Stop Being Judgmental | Choose Joy

So I have a judgmental problem. I tend to have high expectations of people, and am disillusioned when those expectations are (inevitably) not met. But it’s only within my family. I don’t judge strangers, acquaintances, or friends, but family members? That’s a different story entirely. In fact, I can name at least a handful of people who do the same thing, so I doubt that it’s a unique stumbling block. I think we all tend to judge those closest to us. And there’s probably a sociological explanation for it. After all, these are the people who you depend on, who you’re tied to, who you know better than anyone. So, yes you probably feel justified in making a few judgments.

But it’s still something to avoid. Because judging and making assumptions leads to heartache. Because you’re wrong. Because no matter how right you are, humans aren’t that simple. We can’t be distilled down to a few pithy phrases and explanations. That person you judge has layers upon layers that you haven’t even peeled back, even if you’ve known them all their lives. The thing about us humans is that we’re unpredictable. No formula, no matter how well-researched or established, can predict human behavior (ask stock market analysts).

So what do you do? Be kind instead. Assume the best, not the worst. Assume that the driver who cut you off has an emergency. Assume your sibling is going through something you don’t know about. Assume your parents did (and are doing) the best they can. Assume the protestor on the news who is bashing everything you believe in actually has a sore spot in his past that he’s trying to soothe. Assume that every person, regardless of how distant his beliefs are from yours, just wants what’s best. There might be mean, ornery people out there, but that’s not all they are. They are complex, just like you, just like me.

Stay positive, be kind instead of judgmental, assume the best in people even when you see the worst, and you’ll be happier.

Choose Joy.

—A

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