We are all experiencing "information overload" in the modern world since fresh information is available to us every 30 seconds. We categorise the data into groups such as "good," "bad," "unimportant," and more in order to make it simpler and more understandable. Our innate biological urge to form opinions about everyone and everything has been sped up by social media.

However, hasty assessments can give us a pessimistic outlook on life, make it harder to have hope, and even hinder your social support by causing resentments, misunderstandings, and broken relationships. First, let's look at the reasons why individuals criticise others before reading about how to judge slowly and forgive swiftly.

Why Do People Judge Others?

It is believed that everything is based on two basic emotions- love and fear. When we encounter anyone or any situation, we judge them, and then our emotions are elicited accordingly- what we judge as good is loved, what we judge as bad is feared. And what we fear is avoided, discarded and perceived even more negatively.

Hence, making correct perceptions is critical. If we judge incoming information too quickly, we are likely to fall into the trap of confirmation bias, which affects our opportunities to learn something new. When we judge the actions of others too quickly, we increase our chances of looking at them in a negative light, and hence not cherish them.

How To Be Slow In Making Judgements?

1. Practice empathy

If you notice yourself perceiving someone in a negative light, stop yourself and try to practice empathy. Put yourself in others’ shoes, as the cliché says. Put some time and try to objectively think where the person is coming from, what might be the possible reasons behind their behavior, and is there any way this could not be intentional on their part. Chances are, you may make a final judgement which is less negative than the original one, or even be positive.

2. Pull back

Manly, a psychologist, says that when you catch yourself making a snide remark about anyone’s shoes for example, pull yourself back and tell yourself “I am being judgy, I don’t want to do that”. And then, compensate it with a compliment maybe. So, you can actually push yourself a little and compliment their smile or confidence instead. Being judgmental is a habit, which can be, like all other habits, be modified.

3. Self-compassion

Judgments are based on superficial information, and even though they are opinions they are perceived as reality. Also, they are more about you, than the other person, says Brady, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She suggests that when we are more forgiving and compassionate towards self, it becomes easier to be like this with others also. When we are able to practice kindness care towards self, it becomes a way of experiencing external world, and we are able to be kind and caring for others as well.

4. Forgiveness

We all feel wronged by someone – a friend, a colleague, or even our family members. But when we hang on to those negative emotions, it creates harm to our health. But forgiving is not always easy. We can take baby steps to create an internal environment which is forgiving. For that, we first need to be comfortable with it, and that we can do by practicing the act of forgiveness in our daily lives.

For example, if someone replies rudely to you, or cuts you off in traffic, instead of making a negative remark about them, you may try to tell yourselves that it wasn’t directed to you personally, pause the negative feelings and reactions that may come with it, and hence forgive them then and there.

Overall, it is crucial that we educate our thoughts to pause when we find ourselves passing judgement on someone or something and instead to practise empathy, step back, practise self-compassion, and then forgive the other person. These are all potent methods. Remembering that we are the ones who benefit from doing all of these things—having less stress, better relationships, and healthier bodies and minds—is crucial. We are not doing the other person any favours by doing them.