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Why judging less will make you happier

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Letting go of judgment means you see everything in life – people, situations, even objects- as ongoing, unfinished processes. That’s why you can’t judge them yet.

You don’t have to like everything, and there will be days when you’re sad or aggravated. But if you let go of judgement, you will have an open mind, you will be interested in people and curious about what happens in your life. Things just might might change.

1.     Do you sometimes think: they should have a law against this?

2.     Do you often get disappointed, because you expected something different to happen?

3.     After visiting friends or going to a movie, do you tend to immediately spill the beans about what you didn’t like?

4.     Do you find yourself fulminating often?

5.     Does annoying behavior of people around you bother you a lot?

If your answer is ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, you might be stuck in your own judgment.

Learn to observe without emotions and condemn

According to Dutch therapist Riekje Boswijk, we judge and select things based on our personality. ‘Your judgment is based on your ideas on how it’s supposed to be, your set of values.’ In Buddhism, letting go of these judgments is a crucial way to find peace and to have an objective outlook on things, without emotions and condemn. ‘If you disapprove a lot of things, you’ll lose sight of the beautiful things,’ says Boswijk.

Judging someone else means judging yourself

‘Disapproval in the sense of being angry at other people is something you can examine within yourself. You can make yourself look at your own pain, instead of looking at the person you’re angry with. If you do that, you change your focus from the culprit towards yourself. It’s more interesting to see what’s going on inside of you, than ‘blaming’ someone else or something that happened.’ 

How to let go of your judgment

Instead of focusing on what you think about things, Boswijk says it’s better to look for solutions. ‘There is always something prescriptive about judgment. If you truly want to communicate, you’ll have to stick to your own story. That makes it easier for someone to understand you. Letting go of judgment actually means you dare to question your own ideas, your own ego.

‘In every person, there’s an inner critic. It’s the voice telling you “This is not right!” This voice derives from the rules you learned when you were young, and it constantly judges your behavior and experiences. The voice makes you feel bad about yourself, it’s not effective.’

According to Boswijk, you can debunk the things this voice tells you, by learning that you’re not perfect, but you’re doing your best. You can break from the voice by seeing yourself with loving eyes. Not sugarcoating everything, but not punishing yourself either. Forgiving yourself for your imperfections. And if you can do this for yourself, it’s a lot easier to forgive other people for their mistakes too.’ 

Photo: Joanna Nix