How to Be Non-Judgmental

by Tammy Strobel on January 3, 2011

Tears. Shame. Disbelief. Embarrassment. Pain. Sadness. Judgment.

I spent over ten years working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The emotions I listed above, were just some of the many feelings victims had to deal with every day. In addition to dealing with all of these emotions, a lot of the women I worked with told me they felt judged by society, friends, and family members.

They would hear things like:

Why did you stay with him? Why didn’t you leave? Why were you out so late? Why didn’t you wear something more conservative?

Why indeed? Why would anyone in their right mind ask a victim of violence any of those questions? The questions are full of blame. It’s no wonder victims of violence feel so judged by society, friends, and family members.

After years of working as a peer counselor, I’ve realized that an incredible number of people walk around with hidden traumas. And despite intense psychological injuries people tend to judge others for trivial things. It’s important to remember that we’re all human; people who are seeking love, acceptance, understanding, and are juggling incredibly complex lives.

So why is it so easy to jump on the judgment bandwagon? In many ways, it’s a whole lot easier to judge others, than to take a hard look at your own life. It’s the easy way out. Judging people doesn’t require intense self-examination or compassion.

And where does judgment really get us? Does it make us happier or healthier? I don’t think so.

Whether we like it or not, we all have biases and judgments (including me). But it is possible to overcome those biases with a lot of work and self-reflection. Below are some of the strategies I’ve used to overcome my own judgments and preconceived notions.

1. Make time to reflect and write.

Make a list of all your biases and judgments. Write all of it down, even the nasty ugly stuff. Then look at your list and start asking yourself hard questions, like:

  • Why do I feel that way?
  • Am I projecting my own viewpoint, or being compassionate?
  • How can I move past this judgment, toward a behavior that is positive?

By doing this exercise, I’ve been able to identify why I’ve developed certain judgments about people over the years. Understanding why I feel a certain why has helped me change negative behavior patterns and perceptions.

2. Start practicing compassion.

This might seem silly, but remember the old adage you heard as a kid?

“Treat others like you want to be treated.”

Every time old judgments start to creep up, remember that phrase. Would you want someone secretly judging your actions, before they really got to know you? Probably not.

3. Be open to alternative points of view.

When I was in college, I thought my way was the only way; especially when it came to political viewpoints. Now, I’ve changed my tune. I actually listen to my friends and family members who have different opinions from my own. By talking less and listening more, I’ve shoved a lot of my preconceived judgments out the door.

4. Get your volunteer groove on.

If you are a long time reader, you know that I’m a huge proponent of volunteer work. Volunteering is one way to build community, work with a broad range of people, and overcome biases and judgments.

And if you’ve downsized your life and have extra time on your hands, it’s essential to get involved in your community. Use your extra time to help organizations in need or help out friends with upcoming projects!

Make sure you set aside a block of your time every week and get your volunteer groove on.

Not sure where to volunteer? Check out Volunteer Match. It’s a great place to get started.

Now it’s your turn: How do you deal with judgments and biases? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

1 BrownThumbMama January 3, 2011

Tammy, you are absolutely right. So many people make snap judgements just by looking at someone.

My parents are both physically disabled, with no mental or speech impediments whatsoever. Yet when I was a child, people would ask me questions to ask them. *News Flash!* Yes they’re sitting in a wheelchair, and they can still think, talk, and respond intelligently. In fact, they’re both highly educated and there’s no reason to speak to them like children.

It made me mad when I was a kid, and they always took it in stride. Their grace in these situations reminds me not to make assumptions about people I meet. We don’t know the whole story!

2 David Damron January 3, 2011

Hey Tammy-

A few years back, I turned to trying to be more positive. The first step I took was to stop judging others.

My approach is to set the bar on the ground. That way, I am only impressed by what others do then be disappointed.

Hope that may be a good start suggestion for your readers.

David Damron
LifeExcursion

3 Brian January 3, 2011

Thanks for the post! This was one of my new year resolutions. I’ve already caught myself a few times lapsing into the judgmental space. You’re definitely right about it being the easy way out.

Its a tough habit to break but I think the world would be a much better place if we could all be conscious of it

Thanks again!

4 Chris O'Byrne January 3, 2011

I found it was easier to judge others less than to stop judging myself. The problem was that I kept telling myself that no, I really did love and accept myself. I wasn’t judging myself, how silly. But then I did an exercise of looking at all of the ways I tried to impress people, even a little. I came up with a big list and realized that a huge part of what I was doing was partly or wholly to impress others. So then I judged myself for that! I finally just broke down crying and admitted every ugly truth to myself. And it was then that I saw how beautiful I and everyone else is. Despite our so-called ugly truths. Because of them. We’re human, we’re alive, we’re love, we’re beautiful. (I’m not sure where all of that just came from, by the way. I just felt the urge to write and it came out before I could filter it.) Whew!

Tammy, thank you for your truth.

5 Brigitte January 3, 2011

What a wonderful post! Letting go of judgment has been a struggle for me. On one hand, I aim to approach people and situations with empathy — always. I’ve let go of grudges and simply started believing that everyone is allowed to live their life on their standards.

But I’m also one of those people who wants the world to be better. Particularly in the U.S., there is an attitude that “we’re the best, so we’re done.” I reject that attitude. So I tend to be judgmental on a philosophical scale. However, everything political is personal, no? So I realize this is an area for growth.

6 Matt Picio January 3, 2011

Thanks Tammy, great post!

In my case, I’d add “Self Acceptance”. like love, acceptance starts within. If you can’t love, respect, honor or accept yourself, it’s far more difficult to do the same for others. Be willing to make your own mistakes, accept them, and move on. (if your mistakes hurt someone else, you should accept responsibility and make amends where possible, but after that, accept them and move on) It’s easy to put this into words, but somewhat more difficult for many of us to put into practice. But that’s ok too. Everything worthwhile requires a bit of effort to do well.

7 Deb - Life Beyond Stuff January 3, 2011

Thank you, thank you, thank you…..thank you for turning your comments back on! I know they can be a pain and they must take an inordinate amount of time to moderate but I really enjoy your blog and I find that I just don’t have the same connection with the blogs that don’t have comments. It’s like they lose their mojo for me. They lose the special connection between writer and reader that makes a blog special. Without them blogs just become a soap box or a marketing tool and I find I lose interest.

8 Sheila January 3, 2011

First of all, as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I want to thank you for the energy you gave to helping abuse survivors ~ it truly does help heal & change the world. :-)

I myself, found that I was less judgemental of people after I hit a rock-bottom, emotionally devastating period of my life – one in which a lot of my assumptions about myself and others were essentially destroyed. Once I found my way back to a better place, I found myself to be a much more compassionate, empathetic person. I often remind myself that none of us have any idea of what a person is living at the time, or what guides their decisions or choices. Often, if we knew their stories, we would be devastated to know the pain they might be living.

Regardless, do I still find myself making harsh judgements? Hell yes. I still can’t understand, forgive or not make judgements of those who are blantantly & obviously cruel and unkind in this world. Is this wrong? I’m not so sure. Part of me feels that it’s our responsibility to make judgements and challenge people/actions/institutions/societal norms that cause pain in the world. Isn’t there two sides of the “judgement” coin here?

9 Tammy January 3, 2011

@Sheila – First, thank you so much for sharing a small part of your story. :)

Second, I agree there are two sides of the “judgement coin.” Of course it’s important to challenge people, question societal norms and the status quo. But isn’t it possible to do so in a way that promotes dialogue and debate?

Thanks so much for reading Sheila. :)

10 Jess January 3, 2011

Hi Tammy and Shiela – this is a fantastic post! I am also a survivor of abuse, as is my sister and mother. Like Shiela, I have also become far less judgemental after going through some of the things I have endured, and working my way to the other side. You have no idea what people have endured, experience, how they were raised, what they think and you need to be open-minded to deal with people. I am happy to see that I already follow your four steps, but can always work to improve!

I was also a victim of judgmental friends. Two of my closest friends judged me as I was going through my journey of stress and emotion from my past and a hectic present a few years ago. How they treated me was horrible and although happened nearly 3 1/2 years ago, I still struggle with the after affects every day. I have always thought that one of the reasons this happened was because they were unable to practice compassion, be open and self-reflect. It is comforting to see a professional outline some of these things, and I think I can use this to finally find some peace.

I also agree that there should be challenge, openness and debate. One of the other problems I have experienced, and we all have, is passive aggressive behaviour. The friends (above) pruposefully ignored me, teased me and were generally unpleasant. I eventually asked them what was wrong, to open debate and get a resolution. But, this only caused more problems. I think how people communicate, what makes them comfortable or uncomfortable, their own insecurities and ability to be open/debate also needs consideration – albeit hard to deal with for someone like me who thrives on verbal/written communication. It is something we all need to consider.

Many thanks, Tammy!

11 Sheila January 3, 2011

Tammy & Jess ~
I think you’re both right, that promotion of dialoque and debate is the key here. I guess the difference I was mentioning is related to how we make judgements (because I don’t think making judgements in and of itself is necessarily wrong/bad). Do we attach condemnation or blame to a person, or do we simply make a judgement about some subject/condition based upon fact? With the first example, you’re being judgemental in a nasty way. With the latter, you’re observing and can choose to open up a challenge/debate/examination with others about it (of course, without attaching judgement to a person directly).

Not sure if I can really explain what I’m thinking here, because I’m still trying to work it out myself. It’s hard for me to tell if I’m being one or the other sometimes, especially with things or people that are triggers for me. Regardless, thanks for taking the time to respond. I think it would be worth my effort to reflect on the items in your post to help me work through these questions.

Thanks for a(nother) thought-provoking post Tammy.

12 Sandy January 3, 2011

Worthwhile and inspiring as always!

I just wanted to add that your example of blaming the victim has within it more than just judgment. I’ve long believed that the deepest human fear is that of our own vulnerability, and that most (if not all) evil we do to ourselves or others stem from avoidance of that reality – from over-consumption all the way up to international arms race, etc… When we blame victims, I think we are subconsciously grasping for something they did that we (or our friends, family, etc.) don’t/would never do so that we can say to ourselves that “X” couldn’t happen to me/them – that we’re not vulnerable in that way. Accepting our own vulnerability can take a lifetime to work out – but it’s worth it.

Thanks again for what you do!

13 Lisa January 3, 2011

This was a great post and is sure to be helpful for all of us. Thank you! I learned a lesson about being judgmental after being on the receiving end of it several years ago after being financially and emotionally victimized. Since then, my awareness of my own attitudes towards others have come sharply into focus. The one thing I would add to your list is to avoid gossip…neither speak it or listen to it. It’s just another form of passing judgement on people. It’s hurtful, mean- spririted, and a complete waste of time and energy.

14 Alyx Falkner January 3, 2011

I think this is so true. Many people judge others because it doesn’t take looking into a mirror. However if more of us took the approach that each person is a reflection of ourselves, in one way or another, there would be less judgmental condemnation. I think with my life and religious shifts, it has become easier for me to be less judgmental because I have grasped the concept that many different people (with different ethnicities, religions, backgrounds, etc) make up the human race. And we all are part of the same cycle.

15 Debbie M January 3, 2011

I think a lot of things that come off as judgments of victims are really protective. We are trying to convince ourselves that this horrible thing could never happen to us because we would have … left, come back earlier, dressed more conservatively (fill in things that seem easy for us here). So the problem is that our questions are really about ourselves–how can I convince myself that in your situation I would have been alright? We don’t like a scary world; we like a safe one. (Obviously, asking these profoundly self-serving questions to victims in their time of need is impolite at best, but I suspect people are being too self-centered to even notice that they are hurting someone.)

As to your actual question, I really have only one strategy for dealing with my judgments and biases. That’s to try to figure out what they are so I make sure I don’t act on them. I don’t think we can help having judgments, at least not snap judgments. Sometimes a judgment is based on things you don’t see (like someone is making you feel creepy) and it’s best not to second-guess them, but when I see a pattern of myself applying the same judgment in several situations, especially when I later find that I was wrong, that’s a sign that there may be a bias I should try to ignore or get around or work through somehow.

My mother gave me a helpful piece of advice, too, (or I guess a philosophy): everyone is always doing the best they can at the time. Their best may not be very good sometimes, and it may be better at some times than others, but no one is deliberately trying to screw up or be horrible for no reason.

16 Sue January 3, 2011

Hi Tammy,

Thank you for writing such an excellent post. I’d also like to point out that a lot of the comments and views arising out the “law of attraction” and “we create our own reality” philosophy/ideology are also incredibly judgmental, disrespectful, and a form of victim blaming. (I’ve heard some dreadfully thoughtless comments made with respect to victims of tsunamis, flooding, earthquakes, along the lines of “Oh well they resonated with that kind of energy so they attracted their suffering” and other such nonsense. )

I’d also like to respectfully point out that we need to be aware of the difference between being non-judgmental of individuals’ circumstances and failing to be discerning enough about evaluating the content and tone of the information and comments we take in from various sources of media and publications. If we hear about or read something that strikes us as being judgmental, victim-blaming, or discriminatory we we need to have the courage to call it for what it is and respectfully point out or educate the source on the hurtfulness of the comments. Chris Hedges gave an incredible talk a while back on what happens when societies go too far in their tolerance of intolerance. It’s worth listening to.

Best wishes for a wonderful year ahead.

17 Jo@simplybeingmum January 3, 2011

Working in the not for profit sector myself I can 100% confirm the benefits of volunteering not only to the organization but to the volunteer. I would wholly recommend it. Even the smallest donation of time can make a huge difference.

18 Christine January 3, 2011

Sometimes judgment is good. As a society, on the whole, I think that we do not do enough judging. We defer our judgments to things like the criminal court. If your friend is cheating on his wife and you abhor the behavior, do you judge? Do you continue to be friends with him? Wouldn’t our society really be better off if we all walked the walk (i.e., maintained associations with those whose character and standards of behavior live up ours) rather than saying things like, that’s none of my business. Isn’t social censure a valuable and legitimate method of ensuring that basic civilities are maintained?

I’m not talking about victim blaming here. I am talking about offender blaming. Sometimes our society is far too willing to overlook behavior that is simply demonstrative of really, really poor character if the possessor is pretty enough, wealthy enough, or athletic enough. Michael Vick, Mel Gibson, & Paris Hilton, I’m looking at you. I think that is sad, really.

19 David Cain January 3, 2011

Hi Tammy. Thanks for posting this. It’s is a topic I think about a lot.

I’ve spent a long time breaking down my thoughts and habits and I still find that my tendency to judge is probably one of my greatest impediments to being happy. Even if I don’t express my judgments it still upsets my mood and takes over my mind. There’s an unhealthy, low-brow kind of high I get out of it, and it’s addictive. It’s like a kind of mental junk food — it feels good in a crappy sort of way.

The way I deal with it now is to recognize how it feels to judge… there’s a certain emotional quality that comes with it and now it kind of triggers red flag in my mind. The giveaway is whenever I notice I’m _justifying contempt for somebody_ in my mind, that’s how I know I’m losing myself in judgment again. Most of the time I recognize it a second after the judging thoughts happen, but a second before I open my mouth. Most of the time :)

20 Masa January 3, 2011

Hi Tammy,

Thanks for sharing your ways of overcoming judgmental attitudes. I agree with what you write here, and I think there’s something important to note in this part -

“Why indeed? Why would anyone in their right mind ask a victim of violence any of those questions? The questions are full of blame. It’s no wonder victims of violence feel so judged by society, friends, and family members.”

It’s probably the case that people who ask those questions do assume something nasty about victims and have their own answers already. However, I don’t agree that those questions themselves are necessarily full of blame. It’s contexts, assumptions and intentions behind those questions that make those questions loaded with blame, I believe. (i.e. wrong context to ask a certain question, assuming something bad about others, and intention of blaming them)

When it comes to dealing with judgments and biases, I’m particularly wary of assumptions I might have about others. When there’s something I’m curious about others, I ask them about it. It’s the easiest way to clarify potential assumptions. The secret is to ask that question without assuming anything. That attitude will help.

In some cases, by the way, I make nice assumptions about others – that’s a way to be judgmental, but I don’t think it’s a bad kind of being judgmental. If we naturally and habitually make assumptions about others, why not making some nice assumptions? That’s one way to do something about judgments and biases too.

With people making judgments about me – I don’t care much about them. It was helpful to live in Australia as a Japanese guy and it was like getting some training in dealing with judgments and biases based on cultural ignorance (though it’s rare to meet those with malicious intention in Australia). That’s another good way to deal with judgments and assumptions, by the way – put yourself in such an environment where you get judged by others. If you know what it’s like to be judged by others, I believe it will make you want to be less judgmental.

Cheers,
Masa

21 Jane Rochelle January 3, 2011

I think that one amazing thing about making judgmental statements, even if they’re only in jest, is that we never know, will never be able to comprehend the damage they can do. Sometimes I say something, only kidding, and realize later that if someone had said that to me I would’ve internalized it (while maintaining a smile) and carried it with me for a long time…allowing it to color my decisions, my judgement, and my self-esteem. Life is hard, and I believe we’re each doing the best we can every day with what we’ve got. My heart breaks when I hear such a comment, and see the victim smile her way through it.

22 Luinae January 3, 2011

This is a really excellent piece! Especially with cases of abuse (it happened to a friend of mine), it is NEVER the man/woman’s fault who is getting abused. And then getting judged for it must be an absolutely horrible situation.

And Debbie M, my mother says the same thing! She didn’t have the greatest childhood, but she always said that her parents did the best they could have at that time.

For dealing with judgments, I try not to let them influence my decisions or actions. I think judging or making assumptions is a human instinct, and it does happen. But there’s a difference between noticing that someone has tattoos and maybe not liking the tattoos, and noticing that someone has tattoos and then not hiring them.

23 Marnie January 3, 2011

I still have to stop myself sometimes from saying something judgemental. I make an effort to ask myself 3 questions before I speak

1. Is it necessary to say?
2. Is it kind to say?
3. Is it true?

Has to meet all 3 to pass. However, it’s a work in progress with me.

24 Sally Renee January 4, 2011

Hi Marnie, what fantastic questions!

In the past I’ve often spoken the truth when it was neither necessary or kind. Over time I’ve developed a small amount of tact but these questions will help enormously.

Tammy, thanks for your post, fantastic reading as always. Being non-judgemental is something I aspire to but do find that I’ve lost some of my own opinions in the process. How do you sit across from a pregnant woman who admits to drinking alcohol or smoking without being judgemental? Keeping your opinions to yourself and being non-judgemental are two entirely different things and in a situation like that I would find it very difficult to be non-judgemental.

25 Frank January 3, 2011

Great Post Tammy,

In addition to the thoughtless and hurtful judgments that people make, sometimes others also hurt victims without intending to do so.

I think that this happens is because many people feel compelled to come up with an explanation for what happened. Years ago I used to do this, never meaning to hurt anyone, but many times it did. I finally learned that sometimes the best thing to do is resist that urge and just simply say ” I am so sorry for what has happened to you and the pain that you must be feeling”.

It is non-judgmental, and it conveys empathy for the person who is suffering.
This approach has always worked for me.

26 Rebecca R. January 3, 2011

Tammy,
Lovely post! Working with mothers and children at the poverty level, I’ve seen that the middle class really has no clue as to how privileged they really are, and don’t realize what struggles people face daily. Sort of off topic, I’ve worked with moms and dads that had children with some type of disability. I had a mom who was a co-worker whose child had down’s syndrome, and she said when her little girl was born, people never congratulated her and her husband when they found out about her syndrome, just said, “I’m sorry.” I’ve always felt that that must have been absolutely horrible, since I believe every child is a blessing no matter what! From then on, I always made sure that I congratulated parents on their babies and told them how cute they were–because they were all cute! I also agree that to open your mind, you should volunteer.
Thanks, Rebecca R.

27 Jo@simplybeingmum January 4, 2011

If you are ever in doubt as to whether you are passing judgement either in your own mind, or whether you are vocalising it to someone. Ask yourself, how would I feel about myself if the person knew what I was thinking or what I was saying about them? Would I be happy with myself that they knew I thought that of them?

28 Jef Tobias January 4, 2011

Hi Tammy,
Thanks for the article. I’ve found that recognizing that we are all inter-connected – like a grove of trees, we /appear/ to be individuals but we are connected by the same root system – and that judging or condemning another is harming everyone is a key to seeing and accepting people for who they are. Doesn’t mean we have to accept their choices or actions – but that’s in the past and clinging to past behavior is poison. After reading the Tao Te Ching and studying Taoism and the idea that the universe is in balance and /there is no/ “good” or “bad,” I have a whole new perspective. Some choices are beneficial to me, some are not…that doesn’t say anything about their relative “goodness,” and some choices some folks make may actually lead to situations or circumstances from which they /need/ to learn. Perspective, perspective, perspective…that makes all the difference in the world. I tell people that I cannot classify something as “good” or “bad” because I don’t have the correct perspective to do so…none of us do, though we all think we do at times. Thanks again for a wonderful post!

29 Sara R. January 4, 2011

I’m so happy to see this post today. It is one of my birthday resolutions this year to unlearn my critical and judgmental sides. After years of letting those voices run rampant, turning them off is pretty tough. Thanks for the great advice (and I love your blog).

sara

30 Erika H. January 4, 2011

Thanks for the great post!

I’ve found point 3 to be extremely liberating. It’s amazing what can happen when you open your mind and really LISTEN to people’s ideas! It’s honestly been one of the most life changing things for me!

31 Cristhyano January 4, 2011

Hey, i’m from Brazil and really like your blog and ideas. Right now i watched a documentary called “Collapse” with Michael Ruppert and it’s about the end of the petroil and the collapse of the industrial civilization. It tells a lot about local food and survival. Since you’re into small living, sustainability, local food and local comunnities i recommend you to watch it. Very eye opening. Cheers and keep the good work.

32 Brenda January 4, 2011

Hi Tammy,

Great article. My favorite line was “Judging people doesn’t require intense self-examination or compassion.” Compassion and self-reflection are two things many of us lack today. As a woman who’s seen what domestic violence does to woman, men (yes men are also victims of domestic violence), and children I find it very difficult to be compassionate towards the aggressor. So fostering compassion is really really hard and if it wasn’t for meditation I would be a very angry person. Instead I send thoughts into the universe that the aggressor find happiness and is removed from the environment that makes him or her violent.

Last but not least, it’s easy to see when we are judging others, but what about judgment and harmful criticism towards oneself. That in itself is just as bad, and only gets in the way of finding our own true happiness. So for me fostering compassion for my own self is just as important as fostering compassion for others.

All the best,
Brenda

33 Tiffany January 4, 2011

Good post. I think that I am quick to judge, and it is something I am really working on. I think that judging mainly serves to create barriers to separate yourself from behaviors/actions/lifestyles that you don’t want to adopt. In the end, those barriers only prevent you from growing.

I do have to wonder…at what point is judgment warranted? I grew up with a mother who allowed me to be abused, who married a man who hit me, and told me that I was ruining her relationship. She chose an abusive man over her daughter. I judge her for that. Big time. I can honestly say that I will never do that to my kids. Never. At what point is judgment allowed and warranted? It’s a tricky thing.

34 Lindsay January 5, 2011

We ALL make judgments the moments we lay eyes on another human being — that’s just human nature. But we can CHOOSE to see the world with a filter of love. Instead of judging harshly, look upon your fellow woman (or man) with compassion and love. You just never really know someone’s life story until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

35 Frank January 5, 2011

very nice perspective

36 Vanessa January 6, 2011

Loved this! I’ve been thinking about how judgment and non-constructive criticism really puts a dent in our human relationships. I love how you mentioned the golden rule. I just wrote about my commitment to embody this rule as much as possible this year (and beyond.) I think you’re points are spot on. I just started volunteering at my local museum a couple of months ago and so far the experience has been very rewarding.

37 John Kuypers January 6, 2011

Tammy, you’ve touched a nerve with a lot of people and I’m happy for everyone affected by you. This topic has totally changed my life, to the point that I wrote an entire book only on non-judgment. Anyone interested can go to http://www.nonjudgmentalchristian.com to see another take on this topic. Miracles really do happen when a person fully embraces non-judgment.

blessings,

John Kuypers

38 Laurie January 8, 2011

Tammy, this is beautifully done and so timely for me. I never judge anyone more harshly than I judge myself. Just this past week I got to thinking about friends who are kind to me, and I thought, why can’t I be as kind to myself as they are to me? And that really turned things around. I’ve been making a conscious effort to show myself more compassion, and the lovely thing is that it’s also showing me how to be more compassionate towards everyone else.
Thank you!

39 Adrian February 11, 2011

In a non-judgmental way I remind myself that I am not going to judge and think about something else. I might even do a little dance or shake my head a bit to get the thoughts out and move on to happier thoughts.

40 Anonymous April 8, 2011

Admittedly I didn’t read all of the comments, but I think what a lot of people are trying to say (and I agree) is that it is acceptable to be ‘judgemental’ in and of itself as it is an essential aspect of critical thinking, it’s ‘prejudiced’ thinking that is unacceptable. A lack of educated judgement implies a lack of principle, and judgement and tolerance are not mutually exclusive.

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