We all are guilty of thinking a harsh thought about somebody else or about ourselves, sometimes without even realizing it. We inherit these thinking habits from television, movies, parents, and friends and while criticism can sometimes be entertaining, it can also sour our mood and relationships. The more a person thinks about what’s wrong with themselves and the people around them, the better they get at finding these flaws and ignoring what’s good. Professional fault-finders are not fun friends, siblings, or team members and their happiness often suffers from only seeing what they don’t like. Learning to be less judgmental keeps your mood high and eases relationships with other people.
- Watch your thoughts
Listen to your inner voice closely to see what it says about the grocery store”s cashier’s hair or your friend’s outfit. When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, ask yourself if it’s fair and if it serves you. Try to deflect the harsh thoughts by thinking the most positive, warm thing about what you’re seeing instead. Get creative! When you feel yourself thinking something critical about someone’s outfit, imagine you are a commentator at a runway show and instead of tearing it apart, point out its genius. If you give these positive thoughts more attention than the negative ones, you’ll feel a lot better about others and yourself. Pretty soon, thinking the nicest thing instead of the meanest will be an impulse.
- Bite your tongue
When you do have an ugly thought about something, be sure not to say it aloud. Even if you don’t care what the person you’re talking to thinks about you, vocalizing your criticism only encourages more harsh thinking. The best way to become less judgemental is by first changing the way you talk about others and then you will be able to change the way you think about others. As a rule, people respond much better to encouragement than criticism so being very good at criticising others is often more detrimental than helpful.
- Realize when you want to find faults
Once we become good at finding problems and flaws, it’s hard to not see them everywhere. The best fault-finders can find something ugly in even the most beautiful things and only focus on the imperfect. The next time you see someone make a harmless mistake or reveal a unique quirk about themselves, realize it’s okay if you don’t point it out or have an opinion about it. It’s okay if things are imperfect and it’s often the imperfections that make life and people exciting and interesting. If you find someone or something that doesn’t seem to have any blatant faults, don’t turn into a detective trying to find one. If you accept imperfections and don’t actively seek out things to dislike, you’ll be much happier with what’s around you.
- Everyone deserves to be happy
Everyone, yes everyone, deserves happiness. If someone’s doing what makes them feel good without harming anyone else, why not let them do it without judgement? You deserve to do what makes you happy too and you wouldn’t want anyone looking down on you for the way you have fun. Maybe you can even share in that person’s happiness if you decide not to criticize them to yourself.
Deciding to welcome imperfections instead of judging them can make life seem much more beautiful and fulfilling. I hope you take it upon yourself to reject being a fault-finder and love others and yourself how they already are.