February 3, 2015

Top Reasons to Withhold Judgment

Everyone has an opinion on everything these days. It doesn’t matter if we have the complete, accurate information on a certain subject; we still have a point of view. In addition, many people value their own outlook more than others, even though their view may be based on misguided assumptions or information. Some individuals even continue to assert their opinion despite concrete evidence that their opinion is mistaken--or merely inappropriate in a given situation.

For instance, I have a friend who attends a local church. This is a church in which people are not encouraged to publicly share their challenges.  The atmosphere of the church is reserved and respectful. She says that many people at her church have trials, such as: the recent loss of a spouse; cancer; unemployment; young kids who act up often; or, older kids who make poor lifestyle choices. Yet, these sufferers don’t make public displays of their trials.

Some people might be tempted to judge these traumatized individuals because their challenges aren’t obvious. Disapproving individuals may tell the sufferers that they aren’t doing enough; they aren’t worthy. In reality, the challenged Individuals are probably doing the best they can with limited resources.

In some cases, people may think they know the “correct” method of accomplishing a certain task; but, their listener may not be interested in hearing it at that time. The outlook may be given as a criticism; or, the listener may not be capable and willing to change. Besides, who wants to hear a belittling opinion?

The Need for Respectful Correction (When Appropriate)

We all want to think that our solutions are workable and worthy of respect. If we are truly unaware of the most appropriate option for any given course of action, we want to be gently corrected (if necessary)—not chastised.

For example, I am a member of a writers’ community on social media. It is a close-knit group of authors who support each other through promoting and reviewing other members’ work.  The owner of the community often reminds us that the object of a book review is to nurture the author as far as possible, not to critically point out every minor editing mistake.

Most people are aware, deep down, that they make errors. Yet, few people truly want to have those errors continually pointed out to them; it’s demeaning.

My Conclusion

Our job is to be reserved in handing out judgment, especially when we have insufficient information. Wouldn’t we want others to show us the same consideration? When people want our opinion, they’ll ask for it. Even then, they may only want us to validate their own belief.

In order to finish with a smile, I’ll sign off with this quote:

Enough said!

Do you appreciate it when people keep their opinions to themselves?