When Is It Ok To Judge And Criticize Others?

Look… judging and criticizing whether you like it or not is part of everyday life. It’s part of the world we live in and it’s not going to disappear any time soon.

It’s part of our human nature to judge and criticize and if you tell me you’ve never criticized or judged someone I don’t believe you.

How many times have you heard someone saying “Don’t you judge and criticize me!” ?

Or maybe you said it to someone.

But what exactly is judging and criticizing?

Is there a difference between them? And more importantly …is it ok to judge and criticize?

Well let’s start with criticism…

Criticism can be positive ( also known as constructive criticism ) or negative.

In constructive criticism you express your opinion ( even if it’s a negative one )  without putting the other person down. You don’t do it with the intention of hurting the other person.

You express criticism in a way that is understandable and beneficial, helpful. You point out the faults but in a way that will help the other improve.

* If the other person has the capacity to receive constructive criticism is another story but for now let’s just pretend it has.

With negative criticism you express, give an opinion, objection, approval or disapproval in a way that will hurt the other person or cause some sort of damage.

It’s focused on the bad side of things, constantly finding fault, constantly putting down, condemning, attacking or insulting someone. Some don’t know what they’re doing but often it’s done with the intention of hurting.

Negative criticism can sometimes be destructive for the other person.

Judging can also be positive or negative

In short…

Judging is forming an opinion good or bad about someone or something based on something or nothing and it’s not always expressed verbally.

Sounds weird?

Let me explain…you can judge a person, a situation, a behavior based on facts, evidence, knowledge, feeling and experience. And you can label that situation, behavior or person being good, bad, beneficial, dangerous, trusty or not, etc. This is a good thing that HELPS you in your everyday life.

And then you have judging as a form of putting others down by making assumptions and expressing opinions based on nothing, on appearances, gossip, lack of knowledge, understanding, with the intention of hurting.

Do you see the difference?

Difference between positive and negative criticism

And now let’s face it… we all at some point in life, intentionally or not, criticized or judged someone in a negative way.

We all judge and criticize to a certain degree. Some more, some less but we all do it.


Be honest. Admit it. You do it too. No one is going to see you. It’s just you and this internet page.

You sit in the subway looking at the people sitting in front of you and you’re judging or criticizing in your mind how they look, the clothes they wear, the color of their hair, the way they talk and so on.

You walk on the street or go in a park and make judgements based on how people appear to you, their actions, how they behave….

And you know what’s crazy? Everyone is judging and criticizing on a daily basis but in the same time everyone says “Don’t judge and criticize me!”

Did you notice it?

Everyone criticizes and judges pretty much everything!

Think about it.

Every day people are criticizing or judging other people, situations, things, books, movies, what you do, what you don’t do, what you wear, eat, where you’re going etc.

You also criticize yourself for the things you do or don’t do, say, not say…

It’s like an automatic thing.

We’re constantly thinking, analyzing and judging in our everyday life, out loud or just in our mind based on our way of understanding the good, the bad, how each of us sees things, our life experiences, how we were raised, our way of being and so on.

Honestly…there are so many kinds of people in this world and so much is happening that it’s hard not to react.

And even if you’re an extremely patient and understanding person there are still going to be moments that will bother you so much that you’ll criticize or judge and that’s ok.

You’re human!

Now imagine how this world would be if we all would realize the impact of our words on ourselves and on others. We can be better right?

Why do people judge/criticize in a negative way? Here are some reasons…

– they don’t know how to talk and express their opinions in a better way

– they feel a sense of entitlement of being superior, they think they know better

– lack…lack of understanding, love, lack of self love, happiness, knowledge

– the environment they were raised and how they were taught to behave

– it’s their job ( some people get paid to criticize others  )

– envy, jealousy

– anger and frustration

– don’t have anything better to do

– to put others down

– they get pleasure from doing it

– to make themselves feel better

– because they are weak, have insecurities, fear

– to manipulate and control others

– they enjoy creating conflicts

– they don’t like you

It would be wise to know some facts if not all facts before criticizing/judging a person or situation.

There is a HUGE difference between criticizing something you don’t know, with the intention to hurt and criticizing something you know for sure with the intention to help, fix or improve.

The key is HOW you do it.

The words you use and your attitude makes the difference.

We can be better people

So when is it ok to criticize?

Remember what I said earlier about constructive criticism? Being helpful? When the intention is to help, improve, overcome, fix some difficulties, problems.

Here are a few tips to help you give criticism in a healthy way. They will pretty much work in any situation if the other person is able to receive criticism.

– Think of your reasons ( why are you criticizing ) and decide what your intention/purpose is

– Is it worth the try? I’m saying this because with some people or situations you will waste your time and energy and nothing will change if they don’t want to make an effort.

– Watch your voice tone, be calm, polite, friendly but straightforward and clear with your intentions

– Discuss the problem, situation and tell exactly why/how it’s bothering you, be specific, give details

– No sugar-coating

– Try to understand the real cause of the problem, situation

– If you can …offer suggestions, ideas, solutions that will actually help, be supportive

– It’s ok to set some boundaries or rules

– Criticize in private if you can

– Make it fun or funny if the relationship allows it ( friends, family ) Sometimes making a funny joke about what bothers you will get the other person’s attention and make them realize it’s not ok.

So what do you do if you receive positive criticism?

People usually feel bad when they are criticized no matter how it’s done. And it’s understandable… nobody likes being told they are not doing something right.

How do you feel when someone is criticizing you? Bad right? You immediately react, you get angry, upset. You take it as a personal attack? All the negative self-doubt kicks in, you might freeze or even get depressed. Cry maybe? Feel embarrassed?

Bottom line… it sucks right?

Now imagine how you would feel if the person giving criticism had the intention to help you improve?

What if something you do hurts the other person in a way? We all make mistakes right?

Some mistakes you might not even be aware of.  So it would not be so bad if someone would pin point them to you and offer some suggestions to improve.

Try this…

When someone is criticizing you don’t react immediately. Just listen!

I know it’s hard but just do it. Put your ego aside. You want to improve right?

Pay attention how it’s done and what their intention is.

Think about what they’re saying… are they right? If it’s true and helpful then be open to accept it and work on improving.

It might really be a chance for you to learn more about yourself and grow personally, professionally or both.

A chance to become a better person and have better relationships.

A word of caution…there are so many people with bad intentions but disguised as good. Trying to fool you with positive criticism when in fact they just try to manipulate and control you. Again…pay attention to their real intent.

How do you receive negative criticism?

You don’t. Seriously! Don’t waste your time with it.

If the criticism has no truth in it or it’s only meant to hurt you in some way just ignore it. I know it’s hard to resist and not get upset especially if you’re more sensitive but if you let it bother you all you’ll do is hurt yourself.

Some things to keep in mind…

It doesn’t matter who you are and what you do!  You can be the best person in the whole world and there are still going to be people criticizing something about you.

Lots of times you’re just expressing some ideas, views, opinions but people will see it as criticism.

Some will even say to speak your mind only to get angry after you do it.

It’s not your fault. It’s just how some people are.

You can’t control what others are going to say. But…you can control your reaction to what they are saying.

Dealing with criticism can actually help you get to know yourself better, grow, improve.

When it comes to constructive criticism not everyone will be receptive to it. The person might not be ready, open or have enough knowledge to understand and accept it.

Stop trying to please everyone. You can’t! You’ll end up hurting yourself more and more.

People don’t change unless they really want to.

Exhale And Enjoy Life it's a moment of joy in a crazy life reminding you to live.

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