We know we should avoid it, but it’s easy to do in any situation: judgement. 

Picture this situation:

You’re in a meeting and you find yourself agitated by a comment someone else has made. Perhaps it’s a sarcastic remark that came from left field or something you interpret as an affront towards you or your work. You can feel your heart rate increase and your body tenses as you go on the defense. 

The inner dialogue continues and in your mind, you begin to form an opinion of what was just said. 

We are all guilty of being quick to jump to conclusions and judging. It’s a natural,  impulse reaction when we feel rejected or criticized that leads us to quickly judge another in order to jump to our own defense. 

Even worse, many of us believe that we can hide our thoughts from others, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. We can all sense when someone dislikes us or bears a grudge. The moment you judge the person who spoke in the first place, you’ve put yourself in the same combative place. 

Self awareness is the first step in order to overcome situations in which you might be quick to judge. The next time someone does something that makes you go on the defense, take a step back, reflect and try to come to an understanding about that person’s behavior. 

There is always more than one side to the story. 

Think  through the following before you react:

-What would motivate this person to act the way they did? 

-Is it really about this issue or might it be a bigger picture problem?

-Did you say something first that could have driven their comment?

-How can I respond in a way that will benefit all parties involved more productively? 

Thinking through the situation while taking some deep breaths can help you shift your thinking from a place of judgement and frustration to one that is more unbiased and rational. Conversely, if you stay firm in your own judgements, you will remain in resistance with the other person–which won’t help you or your relationship. 

Looking at all sides of a situation without making snap judgements is a big challenge and it’s something that we’ve got to practice for the rest of our lives but the payoff is worth it. 

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