A guest post written by Charles Lindahl from Fullerton, California
When an overweight woman was asked why she drove past five churches of her denomination to attend one considerably farther from her home, she replied, “Because that is the only place I don’t feel judged.”
The effect of feeling judged was also highlighted in a study recently published in Computers in Human Behavior, where researchers reported finding that those seeking help from a therapist were more likely to speak freely and display emotion when they were interacting with a computer than when they were interacting with a human therapist. “People opened up more to the virtual human than to a real person. They said they felt less judged by the virtual human.”
There is an arresting message here: being judged is a serious problem for people.
Judgmental behavior can affect our mental and physical health. How often do we judge ourselves and others? Even if we don’t voice our judgments, seeing others negatively and harboring such thoughts affects us and those with whom we are interacting. We may jump to conclusions with little evidence, categorize others, question why they are taking certain actions, criticize their behavior, predict bad outcomes. This may lead to feelings of superiority, arrogance, and self-righteousness, often based on a sense of inadequacy and insecurity.
Judging others is not an effective way to transform lives. It tends to distance us from others and alienate those we would most like to help. On the other hand, being more vigilant about judging ourselves and others can improve our peace of mind and health.
Rather than focusing on the shortcomings of others, we can make greater effort to see them as God made them. We can practice looking “through the spiritual lens of divinity.”
Two ground-breaking spiritual and health leaders have given us important counsel with respect to judging. Spiritual pioneer and health explorer Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Holding the right idea of man in my mind, I can improve my own, and other people’s individuality, health, and morals.” And Christ Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Keeping thought judgment free is the healthy choice.