judgmentMany of you probably know exactly where I’m headed with this, but it bears writing after watching someone I once respected pass harsh judgment on a number of people this week. It actually affected me physically to hear it. Unfortunately, many of us either witness people being judgmental of others in the business world or are victims of the judgment. Sadly, sometimes it’s respected leaders who are doing the judging.

Thus, here are my thoughts on the proper way to pass judgment on another human being (assuming you are not God):

1. Pick up a mirror and hold it up to your face.

2. Look deeply into your reflection to see how your judgmental emotions look to others, and to understand just exactly what you are expressing. Get a good feel for how ugly it probably is.

3. Ask yourself what your judgment about the other person is really saying about you. Because judging others is always a reflection of something within us: a feeling of inadequacy, insecurity, jealousy, anger, resentment, fear… If you want to be a true leader in your life, this is a critical step. Knowing what toxic emotion or thought form is lying within you and blocking you from true success and fulfillment is the first step toward getting what you really want in your life.

4. Ask, silently, for forgiveness from the person you were just judging, and mean it.

5. Forgive yourself for taking out your own emotions on them. Self-forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do, I have learned, but one of the most important for a truly healthy life and ability to lead others.

6. Do something about the root of your issue. If it’s fear, admit it and figure out where it’s coming from and how you can let it go. If it’s jealousy, get clear on what you want for yourself in your life, and what is blocking you from going after it or receiving it. If it’s anger or resentment, dig deep to unearth the source so you can finally face it and begin to let it go. Whatever it is, take action on it to release it.

It is very easy for us to judge others.

It is much harder to do the work to figure out why we’re doing it and what it means in our life. It is much harder to look at ourselves in the mirror and then do the work on ourselves to be better, happier, more fulfilled humans who have no need or desire to judge others.

Strong leadership requires the more difficult path.

Photo by Symphony of Love on Flickr and originally by Kua Patrick Wai Khong.