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I Believe in Judgement

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Judgement has always been a concept that has confused me. I understand what it is, but I don't understand the negativity people always associate with it. When people say "Don't judge," I often have to bite back remarks such as "how" or "why not".

I don't want to give the wrong impression. I'm not one known for being rude or stereotyping others. I just think that judging our surroundings is a part of humanity. And for all the people that say they don't judge— I've always thought of that as bullshit. You need to judge. It's how you determine how to react in situations. It's a the categorization and organization of information in your mind.

I'll give an example. It's late— just after midnight. You're taking a shortcut home through an alley when you notice a big guy wearing all black behind you. The guy is walking very quietly and though he makes no outward sign of aggression, can you really say you're completely fine with walking down a dark alley with some stranger? That twinge of fear and caution you'd probably feel is a result of your mind judging the guy. Who knows, he may be the nicest guy on Earth but in a situation like that, your mind instantly waves its red flags. That's a form of judgement; looking at someone with limited information and assuming something about them. No one would tell you not to feel that way about strangers. I had a self-defense class and one of the first things we were taught was to trust our instincts. In a situation like that you can't say, "Well, gee, maybe I'm being too harsh on this guy. Why don't I introduce myself and get to know him better instead of assuming things that may not be true." That's judgement and it's deemed completely okay and useful.

Now some people are probably thinking that when people advise to not judge, they don't mean that. They mean the kind of judging that changes individuals into stereotypes based on some first impression. If you see a girl with a full book bag, don't assume she's a nerd who only cares about school and academics. Don't assume she's someone completely boring because all she does is read, and reading means she's a goody two shoes. I understand the message people are trying to give (there's more to people than you see, etc.) but I still think judgement in itself isn't wrong. It's what people do with that information their minds have gathered. It's okay to privately think of her as a nerd at first glance, but remember that's not all there is to her. Rather than ask people to do the impossible in trying not to judge at all, instead the message should be that there's always more to people than you'd think. Don't make judgements of people a reality. Judgements should be for personal and private use. They should also be open to change.

It's a precarious balance, but one much more rational than not judging altogether. I think judging is really useful and I'm curious to see what other people think. And I'd bet that many if you are judging me right now based on this opinion piece, but that's completely fine with me. :)





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