Before you can deal with judgmental people you must first understand a few facts about them, and about negative criticism.
“Even God doesn’t judge a man till his last days, why should you and I?”– Dale Carnegie
Motivational speaker Dale Carnegie had wise words about judgment. It stings, and there is every reason to discount it.
You may respond to this by asking the obvious question “But how do I deal with the hurt?” Reacting well to judgment is a tall order. It requires you to understand a few truths and develop coping mechanisms.
What makes a person judgmental?
You may wonder how this offensive behavior develops in people, including yourself. One answer is that any judgment reveals more about the person passing it than those they judge.
A person’s judgmental behavior usually points to a characteristic that they cannot tolerate in themselves. If they are an introverted soul who encounters someone extroverted, they may criticize the person for being a show-off.
They may dislike being outgoing and may resent someone else behaving that way. Then, the judgmental person may hate a trait in another person without realizing that they have it themselves.
As an example, Joe may comment that Fred is fatter than before, but Joe is not slim. Joe unwittingly projects his resentment of being fat onto Fred. He does not consider that he shares Fred’s traits.
Envy is a common cause of judgmental behavior. Jack may criticize a wealthy person for being a show-off because he feels his lack. He may resent the achievement and find a fault in his friend so as to mask his inadequacy.
The Truth about Judgmental People
The first is that someone’s opinion of you is not relevant to you. All that matters is how you live your life. Their judgment arises because of their deeply rooted anxieties; they pass these worries to others by judging them.
Then, it is always wise to remember that we judge ourselves. Think about the times we have criticized a person. Our judgments may not have reflected who they are.
As with all habits, correcting the tendency to judge takes time, often a lot of it. Mindsets do not change at once.
10 smart ways to deal with critical and judgmental people
Coping with individuals who cannot rein in their critical remarks is like trying to stop a gushing water stream. You cannot do away with judgmental people, but you can make their presence bearable. Here is how.
1. Ignore those who criticize for the sake of it
There is no need to pay heed to people who issue criticisms because they want to. Since they run off the mouth all the time, they make more enemies than friends. It takes extreme circumstances to cause an attitude change, so they are likely to remain who they are.
It is better to let go of the pain they have inflicted.
2. Practice compassion
A little compassion goes a long way. Remember that it has the most strength where it is the hardest to use. Often, it is the very thing you need to keep negativity in check.
3. Let go of all negativity
During such times, it is better to let go of negativity and just move forward. An unnecessarily critical person stands in the way of you and your goals; embracing the hurt he has caused will help you move faster towards them.
Remember, too; that revenge may not be as sweet as you imagine. It only serves to breed more negativity which is hard to unburden.
4. Do not take it personally
When faced with someone who belittles your weight, height, age or sex, do not take it personally. Detaching yourself from the ill-feeling can be hard, but in truth, most judgmental people criticize everyone around them, especially themselves.
Of course, they may do so without realizing it. Remember that they are the ones with deep-seated issues, not you.
5. Take some lessons from it
Then, remember that not all negative feedback is damaging. Your loved ones may tell you harsh truths because they want the best for you. Bear in mind that constructive criticism can help you grow.
6. Dig below the surface
It is easy to view a judgmental person as evil personified, but remember that you may not know everything that goes on in this person’s mind; they may have a harder life than you, though they will not admit it.
7. Make gratitude an attitude
Gratitude is a concept that you may not embrace when the chips are down, but it can help you manage the sting of harsh words. Each time someone issues a criticism, be thankful for the things you do have. It reminds you are not unworthy.
8. Focus on those who love you
Feeling cynical because of a person’s ignorant, uncalled for remarks is a waste of time. Redirect your energy to people who love you instead. Spend your precious time showing them some appreciation; build a circle of support and comfort.
9. You are no better if you judge
Judging the people who level criticism at you makes you no better than they are. It brings out the worst in yourself.
10. See judgmental people as children
People take some time to accept the things that they do not understand and often respond to them harshly. Their judgment is the fruit of ignorance. Look at them as children who do not know any better.
You need not let judgmental people put up yardsticks for your life. Unraveling the motives behind critical behavior lays the foundation for understanding, and having a bag of coping strategies will help you relate to it as well.