One of the habits of happy and intentional people is what I call the habit of being judgment free. Imagine, just for a moment, going through a full day without judging what others say and do. Think about how relaxed and content you would be just by practicing this simple habit of acknowledging the world around you, free of judgment.
I know for many, this may appear like an impossible task. But rest assured, with intent and practice, it can become a habit and a way of life.
Living Judgement Free
My mother had a beautiful tactic for living judgment free. At some point in her life, she made the decision to stop looking for ways to be offended by what others were doing.
Whenever someone would say or do something that align with her actions or beliefs, she would simply smile and say, “Oh, that’s just so and so.” And then she would laugh it off and go on her way. As a result, she was one of the happiest people I knew.
You see, in most cases, the problem isn’t what the world around us is doing, it’s that we’re looking for ways to be offended. We’re seeking out and wasting our energy on the people who think and act differently than we do. A different haircut, slow driver, rainy day, sunny day, weeds in your yard, you name it, if you’re not consciously choosing to be loving then almost anything can offend you.
When someone says or does something that doesn’t align with our values and beliefs, we quickly become offended and defensive. We then believe we MUST defend our position and put the other person in their place. And while this might leave us feeling significant because we spoke our minds, it doesn’t make us happy.
The truth is, in most cases, it only leaves us feeling angry, frustrated, and stressed because the world isn’t behaving the way we think it should.
An intentional life though is one where you look past the small stuff that can drive you crazy. When living intentionally, you refuse to be offended by these things outside of your control. Instead, you invest your energy into thoughts and activities that move you toward a more productive, happy, and peaceful existence.
How to Create the Habit of Being Judgement Free
If you wish to develop the happiness habit of being judgment-free, I have developed a few suggestions to help you create this habit faster. Thus helping you to live a happier more intentional life.
As an added benefit of practicing these steps, you may even find yourself influencing the other person to question their point of view.
1. Stop looking for ways to become offended.
You might not think you are looking for ways to be offended, but I challenge you to at least explore this idea.
Begin by becoming aware of those moments when you’re not responding to others with love and positivity. This small observance will lead you to know when you’re being offended by the beliefs and behaviors of others.
Next refuse to get caught up in your ego’s need to be right. Decide that you will no longer argue with others or get caught up in their negative energy.
Finally, the next time someone says something that doesn’t align with your point of view, simply remind yourself that “That’s just them.” Affirm to yourself that what they believe has nothing to do with you. And even though you disagree with their position, you don’t have to be offended nor is it your responsibility to change theirs.
2. Become curious about how they came to their conclusion.
This step is optional but can lead you to feel peaceful as well as happy.
If you really want to create the habit of living judgment-free, then you need to learn to stop arguing with others and start trying to understand them. The next time someone says something you disagree with, ask them what happened to them that led them to that conclusion. As they talk, just listen.
I find this to be an amazing question.
First of all, it throws them off guard because they are expecting you to either agree with them or argue with them, and you are doing neither.
Second of all, as someone is explaining to you how they came to believe what they believe, they are having to articulate the events that led them to their belief. For many, this is the first time they’ve thought of it from that point of view. So instead of you telling them they are wrong, they are having to reason with themself why they are right.
If you had simply argued with them, they would have clung harder to their side, finding ways to justify their position. Instead, by explaining how they came to their conclusion, they will often begin to question their own beliefs.
3. Greet each day with love and optimism.
My final suggestion to creating the habit of being judgment free I first started applying to my own life when I was 26 years old. At the time I was a car salesman looking for any advantage I could find to sell more cars while also creating loyal customers. In my search, I found an incredible book called The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. I won’t go into the details of the story, but in this extraordinary book, Og provides the reader with 10 ways to not only become a great salesperson but 10 ways to succeed in life.
The first secret he shares is to “Greet each day with love in your heart.” Og suggests that to be successful in any endeavor, one must be authentically judgment free. And to accomplish this, you simply must repeat silently and to yourself the following phrase whenever you are listening to them speak.
The phrase that changed my life was, “I love you.”
I highly suggest that the next time you are with someone you smile and think “I love you.” Without saying a word, your thoughts will be communicated as you practice purely listening to the person you are with free of any judgment.