I struggle to enjoy sports that require judges to score the athletes. It never feels like there is a clear winner because there is always room for personal judgement. Consider a diving competition. There are clear rules that determine the scores that a diver receives, yet there is always room for personal judgement. After all, judges are human.
All of us have a fear of being judged by others to some degree. We worry what peers, or family members, or even strangers think of us. Unfortunately, the simple truth is that humans do judge others. The real question is, does it matter?
I have a confession to make, I judge people. I may think that I’m judging people based on some agreed upon life rules (like a diving competition). Yet, I make the rules in my own head. So, when I judge someone, it says more about my rules than it does the other person.
Let’s say I drive a few miles per hour over the speed limit to stay with the flow of traffic. Today, the car in front of me is driving below the speed limit. Naturally, I judge this person (bad driver) because they should drive at least the speed limit, right? As you can see, I am judging another driver based on how I think people should drive. What’s worse, is that when I’m in a hurry I expect drivers around me to be in a hurry! As ridiculous as that sounds, we all do it because we project our rules on everyone around us.
Sometimes I judge others based on my expectations of myself. I’ve always been a hard worker, and sometimes I assume that everyone should always work hard. I judge others for not putting enough effort into various parts of life (school, work, health, etc.). The truth is, I have no way of knowing how much effort people give (I am yet to perfect mind reading).
A third way I judge others is based on my own insecurities. Sometimes, I’m insecure about being a good father and find myself being overly critical of other fathers. I might think that someone should prioritize one thing over another (projecting own rules on them). We find comfort in comparing ourselves favorably to others.
The worst thing I do is judge others that are different than me. I can’t help thinking that they should be more like me… When my thoughts go there, I try to get out of my own head so that I can understand their rules better.
Too often, I catch myself judging others for not being… well, like me. So, if you find yourself doing the same, try to be aware of those should thoughts and take a moment to understand your own rules. If you’re someone that worries about being judged, just remember that it’s more about them than it is about you. After all, you live by your own set of rules!!