February 16, 2015

Stop Judging and Start Appreciating


Why do bad conversations take place between good people? Too many unfortunate times, it’s because we judge rather than appreciate each other. We analyze, categorize and evaluate other people’s actions as good or bad, right or wrong, smart or foolish.

A colleague, a friend or a family member will tell us they’re stressed and overwhelmed because they have too much on their plate and we’ll judge them by saying: “Why do you always take on too much?” or “Do you always have to be the one in charge of everything?” or “Are you trying to prove something by shouldering the burden?” or “I noticed you often wait until the last minute” or “It’s not in your nature to ask for help” or “Is this something you picked up from your parents when you were a kid?”

When we judge other people, what we’re really saying is: “Why can’t you be, feel, think, talk and act more like me?” We’re also saying: “You should be, feel, think, talk and act like the ideal version of me (because I only aspire to be perfect, I’m not truly perfect).” When we start thinking…”why are they?” or “they should,” red communication flags are warning us that we’re about to judge. Using words like “always” and “never” are also indications that we’re about to create the conditions for conflict and a bad conversation.

If we constantly go through life judging, evaluating, categorizing and analyzing we constrict the flow of energetic exchange with other people and close the gap on connection and possibility. To create open dialogue, we have to approach conversations with an open mind. Here are five ways to stop judging and start appreciating the people in our professional and personal lives:

  1. Value their perspective and manner of seeing/experiencing the world.
  2. Respect their opinion.
  3. Appreciate their approach.
  4. Acknowledge their unique talents and skills.
  5. Be present and curious and actively listen to their point of view.