Bret Burchard 01/29/2021
2 Minutes

Judging Others, Judging You

This is Part 5 of a six-part series unpacking how to recognize when you’re performing with an inferior mindset. 

Rejecting other ideas, appeasing other influences, and blaming external factors distract us from objectively evaluating the tools, skills, and obstacles in front of us. They keep us spinning our wheels, playing status games and protecting our ego. These are all clues revealing that we need to upgrade our mindset to make the necessary improvements to perform at our full potential.

Clue #4: You’re judging others and yourself.

A local fitness gym touted their “judgement free environment.” It sounded good reading it on a billboard, but it was a promise they couldn’t guarantee. No one can guarantee a judgement free environment because no one can control it - except you. 

The judging you experience is directly proportional to the judging you do. To the degree you judge others, they judge you. Even when you judge them secretly behind their backs, they seem to find a way to penetrate your psyche, shame your thoughts and influence your behavior. That’s because they aren’t the ones judging you. You are judging yourself. You reflect your judgement of others back onto yourself through them. What bothers you about others is a clue to what you struggle to accept about yourself. 

I would never leave my shopping cart stranded in the parking lot. It is inconsiderate of other's cars.  It’s inconsiderate of the employees responsible for gathering the carts to bring back into the store. No one has the right to make another person’s job harder. Anyone who does this is evil and should be reprimanded. (Except when I do it because I’m in a hurry, it’s raining or I parked too far from a drop off location.)

It sounds noble when I’m preaching from my soapbox, but dig a little deeper and you find an insecurity that my needs are a problem. I feel shame asking for help or being a burden to others, thus expecting everyone else to bear the same responsibility. 

Several years ago I visited a friend for Thanksgiving. His mom is one of the most generous people I have ever been around. I spent all weekend refusing her shower of comforts. 

“No, I’m not thirsty.”

“I ate already.”

“It’s fine, I can sleep on the couch.”

“I don’t need extra blankets. I won’t get cold.”

After a long weekend of politely declining, I was forced to let my guard down. As I pulled out of the driveway for the four-hour drive home my car sputtered and wouldn’t accelerate. I restarted the engine and popped the hood as if I knew what I was looking for. I couldn’t take care of this problem on my own. I needed help.

My friend’s mom offered to call her mechanic friend, fix me breakfast, and even drive me all the way home. I refused it all. Instead, I idled to the nearest shop and waited patiently for them to fix the issue at a hefty expense. About an hour into my wait my friend’s mom walked into the shop with a Starbucks breakfast and a half-hour of company. An offer I couldn’t resist. 

“Don’t help me.”

“My needs are a problem.”

“I won’t be a burden to you.”

“How dare you leave your shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot!”

I’ll spare you the rest of my self-counseling session, assuming you’re connecting the dots by now. After all, I wouldn’t want this article to become a burden for you.

The takeaway is this: The people judging you haven’t made peace with their own shortcomings. That says more about them than it does about you. And the contempt you have for others’ lack of tolerance, discipline, performance, maturity, or humility is likely masking what you can’t yet accept about yourself. 

Pay attention to those irritations and use them to your advantage. They’re revealing a place you can upgrade your mindset and become an unshameable person.unnamed-1


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