If someone harms someone you love, and you make a judgement based on the facts and circumstances as presented to you, are you wrong? If you interpret a person’s words or actions, based on your perceptions and belief systems, and make a judgement, is that ok?
So why do people say it is wrong to make a judgement?
Are there times when it is ok to make a judgement?
As human we make judgements/decisions and have opinions every day. Most we keep to ourselves and sometimes we feel the need to share. So maybe the first question to ask is: what is the difference between a judgement, decision and opinion? Whilst there are many definitions, the following seem to be common:
- An act or instance of judging,
- The ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion,
- The forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind (your perception).
- A conclusion or resolution reached after consideration,
- The ability or tendency to make decisions quickly; decisiveness,
- The act or process of deciding; determination, as of a question or doubt, by making a judgement.
- A view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge,
- A statement of advice by an expert on a professional.
It seems that the words can in some instances be interchanged. That it can be an expert Judgement (Decision) based on fact after deliberation or it can be based on a person’s perception, which we know is not the same for everyone (Judgement/Decision/Opinion). As we have all led different lives, with different experiences.
This starts to form my ‘opinion’ as to when it may be ok to ‘judge’. If we are stating an opinion, making a decision or forming a judgement about ourselves, then isn’t that our choice? However, if we forming an opinion, making a decision or a judgement about someone else then wouldn’t we have to first ask ourselves: Why are we doing this? Do we have all the facts? Is it even our place to say something? Sure we all have opinions about things, but do we have the right to state them out loud or put them in print?
Are we doing this to belittle someone? Make them wrong? Make them feel bad? Or, to point out that their behaviour is different to our own? Then I believe, and only my ‘opinion’, that this is when it is wrong to judge. Particularly if you do not have all the facts, have not asked the relevant questions or have not been asked for your opinion. There is a famous quote: “Everything we judge in others is something we don’t want to face in ourselves”. Maybe before we freely share our opinion, or pass judgement we should take a moment to ponder this statement and see if there is any truth behind it.
However, if you have been asked for an opinion or to make a judgement, then by all means do so, being sure to gather all the facts. And before you say something or put something in print, ask yourself what is the true intent behind your words? Are you holding on to any biases? Have you taken on board someone else’s opinions etc? Or is this a reflection of yourself?
Be aware that once you make a judgement the subconscious mind works with you, and will help find things (your perception and beliefs) to solidify that judgment, which in time can become a belief. This could stop you seeing the real truth and beauty of the person, and you could miss some wonderful opportunities.
The only thing we can do is be aware of our actions and motivations, be honest with ourselves and do the best we can with the resources we have available to us.