Mindset Shift: Why Replacing Judgment With Evaluation is Critical
Did you happen to catch yourself judging others this past week? Have you thought to yourself or said to others, “You really should…” or “He’s just being…” or “Why can’t she just do it this way”? If your answer is “No”, either you’ve been in a dreamless coma since reading my recent article Drop The Judgment, or you have reached enlightenment in less than a week— which not even the Buddha could accomplish!
Did my suggestion from that article about mitigating judgment by employing curiosity resonate with you? Such inquisitiveness serves to neurochemically shift your thinking, and thus your perspective, from your amygdala (reactionary) to your prefrontal cortex (responsive). “This is bad” becomes “Hmmm, I wonder what is going on here.” This leads to learning more, and understanding the “why”. The reward for your efforts is a more informed point of view.
The goal here isn’t to eliminate critical thinking as much as it is to assess people and situations free of assumptions, and then draw your conclusion without bias. Since judgment has an element of self-righteousness, it indicates an opinionated, subjective value. Judgment without employing your values, but with impartiality nonetheless, can be considered an evaluation.
Evaluations merely state what “is” in a neutral, objective manner. They allow for freedom of choice, while judgments limit your behavior and the behavior of others. Let’s take a look at a couple of the mindset shifts necessary to achieve the appropriate objectivity for releasing judgment, assumptions and conclusions in your career and in life.
My confession of being a highly judgmental person was difficult for me to put out there in writing. But the more I lean into my flaws and faults, the more easily I can mitigate the characteristics of the person I prefer not to resemble, thereby moving towards a ‘better me’. This journey began with self-compassion, as it must with you in order to make the change.
Before employing this kindness and acceptance of myself, my inner critic, Eve (short for Evil), used to have her way with me. When I would admit to exhibiting a less-than-ideal side of myself, Eve would swoop right in, squash my self-compassion and beat my spirit down. But once I started to be kinder to myself, the tenderness continued to grow, leading to greater resilience and confidence, which comes full circle to perpetuate the cycle of greater compassion! One must recognize the weakness before it can be neutralized. I’ve written about compassion quite a bit. Check out these articles to aid in your mindset shift towards self-compassion.
Turning judgment into a strength by employing curiosity is an amazing re-lease of judgment. It’s a positive side of evaluation. The first step is to find something to appreciate in the subject or object you’re assessing. This doesn’t mean you must align or agree with someone’s taste in clothing or their suggestions about how to approach a challenge or a project or a client. But when you’re able to remain curious and ask questions about the “why?” of someone’s perspective, you can understand where they’re coming from, and appreciate their point of view. If this sounds good in theory, but you are at a loss as to how to put this into practice, try using the phrase, “Help me understand”.
My challenge for you: This week, when you find yourself slipping into judgment, take a breath and show yourself some compassion. Invisibly shake your head at yourself and think lovingly, “There you go again”. Ask the other person to “double click” and explain to you what they mean. Enjoy the process, knowing that you’re seeing through another’s eyes!
In my follow-up article, we’ll take this one step farther and illustrate how making assumptions brings us up the ladder of conclusions to possibly further divide, and how employing curiosity and courageous conversations can bring you back to synchronicity with others.
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