Being Called “Judgmental” Can be a Compliment!

For those who insist on calling others whose opinions differ “judgmental,” please look up the word “judgment.” According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definitions that apply to the context of a forum like the one where we see this ‘insult’ are: “an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought”; “the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought: the act of judging something or someone”; and “the ability to make good decisions about what should be done.”

We all use our judgment (an action) countless times a day each and every day. We use it to weigh the pros and cons of situations and to keep us safe from potential danger, whether those dangers be financial, emotional or physical. We evaluate the potential risks of certain behaviors and then make an informed decision on whether that behavior is good or bad. Sometimes this is done through education and/or research, sometimes through observation, sometimes from personal experience, and sometimes a combination of two or more of those elements. Yes, we use it to form opinions, and yes, we all think our own opinions are correct – it’s human nature.

You could use this post as an example of a judgment made by me. Through observation (seeing people being called judgmental for expressing an opinion) and experience (being called judgmental in the past when I was simply forming an opinion based on facts), I felt that the word was being used improperly so I did a little research and then formed my “opinion” after careful thought.

Now, I’ll be proactive here and note that one of the definitions in Webster for the word “judgmental” (a state of being) is “tending to judge people too quickly and critically (or harshly).” There is another way to look at the word “judgmental” that left me feeling like Webster’s dropped the ball on its definition, though.

First let’s look at a different word – “persistent.” Persistence can be a good thing – such as persistence in reaching your goals – or a bad thing. If one was so persistent on dating someone that he became a stalker , that would be bad. So then why, if “persistent” – when used as a state of being – can be used both positively and negatively, can “judgmental” – as a state of being – only be used in a negative tone? Can we not be “judgmental” in a good way? If “judgment” is a good thing, how can being “judgmental” be bad?

My point is, be careful about calling people “judgmental” – it might just be taken as a compliment 😉

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