It’s difficult to go even a few hours without judging others, for better or for worse. In fact, we often see it as a useful way of ordering people when we meet them. In its crudest form, judging is a tool to show us who to push away and who to pull closer. But what does your reaction to them say about you? How does this impact you? How does this impact how you view your AUDIENCE? Read on to share a revelation that changed my life.
One day, years ago, on my pre-work stroll around the block, I passed a tall vicar walking on his own in the sunshine. He struck me as purposeful and assertive. My snap reaction was subtle, but distinct. “Look at him in his black robes,” I snarled to myself. And then, in a connection that was completely apparent to me in that moment (for, what else would black robes mean?) – “Who does he think he is? He must be completely proud.” I walked past, being careful not to make eye contact and feeling smug that I don’t suffer from pride like him.
My second reaction was more like “ahah!” because I realised I had fallen into a trap. It reminded me to apply an important concept I share with a lot of my clients:
What we see in others says nothing about them and everything about us.
When we judge others, we’re not judging them, not really. How could we, when we often have no information about them? In the instance of my vicar – a complete stranger- I was reacting to something that I assumed about him that resonated with something inside me. It wasn’t his pride I was picking up on, it was my own.
Check it out for yourself – why else could it be that some people really annoy you, when others around find the same person perfectly good company? No matter how much of a pain an individual may be, there’s always someone who can see good in them.
Be careful, this could change your life. Because now, when you get frustrated at someone for being a control freak, you can instead investigate the way in which you’re being a control freak at that moment. If you see someone as hogging a conversation, could it grate on you because there’s a side of you who wants to be the one talking?
Judgment impacts you AND your public speaking!
It’s time to ask yourself a tough question: What does your idea of ‘them’ say about you? So you’ve always felt that your parents don’t listen to you- when did you last give them a really good listening to? Is that senior person in your organisation intimidating you, or is it your insecurity that you need to deal with? Should the person with the loud laugh on the bus really shut up, or do you have something to understand and let out? Is that person in the front row really ignoring your speech or are they tweeting how amazing you are?
How you view others, especially your audience, impacts the way you interact with them. Talking down, talking up, putting on airs, being disingenuous… all leads to less than authentic speaking. Exactly the opposite of what we’re striving towards. Be mindful of the way you view others. Unconditional positive regard (a term coined by psychotherapist Carl Rogers) states:
Unconditional positive regard is not about liking someone. What it means is that you respect the person as a human being and they seem to be doing their best.
I like to say… “People are doing the best they can with what they have.” Having that mindset changes everything.
Putting it into action
- Think of someone, or a group of people who you find frustrating. Write a list of all of the judgments you make about them. Don’t hold back.
- Take a good look at that list and circle all the ones you could possibly take responsibility for.
- Absorb responsibility for these judgments. Notice the shift in your behaviour that happens if you then see them as your qualities, or your discomforts, rather than blaming the other person. Interesting?
- Now take a look at any of the list that weren’t circled. These are the judgments that probably cause you the reaction “No way. That’s definitely her, not me.” Fair enough, that might be part of the truth. And I also know from experience that the strongest adverse reaction in this exercise is often the one that is closest to your real behaviour. For the sake of argument, take this judgement upon yourself and accept, just for a few moments, that it’s true. What is true about it? If you wrote “What frustrates me is that she’s too old” and you’re in your early twenties and feeling, it’s clear that it’s not being too old that’s your problem. But perhaps you have a problem with the idea of getting old, or perhaps you’re secretly uncomfortable about being too young. Investigate it.
- Keep aware of your judgments and next time you judge a passing vicar, use it as a chance to learn something about yourself.
Be careful, if you have a tendency to negatively judge others, you may have a tendency to judge yourself and how you rate as a speaker. Or your fear of how others judge you… Or or or… Yeah the judgment list is endless. But that, dear Ginger ones, is a post for another day altogether. Watch this space.
More information on how to challenge your evil inner vicar?
You betcha! If you’re eager to become a more power filled speaker and less judgmental, Ginger has a multitude of courses just right for you! From freebies to e-courses, books to workshops, jump in to Ginger. Click here for a full list of Ginger courses and resources.
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