June 20, 2022

Who Are You to Judge?


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It’s astounding to read the endless opinions on social media.

People don’t seem to hold back when they comment—or think twice before doing so. The majority are based on judgment, bias, and criticism—and some are quite cruel.

We can all be cynics, filled with skepticism, and yes, a little judgmental. None of us are guilt-free. It’s human nature—and up to us to rise above, making an effort to be better than that. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail (more often than not, we fail).

Today, we are surrounded by people who rush to judgment and form opinions without weighing all the information. They don’t check the facts, do the research, or make the time to reflect upon the plethora of information being thrown at us via a variety of channels—media, family, friends, social networks, or casual hearsay. They just mouth off and poison others like them, those who don’t spend the time to think critically and ensure they’re weighing all the facts or scenarios.

I was reminded of this when someone close to me spewed a commentary on a recent event that seemed quite extreme. When we discussed it and drilled down to the nuts and bolts of the matter, his opinion dissolved, and a different perspective took shape.

Yes. I’m a pain in the you know what. I challenge opinions, question viewpoints, and play devil’s advocate. With age and experience, I’ve learned that most people don’t want that. They don’t want to remove the controversy and drama. They don’t want to fix things. They just want to bitch and moan—and find others who will do the same.

It’s easy to criticize. Quite frankly, any of us can be reactionary with our criticism or self-centered enough to think our way is the only way. We do it all the time with our loved ones. For some, it takes a lot of work and effort to reverse that—and most aren’t willing. What a shame.

There is a big difference between being critical and thinking critically.

In actuality, when we think critically, we are less critical.

The ability to apply such skills of rationale, logic, and reason lessens our biases, judgment, and prejudice. Critical thinking removes the emotion, the ego, and the reactionary criticism that is all too easy to throw out there. It allows us to see more clearly, step into another’s shoes, and possibly, relate.

I can’t tell you how many posts I read, as we all do, that I react to in my head. But then I take a step back, as well as a deep breath, to weigh the situation. Yes, I could rush to comment and criticize the person for what they’re asking or doing. Or, I can take that moment and reply from a place of compassion, kindness, and understanding. The choice is mine—and maybe that person needs a “friend.”

We can all be dumb-asses from time to time. We make mistakes. We may not have a support system to guide us. We may be fumbling through life without a clue, seeking help from anyone online because social media has opened us up to the world—and we need advice.

No matter how much we think we know, we don’t know much. Life is a journey, destination unknown. Please don’t forget that. None of us has it figured out—even if we think we do. One thing is for certain: life will always surprise you.

I was involved with a critical person for a number of years. In the beginning, you think that you can change that perspective. Certainly, your attitude and personality will positively influence the other person—not!

With some, that’s possible. With others, it will destroy you. I was the latter and learned that we can’t always rise above. Sometimes, the company you keep will drag you down—that one bad apple does spoil the bunch. Choose your company wisely.

The next time you rush to judgment, stop. Take a breath, think, and reflect, then respond from a place of compassion and kindness. You can get your point across without being rude or abrasive.

Think critically, but don’t be critical.


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