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Judgement: The Toxic Elixir We Need to Avoid



In the tapestry of human interactions, judgement often creeps in as an unwelcome guest, casting shadows on our relationships and poisoning the situations we might face. Like a nasty toxin, the habit of passing judgement can corrode the very fabric of our connections, leaving behind a residue of bitterness. In this post, I delve into the corrosive effects of judgement and why it’s a toxic elixir we must avoid.


The Poisonous Brew of negative Judgement

Imagine negative judgement as a bitter concoction, slowly seeping into our thoughts and interactions. It carries the sting of condemnation and the weight of negative assumption, turning human connection into unhelpful shades of mistrust. The toxicity lies not only in how we perceive others but also in the damage it inflicts on our well-being.


The Impact on Relationships


When judgement takes root, it erects barriers between us and those we encounter. The preconceived notions distort our view, hindering genuine connection. The word prejudice is made up of ‘pre-judgement’. Whether it's in the workplace, friendships, or family dynamics, the poison of judgement corrodes the foundations of trust, leaving fractured relationships in its wake.


The Self-Inflicted Wounds


The sneaky nature of judgement isn't limited to its effect on others; we also inflict wounds upon ourselves. The more we pass negative judgement, the more we create an outlook of doubt and damaging thoughts within our minds. This self-inflicted toxicity erodes our mental well-being, fostering a mindset that fixates on faults rather than embracing the richness of human diversity. These thoughts and feelings drive our behaviour. And before we know it, we are behaving in a way that we’d rather we were not.


The illusion of Superiority

It’s common that judgement often masquerades as a cloak of superiority, an illusion that we are somehow above reproach or know better. However, this illusion masks us to the universal truth that none of us are without flaws or can know the full picture of what is happening. I see this first-hand when coaching people, as they share the challenges they face that I suspect are not apparent to others. The poison of judgement keeps us from the humility required for growth, as we become trapped in the false belief that we somehow stand on higher ground.


The Antidote: Empathy, Gratitude and Understanding


If judgement is the poison, empathy, gratitude and understanding are the antidotes that can neutralise its effects. Walking a mile in someone else's shoes allows us to see beyond the surface and appreciate the complexities of their journey. Empathy fosters connection, helps dispel assumptions, and replaces the poison of judgement with compassion and understanding. We don't have to agree with another person's opinion provided we have to taken the time to understand what is going on to develop our view. Likewise, when we focus on gratitude we bring a helpful perspective. Additionally, with gratitude comes greater alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. These sound like a great collection of things to have driving my thinking, feelings and behaviour.


Cultivating a Judgement-Free Zone


Creating a judgement-free zone starts with self-awareness. It involves questioning our knee-jerk reactions, challenging our assumptions, and consciously choosing understanding over condemnation. It's a commitment to fostering an environment where differences are celebrated and the richness of diversity is embraced. Many years ago I picked up on the expression “It’s likely a cock-up not a conspiracy”. I used it regularly as an interrupt and found that it serves me particularly well when things are not going to plan. Adopting this approach does not mean we become naive. We must draw on our own experience to help navigate what comes our way. This is about putting ourselves into an objective position to use that experience.


Conclusion


In a world where unhelpful judgement lurks around every corner, let's be mindful of the toxic elixir it represents. Choosing empathy over judgement is not just a kindness to others but a gift we give to ourselves. As we navigate the complexities of human connections, let's strive to cultivate understanding, banishing the poison of judgement and allowing more positive thoughts and feelings to develop in our lives.


What could you do to create more empathy in your outlook? I’m curious about what you come up with.

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