Why People Judge Themselves (and Others)

Video by Dr. Charlotte Howard

Article by Dr. Kyler Shumway

Why are people so judgy? 

Is it because we focus on the bad, and not the good?  Is it because positivity is somehow unhelpful or unwise?  Or is it something else?

Dr. Charlotte Howard, co-founder and owner of Deep Eddy Psychotherapy, gives us the answer in her latest video segment.  

If you struggle with being judgmental or feeling judged by others, there is hope.  Contact us today to get the help you deserve.

Not enough time to watch the video?  Read on to learn some of the highlights!

Why We Judge 

People judge themselves and others in all sorts of ways:

  • “I’m not as pretty as she is.”

  • “Everyone else here is an idiot.”

  • “They have it all together, but I don’t.”

  • “He’s SO much smarter than me.”

  • “I can’t cook.”

 We sure seem to use these kinds of judgments often – but, why?

 From the dawn of human existence, we have heavily relied on our ability to tell the difference – to judge – between good and bad, safe and dangerous, friend and foe. Those who couldn’t tell the difference died, and those who were good at it survived and reproduced.  Generation after generation of judgy people passing along judgy genes and judgy ways of communicating has led to one of the judgy-est civilizations in history – us.

 So, it’s normal to be judgy.  But is it healthy?

 Not so much.

The Problem With Judgy-ness

As you’ll learn from Dr. Howard, people tend to see themselves as superior OR less than others for a very simple reason – they fear intimacy.  

Fear is a powerful, motivating human emotion.  Fear keeps us safe, helps us avoid things that will hurt us.  And because so many of us have experienced hurt, especially early in life, fear tries hard to keep us from being hurt again.  

Fear keeps us safe in relationships by changing our perspective.  It pushes us to see ourselves as different from the other person – that way, we don’t feel too close to them right away.  This makes sense, because if we attach too quickly or trust without reason, we open ourselves up to being hurt by those who seek to cause us harm.  

But, unless we are willing to get close and be vulnerable, our relationships will forever remain shallow and dissatisfying.

You have to learn to take that risk.  You have to embrace the scariness of letting someone feel similar to you, close to you.  You have to begin to accept and value people (including yourself) as they are, foibles and all.  

But, how?

How to Move from Judgment to Love

Love is the antidote to judgmentality. 

 The more you can learn to love and connect with others and yourself, the less judgmental you will become.  

 Here are some simple ways you can begin practicing love today.

Ways to Love Yourself

  • Ask yourself the question, “can I love myself a bit more today?”

  • Imagine how a beloved friend or family member might describe you

  • Move your body – stretch, dance, walk, and celebrate what you can do

  • Take a shower or a hot bath

  • Take time to make and eat a healthy, wholesome meal

  • Start seeing a therapist

Ways to Love Others

  • Be curious, and try to understand people in complex ways (rather than putting them in a box)

  • Spend time with people who are different from you, and learn what life is like for them

  • When hurt by others, know that their cruelty comes from their own inner pain and unmet needs

  • Act in loving ways, even when it’s hard to feel loving

  • Recognize that all of us, even the most polished and “successful” people, carry their own pain, their own story, and are human, just like you

  • Join group therapy

Interested in learning more?  Ready to try therapy for the first time?

We are here for you.  All you have to do is reach out.

Want to work with one of our Deep Eddy therapists?