Being non-judgemental involves seeing but not evaluating and it can be beneficial to our mental health. If we think about things in a non-judgemental way then we see the facts of a situation rather the looking at the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘should’ and ‘should not’ of situations.
If we use words such as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘worthless’, ‘stupid’ or describe how things should or shouldn’t be then we are thinking in a judgemental way. Judgemental thinking often involves describing by comparing and contrasting. The problems with judgemental thinking are that they often replace facts and can distract from reality. Judgemental thinking often feeds negative emotions and the way we are feeling can have an impact on the way we see things. Judgemental thinking leaves positive judgements in a fragile place because anything judged as good can also be judged as bad.
An example of judgemental thinking could be when someone with an eating disorder looks at food. As someone who has anorexia I may look at a biscuit and think the following thoughts:
“That biscuit looks good, it looks so delicious”
“That biscuit will make me fat”
“It looks unhealthy”
These are judgement thoughts. Instead I could look at the biscuit and say:
“The biscuit is brown”
“The biscuit is round”
“The biscuit has chocolate chips in it”
Many of us judge our emotions. If someone is feeling anger then they may feel that it is a bad and negative emotion and by feeling angry it makes that person feel like they are a bad person or like something is wrong with them. If we take a non-judgemental stance we can see that anger is an emotion, it is not good or bad and experiencing anger does not make someone a bad person, it simply means that they are experiencing anger. By not judging our emotions it means that we are more like to experience the emotion, accept it and let it pass rather than reacting negatively to it.
The first step to non-judgemental thinking is being aware of your judgements, notice when you are thinking judgementally and how often these thoughts happen. It is very likely that you will have so many judgement thoughts that it will be almost impossible to count them all. Practice hard at changing judgement thoughts to non-judgement thoughts by focusing on the facts of the situation at hand. Change your body language to fit a non-judgemental stance., take a deep breath and relax your shoulders. Notice the positive changes after replacing a judgement thought with non-judgemental thinking. Most importantly don’t judge your judging, it is human nature to judge, the importance is on turning these judgements to non-judgements.