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How can I stop being so judgmental?

I’m always thinking mean things about people. It doesn’t matter if I’m hanging out with my friends or my family or just watching strangers pass by on the streets. I can’t stop myself from thinking really terrible things. Help me!


Well, babe, there’s a silver lining to this scenario: You already know you’re judging others and that it’s a habit you need to put an end to. According to Sheri Van Dijk, a mental health therapist and author of Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens, becoming aware of when you’re judging others is the first step to ending this behavior.


From now on, whenever you catch yourself judging others, do your best to correct your statements and make them neutral instead of negative. Easier said than done, right? Let’s take a closer look at why we judge others. Usually, it’s an emotional reaction. Maybe we’re fed up with the way our friends are always talking over us. Or maybe you’re critical of a figure-hugging dress a woman is wearing because you’re feeling self-conscious about your own bod.


Instead of calling friends mean names, Sheri explains, we should look for constructive things to say that can help the situation, like, “I’m frustrated that you never let me voice my opinion.” And instead of making rude comments about a stranger’s fashion choice, we should try voicing neutral or positive opinions, like, “I think that dress would look awesome if she would just stand up straight,” or “That style really accentuates her pretty collarbones.”


One thing to remember: Being nonjudgmental doesn’t mean that you can’t express your opinions. It simply means that you’re cutting out all of the negativity. Judging others is very similar to bullying, even if you’re not saying those nasty comments to peoples’ faces. The same goes for the moments when you think those same ugly words, but direct them at your own appearance or behavior. Being kind and constructive will help you become more confident and positive in all areas of your life. Trust me, sweeties, dropping the judgment is a change worth making!


Want more advice from Sheri Van Dijk? Head over to and buy her book, Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens now!

BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 5/14/2011 7:00:00 AM


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