Our ideas about right and wrong lead us to a path that feels authentic to our values. But what happens when our ideals are challenged? If someone doesn’t believe as we do? None of us were born to judge; this is a learned response. And one that we can work toward unlearning. Following are a few steps to help:
- First, practice saying, “I could be wrong.” Those four words shift your thoughts. Put simply, you cannot know all there is to know. We have our own perspectives, based upon our place in the world. Others do too.
- “Benefit-of-the-doubt” thinking makes room for another person’s differing opinion or lifestyle. It says, “I may not agree, but I respect you.”
- Observe, but don’t judge. We experience something or someone, and we immediately seek out a label. Instead, sit with your observations. Notice your thoughts. Then release the label.
There will always be strife. The challenge is to find universal truths that connect us. Truths such as the need for security, and to know that we matter. Once we recognize that everything a person does is motivated by their needs and values, we can embrace the fact that others are much more like us than we might think. This helps us step away from judgment. To be nonjudgmental is a hard goal. One humans have struggled with since the beginning of time. Every day is a new chance to unlearn thought processes that do not serve you. You can start anew each day, each moment, with each thought.