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How to Be Less Critical: 15 Reasons Why You Judge & How to Stop It

Judging other people is easier than judging ourselves, right? However, you should really learn how to be less critical of others for your own happiness.

how to be less critical of others and yourself

Many people find that being critical and judgmental is far simpler and way more fun than making the effort to actually help someone out of a jam. You probably feel the same way. It’s also way more fun to sit around with friends and bitch about others than to discuss global events. But you really should learn how to be less critical and stop judging others and yourself.

From gossiping about what he said and she did, to complaining about neighbors being bad parents for letting their kids watch television at 11 p.m., many people are guilty of being very critical people.

The mindset of critical people

With that being said, a massive change in mentality and lifestyle, as well as surrounding yourself with positive people makes you realize that being critical is simply a way of compensating for your own flaws. 

You might be able to convince yourself that you could somehow tell when someone else’s life was far worse than yours, giving you the power to criticize and let them know that you could do it better.

But talk about making up for one’s shortcomings, eh? [Read: 36 life lessons to instantly transform your life and draw in happiness]

If you slash the horrible habit of gossiping out of your life, you will find that being a brown-noser is no longer as fun as you thought was. The less time you spend being critical of others, the more time you have to focus on yourself and improving your life.

Slicing out gossiping isn’t all that you need to do to live an improved life. However, you can be a much happier person than you are now if you make those changes. Being less judgmental and critical of those you care about certainly plays a role in making you feel much better about yourself and your life choices. [Read: How to be a better person and grow into a kinder human being]

Why are you so critical?

Are you guilty of being overly critical? You probably are, which is why you are reading a feature about how to be less critical. So, let’s explore some possible reasons that you are the way you are. 

1. You don’t feel good enough

Are you a perfectionist? If you are, you might think you’re that way because you want to be your best self. You have to strive for perfection or else you won’t feel good about yourself. [Read: How to build self-esteem and love life with a few simple life changes]

But perfection is an illusion. There is no such thing. What is perfect to you is not perfect for another person. You see, it’s totally subjective. So, when you chase the illusion of perfection, then you will never reach it.

Maybe you are a perfectionist because your parents had very high expectations of you as a child. And perhaps they didn’t praise you enough, so you feel like you have a constant need to be perfect to subconsciously please them. Well, when you project perfectionism on other people, that makes you critical. [Read: 20 glaring signs you have a control freak in you]

2. Pessimistic outlook

Do you look for other people’s flaws before you see their gifts and beauty? If so, that will make you critical.

You might look instinctively for what went wrong before you see what when right. You might complain and complain about how horrible people are.

For example, if someone is successful, you might criticize them because you think they work too hard and don’t have a life. Or if someone is beautiful, you might think all they care about are their looks and that they are vain.

Maybe you were taught to do this in your childhood because that’s what your parents did. If so, then it probably just feels natural for you to do it. You learned the behavior from them because you saw them doing it all the time. [Read: How to be more positive – 24 steps to a happy and dramatic life shift]

3. You are too hard on yourself

The bottom line is this – you are hard on others because you are hard on yourself.

If you love and accept yourself more, then you won’t have unrealistic expectations to live up to. And you won’t hold them for others either. [Read: How to love yourself – The 23 best ways to find self-love and happiness]

How to be less critical towards others

If you want to stop pinpointing others’ shortcomings and start focusing on being a more positive person, here are all the ways you can do that.

1. Empathize

Before criticizing or judging anyone, put yourself in their shoes. There has to be a reason why they’re behaving in a certain manner, and if you can’t come up with plausible reasons why, you shouldn’t judge. 

Everyone has their reasons for doing something. Whether they are pursuing happiness and not caring about what others think, or they are doing something for someone else at their own expense, you don’t have the right to judge, if you don’t know why they’re doing it.

Sure, there are some things that are inherently wrong and don’t need any questioning, such as animal poaching, child trafficking, rape, and other criminal issues, but seriously, how many animal poachers and child traffickers do you have in your inner circle anyway? 

Unless it’s a crime and there’s a clear-cut right side and wrong side, do everyone a favor and stop being so critical of their life choices. [Read: Do narcissists know they are narcissists or do they just lie to themselves?]

2. You’re not the boss of them

Remember that you’re not the boss of them. Nothing gives you the right to be critical of someone or tell someone else that you know better than them. 

Unless you’re the foremost expert in molecular neurobiology, specializing in quantitative particles or something along those lines, you have no right to tell someone that they’re living their life all wrong. Even so, you should only be preaching about issues related to molecular neurobiology, specializing in quantitative particles.

So unless you really know what you’re saying and doing, you truly don’t know any better than the next person, giving you zero right to judge someone else.

Remember that it’s their life to live, not yours and no matter how much you care for this person, being critical isn’t going to get either of you anywhere. [Read: 16 things you need to give up if you want a happier life]

3. Get all the facts first

Before going on an all-out rampage to shove someone off the path that they have chosen to take, get all your facts straight. Most of the time, we are critical and judge people without knowing the whole story. 

For example, Winnie and Natasha were gossiping about Seldon’s girlfriend, claiming that a mutual friend had seen her out and about with another guy.

They bad-mouthed her to the point that everyone within their social circle knew what had happened, and in typical “blind leading the blind” fashion, everyone was outraged at her cheating ass. Little did they know that Seldon and she had already broken up months ago, and the guy she was with was her cousin.

If the snide gossip queens had taken the time and effort to speak to Seldon before declaring war, they could have saved everyone a whole lot of unnecessary drama. All that this situation has done is seal their fates as gossip mongers and tarnish their reputation. [Read: Attention seeking behavior and why some people always go looking for drama]

4. Replace criticism with praise

Another way to be less critical of those around you is to try your level best to replace criticism with praise, or at least try to tone down the brutal truth. There’s no need for you to hurt anyone’s feelings and to bring them down.

Instead of saying, “That dress has too many sequins, and it makes you look like a disco ball”, you should say, “Wow, you’re certainly shining bright like a diamond tonight! I’m glad I won’t lose you on the dance floor.”

It states the facts without being mean, so you don’t have to worry about lying to those you care about just to make them feel better. [Read: How to tell if a friend is toxic and brings unhappiness to your life]

5. Be more positive

Another way to be less critical is to instill positivity in yourself. Before saying something, ask yourself what your statement will do to this person.

If it will bring them down, don’t say it, but if it will lift them up, then go for it.

It is a fact that when you’re happy, you tend to have less nasty things to say about others. The fact that you’re feeling great about yourself will make you feel more inclined to pass on the good vibes through compliments and affirmative statements.

Always opt to lift people up instead of tearing them down. [Read: How to think positive and reprogram your mind to stay positive 24/7]

6. Know the difference between criticism and advice

 It is also very important for you to know the difference between being critical and offering advice to those you care about. 

Being critical is when you inundate someone with all the negatives, without offering them help. Advice, on the other hand, is the same thing, but you make the additional effort to positively support and help the person make things right.

For example, being critical is when you berate your best friend for going back to the guy who cheated on her, and in the process make her feel even lousier about her situation. Being supportive, on the other hand, entails you berating her but giving her advice on how to make it out alive. [Read: 9 ways to master the art of constructive criticism]

7. Be happy with yourself

 Most of the time, people judge and criticize others, because they aren’t happy with their own lives. In a bid to compensate for their inability to control what’s happening to themselves, they channel their energy towards trying to “fix” someone else. 

This is most often seen in directionless people who are unmotivated or unable to make a change themselves.

Always remember that if your life is shitty, there’s no need for you to assume that everyone else’s is too. Work on yourself before trying to meddle in other people’s beeswax. [Read: 34 tips to fall in love with yourself and be a much better you]

8. Realize that there are more important things in the world

Another great tip on how to be less critical of those you care about is to realize that there are more important things in the world than focusing on all the petty stuff. Life’s way too short, so why don’t you just get a life and stop trying to control someone else’s?

Channel your energy towards other things, instead of focusing on what others around you are doing. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to navigate through the incredibly complex maze that is life, and surprise, you’re just as clueless as everyone else. [Read: 16 signs you’re being an attention whore]

9. What are you projecting onto them?

As we said earlier, people who are critical of other people are very often projecting their own insecurities onto other people. Instead of taking a good look in the mirror at yourself, it’s easier to look at others and judge them for what they are doing.

So, if you criticize someone for being rich and spending too much money, maybe it’s because you subconsciously feel like you don’t make enough money and aren’t successful enough yourself. Take a deep look at your insecurities, and you’ll find out why you are critical.

10. You haven’t lived their life

It’s easy to sit back and point out other people’s flaws and how you would do things differently. But you can never know what it is like to live their life. You might not do any better than they are doing. In fact, you could even do worse than them. [Read: How to show empathy and learn to understand someone else’s feelings]

So, hold back the judgment because you don’t know what challenges they have faced in their lives – and what they’re currently going through either.

11. Accept yourself and your flaws

Instead of projecting your own insecurities onto other people and judging them for it, you just need to be more kind to yourself. We all have flaws. It’s okay to have flaws. We’re all human.

So, in order to know how to be less critical of other people, you also need to be less critical of yourself. Everything always starts with you.

If you have negative feelings about others, they might be rooted in jealousy. Just think about it and then you will be more forgiving of people. [Read: Why am I so jealous? The real reasons why and the fastest ways to fix it]

12. Assume people are doing the best they can

Most people don’t try to screw up their own lives. Usually, it’s an accident. But many times, they lack the coping skills to do better.

For example, do you think poor people really want to be poor? Of course not! They’re doing the best they can to put a roof over their head and food on the table.

Most people are probably just struggling along in life. Let’s face it – life is not always fair or even fun. So, if you just assume that people are doing the best they can, that will help you be less critical.

Ultimately, you don’t want someone you care about judging and criticizing what you consider to be sound decisions, right? So, you need to learn how to be less critical of others. Remember that you are the judge and jury of your own life, and the same can be said for those around you.

[Read: Self-loathing – What it is, 25 signs and how to stop hurting yourself]

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Gemma Hsieh
Born in Singapore and raised in Canada to multi-racial parents, Gemma is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the world,...
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