Everywhere in mainstream media, there is some sort of activism being applied regarding the acceptance of others’ differences. But most importantly, the main motto of the current world that we live in is DON’T JUDGE OTHERS or in other words, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. Just like many of you, I’ve heard this saying pretty much all of my teenage life. Judgment as a word tends to carry some sort of negative connotation behind it, no matter what context it finds itself in. But just like there are always two or even three sides to every story, so maybe it’s time for all of us to enlighten ourselves and reveal the other side of judgment on others. I mean, maybe its purpose isn’t as bad as we think?
I know what you’re thinking; what could this possibly wicked word have anything positive to offer to any of us? And I agree with you. From social media, the news, friends, and even our teachers, we hear stories about how judgment on others has led to a tragic end, sometimes someone’s life being ruined or the worst of it, death. It’s true that judgments on others have more negative consequences than positive. However, not only as students but also as human beings, we are always encouraged to look at different perspectives in all situations; to not be blinded by what we perceive first and dig deeper to uncover the bigger picture. It’s an undeniable fact that judgment on others is terrible, especially when we act on that judgment that we have placed on a particular individual. But I’m here to say that judging others could be a good thing.
Before you get mad and click out of this article please hear me out. Recently a Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, researched about how judging others and being afraid of being judged by others seems to be a natural instinct. We’ve all had those moments where we catch ourselves judging someone; however, what appears to be a split-second judgment on an individual is actually us asking ourselves two things: Can I trust this person? This question is thoroughly based on survival. In moments where we feel as though we can’t trust someone, we instinctively feel some sort of need to protect ourselves and our interests. We tend to acknowledge an individual’s openness, authenticity, and warmth. The more we feel this, the likelier we are to hastily trust that individual. If we don’t feel these things or have a feeling that a person in hiding something, we are immediate to judge them as a protective instinct, whether it be to ourselves or our loved ones. Secondly, we ask ourselves: Should I respect this person? The question circles around how competent we presume a person to be. It comes from the qualifications or particular expertise and experience. If that person has a sturdy reputation, we may have answered this question before meeting them. However, the cruciality of this question is secondary because our priority is survival. If we happen to answer yes to these questions, we are likely to positively judge that individual. However, if any doubt is within us between these questions, we are likely to be judgmental regarding extraneous traits for the goal of distancing ourselves from that individual.
This topic is quite broad and interesting in my opinion. There’s still much that hasn’t been unravelled in this short article, such as the various ways that we judge others, judgment on sociality, and so on. However with this article, I wanted to particularly focus on why we judge others and what happens in our mind during those moments that lead us to form a certain judgment. Of course, the word judgment is never going to be just a black and white word as its’ negative connotations will always find a way to excel the positive in some way. However, when it comes to the core of why judgment is passed on others, it is because of the importance of survival for us. But why do we feel the need to survive?