we observe. Not a good idea. Judgement is a powerful tool and we need to be careful not to beat other people over the head with it.

  20. I was told tonight that I was a judgemental person. It hit me like a ton of bricks because I felt I was one of the least judgemental people I knew. But was I really? I started to self reflect and wanted to learn more of what being judgemental really meant, so began to search and read. Along the way I ended up here. What an eye opener! Such an insightful blog and thank you to all the other posters for sharing your experiences as well. A lot of it hit home for me. I will admit that through out my travels I lost some of my empathy and compassion along the way. I still don’t know yet if I’m being judgemental or just not accepting of others negative behavior anymore. But one posters comment really stood out for me, they said, “judgement is a powerful tool and we need to be careful not to beat other people over the head with it” I am guilty of doing that exact thing! So thank you all for helping to open my eyes and mind. I definitely have some work ahead of me and I think curiosity is a great place to start.

  21. I am judgemental a lot about appearance. My appearance isn’t the best and am insecure about it. The thing is I feel really guilty about judging others but I can’t stop it.

  22. Thank you so very much! Your article has spared me from self torture lasting any longer than it had to. Life has been such a beautiful experience, full of good and bad. I’m extremely grateful for the view I hold for myself today. A few years ago, not so much. It was an extremely painful journey to say the least… but I’m sitting here crying in happiness. I’m just proud of being able to forgive myself but even more, just understand myself! It’s absolutely so incredible how once I did, it came with an ability to do the same with people! It feels so much better inside once we reach that place!

    Those reading this, you can do it!!! Make a choice to find peace! Be kind to yourself!! For the fact you’re reading this article, be proud of yourself for your effort to do better, be better, feel better! Just as you get down on yourself, praise yourself!!

    Love always wins!
    Chin up, wings out!
    Be the person you seek others to be!
    It all starts with ourselves!
    Go inside and listen, the answer is always found deep within!
    Sit in silence, be alone, that’s when we are able to hear the answer!


  23. I would admit that I have judged. What I feel irritated about, is when others tell me that they have every right to judge another person. I agree with this article. But it’s not easy to remain silent about someone feeling entitled to publicly state their own insecurities in a demeaning way toward others. I think it’s necessary to avoid them, if possible. Buy definitely not easy because it’s not only unfair to the other person but it can also cause a lot of turmoil for the other person who may have done nothing wrong. Or, as in other cases even if they have, it isn’t their job to fix it and they don’t know if the other person is changing their own faults.

  24. Hello! I am so happy to have come across this article!!! I am 22 years old as of last month and have struggled throughout life with judgment of both myself and others.
    I notice very much rigidness and fear of giving in to vices to the point where I’m consumed by it, be it physical pleasures, substances, food etc. I have the most judgment around those areas of life in myself and I see it reflected a lot in how I have judged others. Another area is in regards to relationships, I have struggled historically in the past to feel secure in my abilities to be lovable and also in fear of enmeshment or commitment. I can see much clearer now that the things I would get frustrated in others for was a big mirror to the things I was afraid to work on within myself. I also think that boundaries are important and that by developing a secure sense of self AND boundaries that judgment will lessen. Before I used to let others walk all over me and resentment would build up rather than me just allowing myself to be vulnerable with how I really felt which was hurt or afraid or rejected etc. and I just wanted some human to human heart to heart conversation. This stuff can be tricky to navigate, and all the more in times we are triggered or may have recently experienced a hardship, I encourage everyone to keep reflecting though because it makes such a big difference and I feel so much better being able to confront my own shadows rather than project them (though I still do ofcourse) at least now I feel ready to admit when I’m wrong and do what I can to make things right. Thank you again so much for writing this, it was something I needed to read and remind myself because intellectually knew it from a couple years of research, and this coming up has helped to freshen that seed in my brain.


  25. That was a very insightful and inspiring message. I am trying to become a better person, for myself and my family, but find that the ones closest to me are the ones being judgmental. This makes being nonjudgmental a little harder, since it seems it’s all around me. I will take this advice and pass it on in hopes it will resonate with some and they, in turn, will TRY to stop focusing on the negative instead of the positive.

  26. You’re going to love this one!!! You can’t make this stuff up…
    I live in a small affluent town. A couple weeks ago I was pulled over by some over zealous police, who were completely in the wrong (no probable cause: they assumed my red bull was a cocktail but it wasn’t. They never asked, no field sobriety test. Just assumed. They were so focused on what they were hoping to find that they completely messed up). They did an illegal search and found a large amount of COCAINE in my vehicle… wth?!!
    I can only imagine what is going through your mind at the moment. Probably the same thing as the other 20K plus people who were made aware of the arrest in my current town, and my home town, and the other 100+ contacts I have on Facebook around the world (THANKS FACEBOOK). What you DONT know are the important details -that my boyfriend of 5 years and I have a house. We rent out the upstairs portion of the house out to tenants. I travel back and forth between another town (where we reside 3/4 of the time) and the town we own the home in because my son just graduated high school from there and is newly living on his own. When I come to town, I stay in the in-law unit downstairs -completely separate unit. We have been having troubles with the upstairs tenants and have been asking them to move. They don’t want to and have grown very aggressive (especially the man) about it and don’t want us staying on the property. They want the whole property to themselves. The man likes to go through my garbage to make sure recycling is properly separated. Fine, but apparently he’d decided he needed to do something to ensure that we would no longer be using our in-law unit. About a week before this all happened, he made a comment to me when I was leaving one afternoon, first asking me when I was going to be moving out. When I replied that it was my house and I wasn’t going anywhere, he commented back saying, “We’ll see about that. All I need to do is make one phone call and you’re gone.” I said back, “Ok. Whatever THAT means.” And continued on my way. I never put much thought into it. It never even occurred to me what he was implying until this all happened. Then everything started to make sense. He took a used “sandwich” bag out of my trash and placed it in the back of my car underneath one of the seats with an alarming amount of that stuff in it (trust me, I hear myself too). Let me just say that the town I live in has almost no crime and quite often I don’t lock my car (a mistake I will NEVER make again).
    So, apparently at some point, (I’m assuming) that day, he called the police and told them something about me having narcotics or whatever on me. I don’t do, nor sell drugs!! I was horrified when the officer pulled it out of my car!!
    By that night, it was all over the 11p news stations, and PLASTERED all over Facebook. It’s AMAZING at how judgmental so many people have been!! Heartbreaking and a real eye opener! You find out who your true friends are in situations like these. Fortunately, I’ve had some pretty amazing people step up for me (pulling together and posting an $8K bail and co-signing for me to get out of jail pretty quickly (5 days cuz that is a LOT of money). Horrific experience. My life is pretty mellow. I’ve worked hard to make it that way and it a small town, that’s not easy!! Nope. No drama. I’ve NEVER really been in trouble before (except speeding tickets!). But I’m truly blown away by how many people have NO IDEA what the REAL situation is, don’t WANT to know the real situation and simply want to judge. It’s easier. They don’t have to think. Unbelievable.
    Good news:
    -tenants have been evicted!! Yay!!
    -I have a great lawyer who is an ex cop and will help me rectify this by hopefully getting it dismissed.
    -I know who is real in my circle and who can kick rocks
    Bad news:
    -no way to prove it wasn’t mine (smh)
    -my life has been turned UPSIDE DOWN
    -my good name is not so good anymore
    – regardless of my innocence and their MAJOR mess up, this is going to take FOREVER to clear up. Those police WANT this bust. It’s the biggest thing to happen to them in at least a very long time up here.
    The worst part:
    -my poor, sweet, beautiful son is having to endure the backlash and he in NO WAY deserves any of this.
    Ps.. the police confiscated my phone and I won’t get it back until this mess is settled so I’m struggling to gain access to my email. I can only imagine what you must be thinking.. lol!


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Hi! I am Shola

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Over a decade ago, I was drowning in the despondency of yet another workday. My success as the top regional performer had been numbed by a culture of incessant workplace bullying. And, I’d recently made the situation worse by filing a formal complaint. In short, I was collateral damage in a company without the process or intention to address my experience.

Exhausted from the drama, with an unrecognizable version of myself at the wheel, I intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take my own life. But in that half-second, my reflexes responded, and I yanked the wheel away from disaster. As I clipped the guardrail on I 405, something changed...

I uncovered a power within myself

...a burning desire to reverse a trend that happens daily to sixty-five million people in this country alone. This catalyst has since become Go Together™ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures and drive results.

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Shola is exclusively represented by Gotham Artists.
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