I think judgement stems from three places. The first, is ignorance in it's true form. As in, people really don't know. They don't know you, or your situation, or what happened to you an hour ago that may have effected something you said or did. They don't know about insecurities that you may be overcompensating for or that you just got terrible news and aren't really your "usual self". They're basing their opinion solely on their personal perception, without a lot of imperative information. This doesn't mean they're wrong or mean (though they could be), but it means that they are looking at it through only one single focus lens, and that will never provide the full picture. They truly don't have enough details to form an accurate opinion.
The second place is self defense. People are sensitive about a subject, and therefore get their back up when anything threatens them on that level. So when someone else says or does something that touches on this subject, they reply by judging that person almost as a gut reaction .... "they're weird, they're too dramatic, they're trouble, they're crazy, they're stupid, they're ugly" and the list goes on and on. Sometimes the judgements have nothing to do with the actual topic at hand. They just lash out. And in full disclosure, I know I'm guilty of this one. If someone says one potentially negative thing about people with mental health conditions, I'm on the defensive, with my claws up. Instead of attacking, I do try to educate the person as to where they're possibly making an inaccurate assumption - at least if it's someone I know. If not, I tend to walk on, try not to get too frustrated, and hope a bird shits on their head as they walk the other direction. I'm kidding. Sort of. But I certainly at times do think "what a jerk" as I'm walking away. I'm judging them because I'm defensive about the subject and I'm fully aware of this. I'm ironically doing the exact thing I'm frustrated with them doing, almost as if by rote, because it's such an emotional area for me. I think that perhaps this is the most common form of judgement. We all have those things that we keep close to our hearts, and nobody better go after them.
The third source of judgement actually seems counterintuitive at first. That is, we often dislike (and judge) the exact same thing in others that we dislike about ourselves. Perhaps this is because it brings our attention to it and lets us see how it appears to others. In this case, when we judge other people, we're really judging ourselves. Often, it can be the toughest form of judgement, because we are generally our own worst critics. With this type of judgement, it takes a lot of maturity and knowledge on the part of the judged to understand and not be too angry at the judger. And it requires the judger to address their own issues, so as not to project those insecurities onto others.
In the end, I think that the simple, yet not always easy, key is understanding that nobody's perfect. We've all been or done or said something that's upset or bothered someone else. Hopefully, we've apologized. If you haven't, go do so - not apologizing hurts you more than it hurts them in the long run. If you don't understand the reason behind someone's judgement, try to communicate with them. Nicely, not accusingly. See if you can understand each other a bit better. I'm convinced that communication and understanding (because it's tough to have the latter without the former), are the key to dealing with almost any animosity in life. And if none of this works, remember the old but accurate cliche that nobody can upset you without your permission. So be the bigger person, forgive, and walk forward.
This blog was written as part of the 30 Day I AM WOMAN Blog and Linkedin Challenge