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The Key To Removing Judgement And 3 Fun Ways To Practice It

Written by: Andrea Raggambi, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Think about the last time you had a reaction or thought after seeing or hearing a stranger which caused you to judge them in a way that may not actually represent who they are at all. It happens to all of us instinctively, all the time. It’s in our nature and DNA to quickly assess our surroundings to determine how we fit in and how to respond. These are part of our survival instincts – think cavemen and women in the stone age who had to be vigilant about their surroundings to avoid predators.

Fast forward 2.5 million years. Our surroundings have vastly changed, yet our reptilian brains still retain these protective instincts. Today, the use of this innate instinct doesn’t serve us in the same way. The way we form opinions about people has to do with how we compare their looks, words, or behaviors against our own or what we deem appropriate. Judging strangers has actually very little impact on them and more so on the person doing the judging. Judging people we know and with whom we want to maintain relationships can take both you and the relationship down a very destructive path.


When we judge others, a few things are happening with some serious impacts. Judging others actually highlights our insecurities and is like a mirror projecting back what we are insecure about. If we judge what someone is wearing it means we likely worry about what we wear. It is also a way (albeit a destructive way) to make us feel better. Hearing someone speak in a way that you think makes them sound uneducated means you likely put pressure on yourself to sound intelligent. And judging someone as uneducated may immediately help you feel better than. This kind of judgment can perpetuate and train our minds to find the negative in others which can lead to increased stress. This stress can weaken our immune systems, cause high blood pressure, depression, fatigue and anxiety, and worse.


Although our instincts lead us down this road, we don’t have to be a victim of it. As Walt Whitman astutely stated, “Be curious, not judgmental.” Curiosity is the enemy of judgment - it is impossible to be in judgment when you are being curious. Practicing genuine curiosity is the best way to minimize and over time, remove judgment that is destructive for us and to our relationships. Here are three fun ways to practice curiosity with some levity when you might instinctively want to make a judgment:


1. Clothing Choices. At one point or another, we have probably seen someone and wondered, “What the heck were they thinking when they left the house this morning?” Instead of judging people for their clothing choices, try these curious statements instead:

  • That’s an interesting choice, I’m curious what they are into and do for a living.

  • I wonder what music they like to listen to and what brings them joy.

  • I am curious how they were brought up and what their story is.

2. Tattoo Choices. Whatever our feelings towards tattoos, most of us have likely had a reaction to a tattoo we noticed someone decided was a good idea to permanently ink into their bodies. Tattoos might be one of the most personal, ultimate forms of self-expression which many times are on display for all to see. Instead of reacting with eye rolls or other forms of judgment to tattoos, form these questions instead:

  • That’s a unique choice, I wonder what the meaning is for them.

  • I am curious how they decided on that design/image. I wonder what their story is.

  • Based on that choice, I would love to know more about this person to understand what makes them tick.

3. Driving Abilities. There aren’t many people who wouldn’t say they haven’t called someone else on the road a moron, idiot, maniac, or worse. There’s no end to the stories people share that would imply that only they are competent drivers. Instead of reacting in anger and judging someone harshly on the road, which can take a dangerous turn, take a deep breath, assume positive intent, and tell yourself the following instead:

  • We all get distracted on the road. I wonder what they might be distracted about. I’m sure they didn’t set out to tick me off today.

  • I wonder what emergency they are rushing to. I hope it isn’t too tragic.

  • I wonder if they were taught that driving under the speed limit is the safest.

These are just a few ways to have fun reframing judgment into curiosity. Make your own list of curious questions around what you tend to judge. Thinking in curious ways relieves us of emotional stressors that can perpetuate negative self-perceptions, increase our acceptance of others, and improve our relationships and our overall health. When we build our curiosity, we weaken our judgment muscles and build the capacity to be more accepting and live in more peace and ease. When and how will you choose to be curious?

For more info, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit my website!


 

Andrea Raggambi, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Andrea is an ICF ACC coach and Chief Success Designer for mid to upper-level leaders who want to hit the pause button on busy-ness to take an exciting and courageous journey to design their personal and professional legacy and move forward with clarity, confidence, and renewed energetic purpose. Her purpose is to empower curiosity and creativity so that we choose to accept our differences, embrace change, and make choices that represent our best selves.


Andrea applies a unique mashup of coaching and “success management” techniques utilizing a mix of change management, mindset, and habit-building practices to shift energy, thoughts, and behaviors in the direction of her client’s vision and goals. Since launching PerforMore in 2009, she has designed creative experiences, tools, and products that have resulted in success for hundreds of high-performing leaders in the technology, medical, architecture, construction, and engineering industries.

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