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  • Writer's pictureMarcy Kocher

Why we judge

Judgment is a normal, instinctual human behavior.

It’s necessary to our survival and a good thing when used properly.

Our primitive brain’s job is to keep us alive.

One of the ways it does this is to avoid danger.

Judgment is one way we do this.

For instance, we judge the safety of walking down a dark ally.

Circumstances and people sometimes cause harm.

And we need to judge if other people are potentially dangerous.

But when a judgment becomes opinion-based instead of protection based we have a problem.

We know it’s opinion based when the word should is somewhere in our thought.

And that’s when judgment becomes dangerous to us.

Judging is meant to help, not hinder us.

It helps when we judge danger.

It hinders when we judge people.

Judging people creates disconnection and division with others and with ourselves.

This can lead to hostility and aggression.

Unfortunately, our society has been experiencing a lot of this lately.

So what can we do?


The first step is to not judge yourself for judging - it’s not your fault.

Of course, your brain thinks your way is the best way.

Of course, we think everyone should be like us.

This is hardwired into our brain to keep us safe.

The second step is questioning our judgments with compassionate curiosity.

I wonder why I’m judging? Where am I sensing danger?

And, is it actual danger?

The third step is understanding.

We can understand without agreeing.

Understanding leads to compassion, connection, creativity,

which can lead to solution-focused progress.

Yes, someone might genuinely be engaging in “bad” behavior.

But bad behavior tends to come from fear and pain.

Why answer “bad” behavior with more “bad” behavior?

Instead of thinking, they should or shouldn’t

Consider thinking,

I wonder why?

Imagine if someone did this for you.

Imagine a world where we could all do this for each other.

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