It is intriguing to consider the differences between an assessment as opposed to a judgement. These are probably an aspect of human nature, a defense mechanism to make a brief assessment about a situation or person, a way of organizing and to navigate the world securely. This making an assessment is fine.
But judgement is different. Judgement tends to be more final; it is a form of labeled compartmentalization. It is sort of like packing up an item, putting it in a box, labeling it, wrapping it with a bow. If it is about another person, this sort of compartmentalization is finalizing, closed. This puts the person in a box; it is an assumption. Assumptions are less effective. There is a general tendency to also put God in a box.
This boxing and labeling is the opposite of one of the rules to effective learning and healthy growth, a state of receptivity. In the book The Power of Intention by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, receptivity has its own specific section in the book. Kudos to Dr. Dyer since receptivity is an excellent addition and such an integral key to growth and awakening. Judgement is arrogant. It isn’t flexible. It doesn’t cultivate the kind of human goodness that believes people can and do change for the better, and that some people really are proactively trying to do so. Part of the human experience is (or should be) the allowance of all people to do just that.
You’ll see as I did that finalizing especially in regards to another individual is usually not ours to do. We never know or understand that person’s complete situation, even though in a quick reasoning or snap judgement it is often assumed that we do; but we don’t. This is why continuing on assumptions is less effective. They are halting, confining instead of flexible and receptive.
There are ways of overcoming this troublesome habit. For example, instead of being threatened by another’s different views, ways or beliefs, you can think of these merely as a perspective that you may not have considered; yet, it is still your choice to accept their view fully and integrate it into your life, or not. You can also choose to respect others with that belief or viewpoint, accepting that it is more than true to them; it is their reality. This is respectful and not arrogant, condescending or haughty.
As far as I understand correctly psychology offers some clues as the Fundamental Attribution Theory: The human tendency to take that one snapshot of another person or situation and run with it, assuming understanding is full and complete. But it is just one snapshot, that moment or situation in which that person was observed.
So brief assessments for a given situation, yes, fine, but judgements and assumptions no. It is essential to be mindful (Buddhist term) of the difference and to briefly assess people and situations, but not label them as forever done for finalization. In short, assessments are not only open, but respectful and humble, (accepting the fact that none of us “ever know the full truth of another)”[I]. Assessments from a state of receptive flow is ideal because the self-correcting nature of humility is naturally part of this state. Instead of a labeled box, it is like a small fountain; still human-made but designed for a purpose, with intent to foster understanding. It’s all about the intent. In essence, we are going with this level of understanding at least temporarily, but it is allowed to move and flow until “we know more because right now we certainly don’t see the whole picture”. The reason religions of the world emphasize the practice of humility is that there is wisdom in doing in it. Even if you are not religious, you can still benefit from the practice of humility, (which nearly all humans need to do, as much as proper diet and exercise).
Whereas judgements, assumptions are arrogant and self-righteous. If you think about it, judgement is really quite high and mighty because it says “even if I had your life I could do it better than you!”
What’s your point? You’d have to trace that individual’s life back to their moment of birth. Only then would you fully understand and if you fully understood you wouldn’t be judging. You would know that you are certainly not in a position to do so. You just took a short cut on how to become the Almighty. If so, please share with me how you did it.
So to the journey of all and the acceptance that everyone is on their own spot in their journey. The combinations are endless, so there is no need to compete or compare. Insead of viewing growth and progression in a flattened dimension with only up or down, it can be multi-dimensional, expansive, like the universe, endless potential, not fully understood.
Thus the importance of learning healthy, effective communication. There is nothing to stress about in that regard since we are all learning and nobody is on the exact same path with the same circumstances.
A Respectful Request
Hayden, J. (2019). Health behavior theory (3rd ed.).