People always say ‘never judge a book by its cover’ but judgement is everywhere, it is extremely hard not to make judgements on the world around us. Due to the fact we are all different, we have different views and opinions on life and sometimes that can come across as judgemental. However, often making judgements on other people can be deemed as you being ‘mean’. So, what is the fine line between what is an honest opinion and casting judgement upon others and being a ‘mean girl’?
Why do we Judge?
We make judgements on absolutely everything it is an integral part of our functioning as a human and our survival; should I put my hand in that fire or use it to toast marshmallows? We have a fight, flight or freeze mechanism within our brain that helps us to survive as a species and sometimes it can cloud the logical aspects of the brain and thinking. So what are the fundamental reasons for people making judgements?
Beliefs and different perceptions of the world
‘That joke wasn’t funny’, ‘that TV show is rubbish’, ‘I hate that type of music’; these are all comments that you have probably said, I know I have and you will keep on saying without giving it much thought. Let us take the example of the joke, does the fact that you did not find the joke funny mean it is a bad joke? What about if somebody else likes the joke and finds its hilarious, does that mean they are wrong? How can we truly know if a joke is indeed ‘funny’ when everyone’s belief and preconceptions of comedy are all different?
We all have been brought up with different beliefs and perceptions of the world around us, what is funny, what is beautiful and what we like so it is inevitable that when opinions are different that clashes can occur. However, it is in the way that we conduct ourselves that is the difference between being ‘judgemental’ and simply just having a difference of opinion.
We make judgements based on other people’s perceived ‘competence’ as a member of society, whether that is the way they dress, wear their makeup, what type of life they lead or indeed their ability as a parent.
People judge others purely out of the need to ‘keep up with the competition’, our animal instinct takes over and we go into ‘survival of the fittest’ mode. Instead of actual physical displays of strength or aptitude, we venture into a psychological game that involves bringing other people down so that we appear better.
Have you ever said ‘what is she wearing?’ or laughed at someone else’s perceived ‘failure’, it is easily done. I remember walking to meet friends at a restraint in town and tripping over and falling in spectacular fashion. On picking myself up and continuing to walk I noticed a family who had seen the whole incident, the parents were simply looking ahead while their teenage son was laughing hysterically. It showed me that different people find the misfortune of others entertaining and some are indifferent to it, it depends on your perception of what is competent. I do not blame the teen for laughing at all, I believe that as we get older, we realise that mistakes are inevitable and common and we do not react as strongly when others make mistakes as we know we have made plenty of our own.
Ignorance and intolerance
Have you ever met someone and thought ‘they are a really nice person’ only to find through time that they are in fact not what they seem from first impressions. Likewise, I have met people that I thought I would not get on with, or thought that they were ‘mean girls’ and after getting to know them I could not be further from the truth. This really shows that ‘knowledge is power’ and being ignorant to the facts can sometimes twist our judgements.
Another reason that people judge is intolerance, we have a perceived perception of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and sometimes this can lead to judgement making. We have all been intolerant to certain people or situations because they do not a line with our own we like to be surrounded by things that bring us comfort or joy and if something goes against it then we either fight it, flee or freeze it out. I personally have difficulty around negativity and people that are on the pessimistic side of things and I have sometimes pre-judged their opinion based on the way they are, believing them to be overly negative.
The role of social media
The increase in the use of social media has had a massive impact on the way that people are viewing and judging others. The fact that we do not have to communicate face to face has led to people voicing their opinions and judgements more and having a disassociation with the impact that these judgements can have. Would you really walk up to someone and say ‘that hat looks awful’ or ‘you can’t walk around with green hair’ in real life? Social media has given us the ability to cast our judgement on everything regardless of the consequences of the words that are said.
I saw a post on a very large makeup group on Facebook about Chloe Kardashian and her ‘nose job’, I was horrified by many of the comments that were made. The thread quickly turned into a long list of women saying how bad she looked and making jokes about Michael Jackson and this made me sad. Some people even commented that because she is a celebrity that she is ‘open’ to being criticised by others.
My response to that is ‘who are you to judge?’, are you an expert in what is beautiful? You do not need to make these comments as it does not benefit her, you are not a friend whose opinion she values so why make judgements on her, is it to make you feel better?
We all have insecurities, I do not think that there is anyone who does not feel like they are failing at one point or another. These insecurities within us trigger our ‘animal’ instinct and instead of being supportive to others, we start to try and tear people down to make ourselves feel more powerful.
I saw an article on Facebook that really made my blood boil and showed how being judgemental can be an ugly trait in people. This article made its way through many of the makeup groups and the anger at what happened was obvious. A makeup obsessed woman who works at Asda posted an angry rant at a mother and daughter who were making snide comments about the fact that the worker was wearing ‘too much makeup’ in their opinion, you can find the full article here.
What really upset me was not the fact that the mother was commenting about the amount of makeup the girl was wearing, it was the example she was setting for her daughter. This mother was showing to her daughter that it is acceptable to judge others rather than keeping her judgements to herself and showing tolerance to others. She was showing her daughter that it is ok to laugh at others, be rude about them in public and not consider their feelings. As a mother, shouldn’t she be teaching about tolerance to others for being different and accepting everyone for their differences or am I not being judgemental for saying that?
If one of the root causes of people making judgements about others is the need to compete and appear to be ‘better’, then surely being more confident about yourself will reduce the need to bring others down. Over the past year I feel like I have become a lot less judgemental and more tolerant to others for the simple reason that I have begun to ‘love myself’ more. I am fortunate that I have some amazing friends that have praised and built me up over the past year to realise my true value amongst the world, so I do not feel the need to compete or bring down the competition through judging others.
As I have said in ‘5 things you should tell yourself every day’ you are awesome and you have your own value in the world that is equal to everyone else. You do not need to bring others down with your judgements; if they are happy with whatever they are doing and not hurting anybody then just leave them to it, scroll past and get on with focusing on yourself.
What do you think, have you been a victim of peoples judgements, do you think it is possible not to judge people? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Ciao for now beauties xx