Judging people is not just easy, it’s also natural. We come into this world like a blank slate and as we grow up, there are thousands of impressions on this once clean slate. Whatever we perceive, is the function of these impressions or experiences. So whatever happens in front of us, we automatically process it and perceive it in a way that comes most naturally to us. And as a result, we become- judgmental!
Ironically, a lot of people do not share important aspects of their life with people most close to them just because they feel they will be judged, labeled. I read an interesting quote today on a popular social networking site. It said, “If u have curves, u r fat…If u don’t, then u r flat. If u wear make-up u r fake….If u don’t u r a behenji. If u dress up u r a show off…..If u don’t bother, u r a villager. If u say what u think, u r rude….If u say nothing, u have an attitude problem. If u cry sometimes u r a Drama Queen….If u don’t u r emotionless. If u have many guy friends, u r cheap….If u don’t, u r narrow minded. If u stand-up for urself u r disrespectful…If u don’t u r spineless. It’s like you can’t do anything without being labeled, so why bother! Give a damn.” It’s clear that being judged is one of the most feared things in social interactions.
Perhaps that’s why, one of the first few things that we are taught as part of our training in psychology is to not be judgmental towards people. It is often the most repeated but the least accepted thing. Honestly, people want to be non-judgmental and make sincere efforts to do the same. However, they are often confronted by judgments that almost automatically form in their minds and intrude on their interaction with the other person. This is true for everyone, including psychologists. So how can one be more sympathetic, more accepting towards people? This is where the ‘No Judgment’ theory comes in.
The theory postulates that we will not judge others if we understand and accept that their actions are a result of the infinite number of factors that govern their life and anybody else with exactly the same infinite number of factors governing their life would indulge in the same action. Let me simplify now. Say a person x committed an action a, for which he is being judged by others. Now, we have to understand that x has n number of factors influencing his life. These could be from his parents (their attitudes, beliefs, parenting/ disciplining style, etc), genetics, childhood (relationship with parents, attachment styles, habits, introversion/ extraversion, etc), schooling (relationship with peers, teaching style of teachers, academic and extracurricular achievements/ failures, etc), friends (their attitudes, preferences, opinions, etc), romantic relationships (intensity of relationships, degree of closeness, attitude/beliefs of the partner, etc) and countless other personal factors like ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender, choice of profession, etc and even chance factors.
The combination of these ‘infinite factors’ is unique for every individual and can never be the same for any two individuals, not even siblings. These factors, together, make x the person that he is and thus, prone to take the decision that he did and commit the action a. His point of reference comes from his ‘infinite factors’ just like your point of reference come from yours. It is thus, a grave mistake when one believes and/or voices that x shouldn’t have done a because it is not right. That is because a will always be right for x, given his ‘infinite factors’.
Coming to the second part of the theory, it is quite clichéd for people to say that they wouldn’t have done a if they were in the position of x. Not only is it extremely difficult to imagine what it would be like to be in someone else’s position, it is also impossible for it to actually happen. We can never do that because the ‘infinite factors’ are always unique for each individual. And every action committed by any individual is natural in the light of his ‘infinite factors’. This leaves no space for any judgments.
It’s quite simple in a way. You do what you do because of the life that you have been living and I do what I do because of the life that I have been living.