I've been wanting to put something out about judgement lately to shed light on this quote from the Bible, "Judge not, that ye may not be judged (Matthew 7:1)." Interpreted one way, this implies that "God" is very judgmental (a common theme in Christianity), but, looked at another way, it actually has to do with the mirror effect of Life. When you judge another, you are actually judging yourself, for what you see outside of yourself is just a reflection of what's going on inside of you. Another popular analogy involves the use of a pointed finger with the illustration that when I point my finger at another there are still three fingers pointing back at me.
We live our lives in fear of being judged poorly by others (or God), mainly because we started being judged from a very young age. A lot of it happens when we are enter school and begin being tested, scored, looked at for certain aptitudes, etc. Often times these forms of judgments carry negative outcomes, which guides us in the direction of trying to please others. The trick is that we never really know how others see us, so we try to predict or interpret how we "think" others judge us to be. But we can never really know what's going on in another person's mind. Even if they tell us what they think, that's being filtered through their own fear of being judged.
We have a few key figures in our lives, such as partners, family members, etc., that we think we know so well that we are absolutely sure what they will think of something we do or say. But that person is actually a figment of our imagination based on our past experience with him or her. We see our judgments about him or her instead of who they really are, and we put our self judgements in their mind so that we're seeing a shadow of ourselves in others.
In addition to the key would-be judges in our lives, we also have generic shadow figures that are conglomerates of different segments of society. These shadows represent people of similar or different nationalities, sub-groups, personalities, etc. We craft an identity for them based on our judgments of them and ourselves. "Knowing" how another person sees us, based solely on past experience, gives us the ability to respond accordingly. The response is basically defending ourselves from negative judgment, whether that means we try to better ourselves or we lash out in a defensive manner to protect the ego.
The fear of being judged is so ingrained in us that it's barely noticeable. It's almost like each move we make is instantaneously judged by ourselves and our shadow people. This also explains why God has been seen by many as judgmental. We created God in our image because that's all we knew. We can't see what we don't know, which is why there has to be an element of ourselves in everyone we see. But, rather than debate what God really is, my hope is to shed light on one of the core dysfunctions we share as human beings.
So, "What's the solution to this dysfunctional thinking?" you might wonder. First, know that you are projecting on another when you judge them in any way. If the finger pointing trick makes a good reminder, by all means use it.
Then, when you notice yourself judging, stay out of a "judgement loop" where you judge yourself for being judgmental. That's like beating yourself up for being human. Instead, you can learn a lot about yourself through your judgements of others.
Also, be open to the possibility that you are completely wrong as you examine your judgments about others and how they might be judging you. The end game, so to speak, is the realization that you are completely safe from judgment. Even if a person openly states a negative judgment toward you, they have just told you something about themselves that they haven't realized yet. But that's for them to discover on their own and not your job to point out (unless you feel like an argument). In other words, you're the only one capable of judging yourself and everyone else is just running around judging themselves, too.
Basically, don't take anything personally and don't assume you're right about everything.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine in you),