Reality Check: Can You Resist the Urge to Judge Others?

Urge to Judge Others

Understanding Someone Else’s Reality

It is often said that you can’t truly know what someone else is experiencing until you walk a mile in their shoes. That’s true, but what if you never have to walk in those shoes? What if your life path isn’t headed in that direction? How can you understand someone else’s reality when it isn’t and may never be your own?

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Life is filled with many watershed moments, and there are really no hard-and-fast rules about when we will experience them, if ever. When someone you know is going through one of these moments, you should be supportive. That’s obvious, right? But you’d be surprised at how judgmental some people get. Here are a few examples.

Death of a Loved One

Is there a wrong way and a right way to experience the death of a loved one? Some people would say there is. Some may feel that death is a solemn occasion, calling for quiet reflection, while others would say death is a celebration of life and the deceased deserves an uproarious sendoff. Some think a traditional burial is appropriate, while others see nothing wrong with cremation. When the death of a loved one is someone else’s reality, you have no right to judge them, how they mourn and how they commemorate a life lived. Your only responsibility is to support and comfort them.

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Serious Illness

Most people have been touched by cancer in some way. Whether it has been a personal experience or the experience of a friend or loved one, we can all agree that it’s a serious, life-altering illness. And there are so many treatments for cancer—some western and some eastern. Some people choose to take an aggressive approach to treating cancer while others choose not to treat it at all. When it’s their cancer, it’s their decision. Cancer is their reality and they are the ones who have to live with everything that comes with, no matter what treatment, if any, they seek. Be a help, not a hindrance.

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Financial Shift

Money comes and goes. Some years it can flow like whitewater rapids. Other years, it can trickle in like a leaky faucet. A person’s financial situation can shift unexpectedly (the loss of a job, unexpected expenses, etc.). Suddenly, that friend who was taking lavish trips with you or buying expensive bottles of champagne for the table is learning to live life less frivolously. Maybe they aren’t big tippers anymore. Suddenly you don’t have someone to splurge with and you feel inconvenienced and even a little embarrassed. When a financial shift is someone else’s reality, you need to respect their desire to be thrifty. Don’t make them feel poor or unsuccessful because they can’t maintain the lifestyle they once had and shared with you.


When your friends become parents, their children become their priority. Naps, feedings and parent-teacher conferences are their reality. They may not be able to get together on a school night or find a babysitter so they can come to your party on a Saturday night, and that should be fine. If you have more freedom, flexibility and less responsibility, you can accommodate your friend’s schedule. If that doesn’t interest you, leave them alone and let them be a good parent. If parenthood isn’t your reality, you don’t get to judge.

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We’re Encouraged to Judge Others

We live in a society that encourages judgement. Whether it’s a celebrity’s red carpet look, their weight or their decision to change genders, society teaches us that we have to have an opinion about it and that our opinions matter. We judge so much and we think we have a right to. They’re celebrities. They chose to be in the spotlight. They deserve it. But what about the regular people in your life? What about your family, your friends, your coworkers and the stranger passing you on the street? Do you have a right to judge them? You don’t, especially when you haven’t walked a mile in their shoes, don’t know their circumstances and maybe never will. Resist the urge to judge others and encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same. Maybe if you feel less inclined to judge someone else, someone will feel less inclined to judge you.

4 thoughts on “Reality Check: Can You Resist the Urge to Judge Others?

  1. Jesse

    Very well stated and perfectly timed! Just in time for school and all that goes with it. We could all learn from this article. Thank you!

  2. patricia

    Thank-you for bring this to our attention.We all need to be reminded that this plagues the whole human race..!!.I want to be free of all judgement, that will set us free..and the whole world would be a caring,loving place!!!!!love and peace…judgement free!!!thanks for this article……


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