Why it’s important to judge others

Oct 12, 2021

Mike Korman

I’m a certified coach therapist supporting and guiding those desiring more compassion and connection to themselves and in their relationships. I weave together nonviolent communication and mindfulness.

Someone I worked with once said to me “I’m scared to share what I really think. My thoughts are too judgmental, even hate-filled, they are unacceptable.”

Have you ever felt like this?

Ashamed of your thoughts? Thoughts about yourself or about another? Wondering why you have so many judgmental thoughts about other people?

Let’s take an example from the world of intimate relationships but this can be applied to any relationship. 

You and your partner go out with friends. You have a few drinks and feel more “free” and begin to talk a bit louder, a bit more freely and generally enjoy yourself. As you say good night to your friends and you and your partner drive home they say to you “you know, I don’t like when you have a bit to drink. You turn into someone who I feel as if I don’t know. Some of the things you said were disrespectful and crude.”


That’s the scene. 


I encourage you to think about a conflict situation in your own life. Any situation in which the other person did or said something that you didn’t want them to. 

When we work with judgmental thoughts the first step is to really let yourself judge!

Usually we do the opposite. When we have thoughts that we think are not “OK” we bottle them up inside us when they really just want expression. 

It’s not only OK to judge others, it’s desirable.

Through our judgments we learn what’s really important to us and what’s not working the way we’d like. 

So start by writing down your thoughts about the other person. Let yourself write your judgments freely, without censoring. 

From our example:

  • You have no right to control me or who I am
  • You’re so sensitive!
  • Everything I do you’ve got a comment to make
  • Stop fucking telling me what to do and who to be!

In the world of Nonviolent Communication every thought or judgment is the tragic expression of an unmet need of ours. In other words, judgments are our unmet needs crying out to be noticed. Our work is to uncover what our unmet needs are underneath our judgments. From there we can start moving towards what we are really wanting instead of remaining in conflict with what we don’t. 

  1. Take one thought – “you have no right to control me or who I am”. Every judgment about another is an expression of what you don’t want. Extract what you don’t want from this judgment starting with the words I don’t want – “I don’t want to be controlled”. 
  2. Flip it and you will get what you do want. What’s the opposite of being controlled for you? Being free? Being in control over yourself? Being authentically you? Choose the words that seem right for you. “I want to be in control over myself and my own actions”
  3. Express this sentence as a need. For example “I’m really needing control over myself. I’m really needing autonomy.” The aim is to narrow in on the essence of what’s important to you here. 
  4. Narrow in even more on what’s important to you by asking yourself: If this will happen (that I’ll have more control over myself/my life) then what will happen? What will that give me? For example, “If I have more control over my actions then I will have more of a sense of autonomy. I will have more of a sense of freedom in regards to my actions and words. I will be more “me” in the world. I will be more free to express myself completely.”


This exercise is all about burrowing down inside to what’s really important to you. Beneath every judgment is something very dear to us. Our work is to find what that is. When we do, our judgments are transformed. They are no longer thoughts that we are ashamed of. They are pointers inside of us to those parts of ourselves that we seldom listen to. 

Then, we reflect on the conversation with the other person and we imagine that as they say “I don’t like it when you drink…” we take a breath and remind ourselves of what’s so dear to us – our autonomy, our freedom of choice and the sense that we are in control of how we show up in the world. 

By doing this we have created a new pathway in our brains and hearts. Instead of automatically yelling at our partner we now have a new path available. We have granted ourselves a little more control, more autonomy, more freedom. All because we let ourselves judge and took a moment to listen to what those judgments are really saying to us.

I’d be really glad to whether this article resonated with you in the comments. 

Mike Korman
I’m a certified coach therapist supporting and guiding those desiring more compassion and connection to themselves and in their relationships. I weave together nonviolent communication and mindfulness.

Reach me directly here...

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