As unfortunate as judgment is, I would argue that it is an integral component of contemporary society. We have been conditioned by social hierarchies to make assumptions about unfamiliar individuals based on their exterior appearance, and while I am not attempting to suggest that such conditioning is an excuse, it certainly allows for judgment to be normalized.

How often do you find yourself making unstable assumptions about persons you see in your daily activities? Do you assume their financial status? Their relations with family, friends or a partner? Do you ever categorize strangers are unsafe or unapproachable because of the way they appear? If we are being honest, I think all persons can answer yes to all of the questions I just proposed. I would bet that after being called out on the ways in which we judge strangers you’re feeling rather ashamed, uncomfortable even. This is, in my opinion, a positive sign, as it symbolizes your acknowledgement of your unfair assumptions regarding others.

In one of my university courses regarding 14th century England, a term was mentioned that may be defined as Physiognomy. Physiognomy was the judgment of persons in Medieval England based on their outward appearance and the attempt to determine their class ranking based on such appearance. Despite this term being centuries old, is this not what we still practice today?

Judgment is destructive, hurtful and typically inaccurate, yet we all do it. If you have ever been judged (which I would argue you have), you can attest to the fact that it is insulting and rude, yet even if we are victims of this practice we continue to engage in its harmful consequences daily. Why do we judge? Of this I am unsure, however when I catch myself judging others I make a conscious effort to cease doing so and instead recognize the positive attributes of the person I was formerly judging.

Judging requires negativity, which is something we should all try to rid ourselves from. Try and acknowledge the positive in others and see the difference it makes in your everyday life.

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