“Be curious, not judgmental.” – Walt Whitman
Why is it important to be non-judgmental? Because when we are judgmental we show a lack of compassion and having compassion is an essential part of our well being.
So how can we be non-judgmental?
Understand everyone’s story is different: When someone is judgmental they often assume that the other person has had circumstances similar to theirs. That scenario is unlikely. Perhaps the person was abused as child, grew up poor or rich, or has health problems, you don’t know. But all of these factors weigh into a person’s personality and actions.
Be curious: Allow yourself to wonder about people’s stories. As someone who hears these stories for a living, I am very aware of the complexities of people’s choices. If you hear a story your opinion may change.
Avoid stereotypes: It is said that in the first 3 seconds of meeting someone many irreversible judgments are made. We evaluate a person based on appearance, race, actions, etc. Often times these judgments are based on stereotypes and are not true. Although you probably can’t avoid the snap judgment, allow yourself to get to know a person and challenge yourself on your original assessment.
Understand every adult has the right to make their own decisions-even if they seem unhealthy: We all have the right to self determination even if we are choosing to do things that will hurt us emotionally or physically. While it may be hard to watch someone do things that are harmful to them passing judgment only harms them more.