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Good Judgment vs Being Judgmental

by Michael Angier

Developing good judgment is worthy of our best efforts. Being able to consistently make informed and considered decisions enables us to achieve the results we desire.

But being judgmental isn’t the same thing.

Being judgmental; at least based upon my definition, is not about discernment. It’s about judging the beliefs, actions, inactions and opinions of others.

Here’s what I see as the difference between judging people and having an opinion: an opinion is a viewpoint, a judgment based upon observation in the context of our own experience and bias. We all have them, and we’re entitled to them.

However, when we have an opinion with a “charge” to it, when our opinion is fueled with emotion; like anger and agitation; then the opinion is most likely a judgment. We’re making someone wrong. We’re being judgmental.

It’s a waste of time and energy to be so invested in another person’s actions or beliefs. It’s challenging enough to change ourselves, and it’s virtually impossible to change other people. It’s far more productive
to invest in improving ourselves.

Certainly, there are times when someone else’s actions or inactions negatively impact us. And in these instances, it’s incumbent upon us to make our requests known. In doing so, we may be able to influence a person to change. But making demands instead of requests rarely works.

Most of the time, being judgmental is about being right. And the “right” or “wrong” in any given situation is rarely factual.

Action Point
Check yourself when you’re in a debate or in disagreement with someone. Are you in reaction rather than just stating your case? Are you trying to be “right” and invested in them agreeing with you? If so, you’re being judgmental. And this kind of judging is toxic to you and your relationship with that person.

Notice the times when you’re stepping over the boundary of speaking your truth and judging another. And be sure you don’t judge YOURSELF.  Just recognize what you did or are doing, and resolve to do better next time.

THAT’S good judgment.

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