So I went to a free outdoor concert last week, which I high expectations for, but instead it turned out to be mostly obnoxious, with just a hint of tedious, and a splash of hope that all of the rude, inconsiderate, pushy kids would catch a nonfatal, yet very itchy, rash around their neither regions, which would last for a good week and a half. Typically I consider myself of the “kindness towards your fellow man” disposition. In times of arguments and grumbling I’m usually the first to start the, “can’t we all just get along?” chant of togetherness. Unfortunately though, as wave upon wave of rude people invaded my space, i.e. stepping walking through the middle of us all sitting in a blanket on a grass filled area away from the sidewalks, I admit that I did begin to lose that perspective in a hurry. It was the utter lack of mutual respect that emitted off those people like the pungent odor off an overpriced wedge of foul tasting soft French cheese, that I had the biggest problem with.

Yes I am being judgmental, but that’s the point really. Plus, I’m perfectly fine with it. Judging is one of those words that carry with it a lot of negatively charged emotional attachment. I think this is because of its use in religious text. The context is that is usually given is that judging is a bad thing that we should not take part in. I believe there was also a subtle suggestion in the text regarding this action… something about if you judge someone they’ll judge you back. Then a little while later in the book you have all these laws being shared that do, in fact, give you guidelines for judging people, and how they should be dealt with after said judgment takes place. It’s a bit confusing really.

Judge not… rubbish, I say judge, because I really do think it is part of the human condition. I know it sounds odd, but I think judging others shows you’re human. The problem is, is that people think and have been led to believe that judging others suggests negative insinuations, or unpleasantries about their character, which it certainly can, but does it always? Can you judge someone without attaching a negative perspective to it? I think you can, because I do it all the time. I’ve seen people that I thought could benefit from seeing a therapist. From that I could either mean that I think they are a crazy person, or that they could benefit and create a better life for themselves if they were to get some professional help. Both are judgments, one could be classified as a bit negative and the other is concern and not what I consider to me negative at all.

I figure the first thing we need to do when talking about this word is to define it so we know in what context the word is being used. There is the context of making a judgment due to one’s professional possession as in being a judge. Also, you may be required to judge someone’s guilt if you are assigned to a jury at some point in life. Those professional definitions aside, judging someone simply seems to mean forming an opinion about someone’s character based on one’s personal perspective, as in what think about them based on your observations. Yes, first impressions can be wrong, but first impressions are a social system for judging others. Job interviews are another socially acceptable scenario for judging others. As long as it is called something else, people seem to be fine with it.

Can judgments be wrong? Of course, that’s the great thing about the mind, thoughts, beliefs, impressions, etc. we can change them with the more information we get. We’re very clever that way. I’ve met some people that I didn’t much care for at first and whom I’ve grown to love and appreciate. The exact opposite can also be said.

Not too long ago I as this one kid get all huffy and bent out of shape because of a look they got from someone the store. They were so worked up that they confronted this person and the first thing out of their mouth was, “Don’t judge me!” I started laughing… I always start laughing when I hear that phrase. Telling people not to judge automatically gets them judging because of the judgment performed on them by the person who thinks they are judging. Also, by telling someone not to judge means you are, in fact, judging them. It’s a perfect working example of hypocrisy, commonly very loud angst filled hypocrisy, but there’s no telling them that, usually… unless they are family… or a good friend… or that one obnoxious guy that doesn’t drink, but acts drunk all night in a poorly chosen attempt to fit in and needs this explained to them in a very direct way because subtle hints are completely lost on them.

I’d really like to see all the animosity toward the word to go away. There’s really no point. People seem fine and always happy to take part in the action when they call it something else. One of the most common and favored practices of judging others is “people watching”. People love to watch other people, and form opinions about them. The one thing you can count on when you go people watching is that others are watching and judging you as well. It really is quite an even handed practice. Perhaps that’s why people seem to enjoy it so much.

I suppose the point is, it’s what we choose to do with the judgment. Some people choose to throw stones, others let it go. Some judgments make us laugh at others. Some make us laugh at ourselves. My gripe with judging others comes from people who take that judgment and intentionally belittle the person they are judging. Things designed to attack another’s self-worth and self-appreciation. I’m fine if people laugh at someone in shorts wearing black socks pulled up to the knee while wearing white sneakers, I’m fine with them telling others about it. The part I disagree with is when people go out of their way to make a bunch of noise to get the attention of the black sock person so when they look over and see others intentionally pointing and laughing at them for the sole purpose of hurting their feelings.

To sum it up in a sentence, judge all you want, just don’t be a douche bag about it.

What are your thoughts about judging others?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: judging, soap box, don’t judge, and laughing at others.