The Judgment Trap

I really wanted to entitle this article, The Good, the Bad and the Meh… because that is generally how we go about categorizing everything when we are in a judging frame of mind. Are you a judgmental person? How often do you fall into the judgment trap yourself?

When we judge, define, or categorize a thing, a person, an event, or even a situation, it makes us comfortable for some reason. Mostly because once judgment if passed, whatever it is, is now defined, and as humans we are always more comfortable with what we can quantify or qualify.

I mean we all do it, all the time. “Look at that… that’s horrible…” or “Did you see that? What a shame…” How often during your day, do you lump things into the good, the bad, and the meh?

Here is where it becomes problematic and where we fall into the “judgment trap” as I like to call it, especially when it comes to judging other people, whether we know them or not… If you are prone to pass judgment on others, then guess what? You are just as likely to pass judgment on yourself, and more often than not, that judgment in of itself is going to be harsh.

The Bible even urges us to not be judgmental. In the book of Mathew, verse 7-1, it says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” I assert that verse is widely misinterpreted to mean that the more harshly we judge others, that god will judge us in the very same way. I believe the message is much more simple and that is as we judge others, it is also how we judge ourselves, and as I already stated, in an unfavorable light at best.

Being judgmental and constantly judging can result in it being a bad habit and a hard one to break. Let’s face it, we are always more likely to judge something in a negative light than a positive one, and on a daily basis these constant negative thoughts, phrases or utterances enter into our typical internal dialogues. This occurs when we immediately make judgments on situations or people, or things as bad. Worse is when we judge and label ourselves as bad or not worthy, or not capable of doing something. Phrases habitually used such as “I can’t do that,” or “I’ll never get that,” and others similar to that only serve to limit us in our growth and advancement as individuals.

Not everything that we perceive as good is actually good, and not everything that we see as bad is necessarily bad either. Why is it so challenging to just see things as they are, nothing more and nothing less. In other words, what is – is just what is, period.

So today I challenge you that if you can catch yourself passing judgment on anything, anyone, and even yourself, to ask yourself, “Why?” Why did you choose to label something when you might not know the full story, have an understanding of a situation or event, or even know the person you are passing judgment on?

I believe that as severely as we judge other people, we are probably even more condemning of ourselves. As my friend and fellow life coach Katie Smith likes to say, “It’s not nice to talk shit about people, not even yourself,” I think her quote illustrates the judgment trap perfectly.


Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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