What happens when we judge others

Social media has become for some an almost all-consuming way to pass the time. What seemed to have started out as a way to stay in some disconnected way, connected, has become a way for some people to offer a glimpse into our lives, or often, the best of our lives. For many people, consuming social media has become an obsession and one that allows us, with relative anonymity, to be critical of others, especially people we may not even know.

What started out as a way to stay in some way connected seems to have become a place for so many people to cast judgement on the lives, the thoughts of others. It has become a place that all too often is filled with hateful vitriol, thoughtless judgement and cruel comments. Many of us may find ourselves casting the first stone of judgement. But where does that judgement come from? What happens in our brains (and hearts) when we respond to someone’s post with a hateful, cruel or judgemental comment? Why not simply resist the urge to comment and simply be kind enough to let it go?

Science tells us that our brains are hard-wired to glom on to the negative. Some studies show that we are 70 per cent more likely to engage in negative thinking than positive thinking. What happens to us when we allow that to come out as negative, judgemental and hurtful comments. Are our spirits lifted? Are our days made happier? Are we somehow left in a better mood? Likely the answer to these questions is a resounding “No.” When we make hateful, cruel or judgemental comments we are not coming from a place of love or compassion or understanding. We are coming from a place within ourselves that is not healed. We are coming from a place within ourselves that needs tending to, care and curiosity.

When we judge others for the way they live, for whomever it is they love, for their life choices, we are not coming from a place of compassion and curiosity. We are coming from a place of misunderstanding. What would happen if instead we offered people who think differently, live differently, love differently, practice religion differently, our compassion and approached difference with curiosity?

What would happen if more of us on this planet paused and thought about what part of ourselves may be hurting before we comment on another person’s life? What would happen if we started focusing inward and thought about where we may need healing before judging another person for the way that person lives? We judge others from places within ourselves that are not healed.

Before you cast that first stone, before you make that hurtful comment, give yourself permission to really think about yourself and what that comment may be telling you about yourself. It takes a lot of courage to look inward and think about why you feel it is okay to pass judgement on another person. Think about how it might feel if someone were to make a similar comment about you, your lifestyle, your weight, your hair, your romantic choices, the person you love. Think about how your comments reflect on you.

None of us is without sin, if you will. None of us is perfect. Indeed, we all are perfectly imperfect. Social media may make it easy to hide behind a relative cloak of anonymity but that does not give anyone permission to make cruel, hurtful or judgemental comments about another person. Likely more than not, such comments are unneeded. Likely more than not, making those comments will not help anyone. Before casting judgement on another person, first look at what part of you may be hurting and in need of care. Tend to those needs. Resist the urge to be hateful and try coming from a place of compassion and curiosity.

~ Karri Christiansen, MSW, LSW, CADC, CCTP

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