Your friend comes up to you at a party and says, “That girl over there is such an idiot!” She could mean:
• The girl humiliated her.
• The girl got a low score on her SATs.
• The girl didn’t get her joke.
• The girl doesn’t share her political views.
• The girl said something that wasn’t factually accurate.
• The girl is dating your friend’s ex-boyfriend.
…and we could go on and on.
Your friend’s statement is a judgment while the bulleted options are facts. We learned in the last post that, while judgment has its place, it can be vague and misleading because it’s a shortcut (for consequence, preference, or standard) that we overuse. Since we’re inundated with judgments we tend to hear them as statements of fact rather than an unclear opinion driven by emotion.
JUDGMENT CHALLENGE: For one day, notice judgments. Practice interpreting other people’s judgments flexibly. Remake your own judgments into facts and notice that not only does your real meaning come across but the emotion is decreased or eliminated. For example, “I’m fat” could be changed to “I weigh 50 lbs more than I want to” or “My doctor is concerned about my health.” More information and less emotion make more room for happiness which – all judgment aside – is a good thing.