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If you want to be free, learn how to not be judgmental. This may seem like an unattainable state, but it is achievable. Like anything that we want to improve upon, it takes desire, a heightened state of awareness and consistent practice. If you’ve got the desire and awareness, this article outlines the three concepts to practice when you are judging yourself or others. These three concepts are; seeing the best in others, forgiving yourself and cultivating joy. I hope you will enjoy the non-judgmental quotes included as well.

Why Do We Judge?

Although I’m not a theologian or licensed psychologist, I have identified a few theories as to why we judge ourselves and each other. Perhaps, some of these will resonate with you as they do with me.

  • Growing up in an environment in which we were subject to judgment and criticism.
  • Not receiving the messages or modeling of acceptance, appreciation, love and encouragement.
  • Experiencing one or many incidents wherein our self-esteem, body image, intelligence or character was damaged, marred, ridiculed, shamed, humiliated, condemned, judged, or criticized.
  • Creating a story or perception in our own minds where we believe we are being judged.
  • Judging to compensate for our insecurities.
  • Media’s continuous influence that something is “wrong” with us, that we are flawed and need to be changed if we want to be loved and accepted.
  • Our brains attempting to make sense of something or someone that doesn’t fit our paradigm.
  • Feeling and/or believing we are all separate from one another as a species.
  • Wanting to be right.
  • Having a sense of superiority, a belief of being better than others, a false perception of control.
  • Fear.

“The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment.” – Unknown

How to Not Judge Others

One of the first virtues demonstrated to me in my formative years was coined from Thumper, the adorable (yes, adjectives are a form of judgment) bunny animated in the 1942 Disney movie; Bambi.
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” – Thumper

There were many times I would run home from school, wailing to my mother that kids were not being nice and not saying nice things. In all of my innocence, I was doing my best to up-hold the virtue I was taught, yet others were not! I was confused, hurt and dismayed. In her wisdom laced with kindness a child could comprehend, she explained that everyone is different, whether it be the color of their eyes, or the scale of ‘nice-ness’ they expressed. She also cleverly turned my chubby fingers around and pointed them toward my heart, and said; “See the best in others, and in yourself”.

Throughout my life I’ve adhered to the notion that everyone is doing the best they can with the knowledge, understanding and awareness they have at that time. Thank you to my mom, Louise Hay, Sharon Gabriela and many other life teachers, including life experiences which have solidified this time and time again.


How to Practice Non-Judgment
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How to Stop Judging Yourself

It may not be pretty, but unless you are a narcissist, you probably do a fair amount of judging yourself. I had a client who wanted to turn this around. We used the following technique to change an internal habit, creating desired results. Every morning, she would place a handful of coins in the left pocket of her pants. Each time she caught herself thinking or saying anything negative or judgmental, she would place one coin into the other pocket. In the first few weeks, the empty pocket accumulating coins quickly. However, rather than instigating shame, she would silently say to herself; “I forgive myself for having that judgmental thought”. As her awareness and forgiveness increased, she reframed her judgment into kind perspectives and positive statements instead.

It’s my belief that gently forgiving ourselves when we notice we are criticizing or judging ourselves is the most powerful first step. The more practiced we become at forgiving ourselves for being judgmental, the easier it is to be loving, kind, joyful, appreciative and compassionate. Self-compassion is true self-care. This transfers to others as well.

“Compassion is the fountain of forgiveness.” – Unknown

Cultivating Gratitude and Joy

A simple and effective method for reducing judgment is to deepen gratitude. It’s impossible for the mind to think two opposing thoughts at the same time. Therefore, the more focus one is on gratitude and appreciation, the less attention is given to criticism and judgment. Like the client who replaced a judgment with ‘I’m sorry’ and a positive statement, we can course-correct by putting attention on what brings us joy or appreciation. A daily practice of acknowledging all that we are grateful for is maintenance in keeping judgment at bay. However, when you fall into the cavern of criticism, take 5 minutes, paper and pen, and write EVERYTHING down that you are grateful for. Keep listing until the timer has gone off. This practice will quickly lift you out of self-destructing, low-vibration thoughts and energy into a happier, lighter frequency, gaining a healthier perspective. If you’re so inclined to take this another step further, choose one of the items off your list. Then write down everything you love and appreciate about that one item for another 5 minutes. This 10 minute activity increases your ‘joy factor’ and most likely will spiral into many areas of your life. With consistent practice, gratitude and joy becomes automatic and a natural way of being.
“It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful.” – Anonymous

Moving from Judgement to Compassion

Although there is an extreme between being judgmental and being compassionate which may appear vast and far reaching, the meditation provided below is a good place to start. This meditation reading offers the recognition that all human beings experience happiness, suffering, health, illness, love, loss, well-being and despair. These extremes vary in length, depth and breadth, a perception if you observe this in others. Likewise, if you reflect on your own life, you can soften into self-compassion.

Loving Kindness, a modified version
Breath In … Breath Out …
Bring a person to mind

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness for her/his/their life”.

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in her/his/their life”.

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair”.

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is seeking to fulfill her/his/their needs”.

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is learning about life”.

“Compassion is a state of constant giving of the self for others.” – Unknown

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati

Coach | Motivational Speaker | Mentor


Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati, founder of BeWell Retreats has been a key player in the evolution of wellness since 1986. Her dedication to this field has included creating corporate wellness cultures, opening several yoga studios, providing health and life coaching for individuals, and leading worldwide retreats. The foundation of her work is to empower the individual toward greater health and well-being through lifestyle, mindset, movement and meditation. You can experience all of this and more through her virtual retreats and classes at BeWellRetreats.com


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