This topic is inspired by my husband. When stating to him that I was contemplating what to write today he suggested to write about judgment of others- why do we do it? I frequently hear the saying “who are you to judge?” yet WE ALL DO IT whether we want to admit it or not. So, just exactly who are we to judge others? I think sometimes it depends on the context of the judgment. For example, I had to make a judgment call about whether my husband and I were truly compatible, I made the judgment of yes because of the information we had shared with each other. I think most of the time though human’s run around making “snap” judgments, which is judgment without all the information. Typically this is the bias that I was referring too when I said we all do it.
Sometimes judgment is necessary for survival- which goes back to the Type I and Type II errors that we make when judging whether something is a threat or not. A great example is given by Michael Shermer in his book The Believing Brain about the evolution of beliefs which stems from making these errors in judgment- Type I error is deciding that when you hear a rustling in the trees you automatically think it’s a threat and flee, thus preserving humanity; Type II error is deciding the rustling sound is not a threat and next thing you know you’re lunch (Shermer, 2009 p.59). I think this example illustrates the survival necessity of judgment, but where we get into trouble is when judging others and situations is done with negativity.
I remember very vividly being told as a child not to judge a book (person) by it’s (their) cover, and it is something I have tried to live by, and seem to fail at constantly. I admit it- I judge and then I kick myself in the ass for judging. Sometimes judgment is born from insecurity (ex. -jealousy, i.e. girl walks by in skimpy clothing, smiles seductively at my husband, my head automatically says..well you know)..and then I immediately feel bad because I have no idea who this person is. Because the truth is- everyone has a story, everyone is different, and everyone judges. We all judge for very different reasons and that doesn’t make it right or wrong necessarily, it just is.
So if we know that we all judge, why we do we get so offended when someone judges us? Most of the time it’s because we feel it’s unjustified or it’s that they picked up on an insecurity about ourselves. However, those that are secure in who they are tend to not let the judgment of others affect them as much as those who are insecure. In the end, there’s a broad range of reasoning to why we judge and to what degree it’s healthy versus unhealthy. I still like the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” because you never know what’s on the inside. So while we may judge, I would hope that we don’t allow that to stop us from connecting.