I’m judgemental, and that’s as it should be.
As a therapist, I make it my business to create a warm, safe, non-judgmental space for my clients. I think I achieve it. I really hope I do.
The question really is how?
Being judgemental is a vital life skill.
Being judgemental is not a bad thing.
Being judgemental is something that feeds the most primitive human instinct there is: survival.
Judgements stop us crossing the road when it isn’t safe. It tells us not to eat the meat that’s sat out for a little too long. It tells us to avoid someone who we may think will be bad for us, whether short or long term. Judgements are really really important, and about 80% of the time, we should listen to them.
What’s also really important is to understand what informs them. So for example, if you feel negatively judgemental about gay people, you need to ask yourself why. Why do you think that it’s wrong? Where have you learned that message? Why are you caught in a narrative about it being wrong? How does their sexuality affect you?
The answer is, it doesn’t. Unless of course there is something a lot deeper going on than just fearing someone’s difference to you, for example the idea they may not be so different to you.
The thing about negative judgements is they help us align with certain tribes. They help us feel as though we belong. That’s why they’re so hard to resist. We see it in the playground from an early age. The child with ginger hair is excluded and isolated for a genetic predisposition, to facilitate bonding between his peers. The one who is good at maths and not sports is teased for being a geek or a nerd, because his intelligence is something to be feared, and his difference feels foreign.
Can you see how those childhood judgments translate into adulthood?
I certainly can.
The way to combat these is by being honest with yourself. For example:
‘Why does it matter to me if Sue walks her kids to school in her pyjamas? Why do I feel threatened by it? What do I see in Sue that I’m scared of seeing in myself?’
Because that’s another thing. Negative judgements are usually based on tiny little mirror reflections we are scared of seeing in ourselves.
Perhaps Sue has had to fight her kids tooth and nail to get the kids to school this morning. Perhaps Sue’s mother/brother/other was rushed into hospital in the night and she hasn’t had time to look after herself before the children. Perhaps Sue can barely function due to hideous depression but is being a responsible parent, and is getting her kids to school on time.
Perhaps Sue doesn’t care.
What matters is that Sue is making her choice, and you can make yours. Neither should affect the other. We need to own our own ‘stuff’, and understand that our judgements of others is just that. OURS.
After all, to quote a ridiculously overused, but nevertheless important phrase:
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
#therapy #counselling #bekind #judgemental #love #bristol