Do You Judge Too Quickly?

by Cathy Miller

in Miller Musings, On Everyday Life

We all judge. At times, it seems we cannot help ourselves.

But, what if we tried?

Think about it. We judge even the most inconsequential elements of life.

  • We judge the clothes people wear
  • And the way they do their hair
  • We judge their weight
  • And their plastic surgery outcomes
  • Often, without knowing anything about them

The World Around Us

One of my missions in life is keeping an open mind – not judging too quickly.

Sounds simple, right?

It’s not. It’s probably one of the hardest things I attempt. It is all too easy to slip into the knee-jerk, judgmental response to the world around us.

  • Reality shows teach us how to do onto others before they do unto us
  • We have shows devoted to celebrity gossip, fashion police and “real” housewives
  • And then there is politics, bullying in schools and broken NCAA rules

Is this our reality?

Walk in His Shoes

Let me tell you the inspiration behind this post.

There is a man who sits in front of us in church on Sunday. He sits and stands military straight. He casts an unwelcoming persona. Some parishioners joke about his unfriendly demeanor.

Maybe because I am a writer, I wonder —

What is his story?

This past Sunday, the choir director asked us to remain in church for all four verses of the closing hymn. In honor of Memorial Day, we sang America the Beautiful.

Everyone joined in – except one.

The man in front of us lowered his head and covered his eyes with his hand. It was clear, he was weeping.

  • This unwelcoming man
  • This angry man
  • Was weeping at the sounds of America the Beautiful

Don’t you wonder why?

How do you judge him now?

Just think what the world would be if we tried not to judge too quickly. If we opened our hearts and our minds to the frailty inside us all.



BigStock Photo credit



{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. June 1, 2011 at 7:29 am

Cathy- great post and observations.
I would suggest we bastardize a famous expression:
Judge, but verify!

There is no way we will stop our instantaneous judging. Even if we say we do, our brains are perpetually classifying information for filing and processing. It’s part of our the innate nature of our limbic system- fight or flight is always present. We classify (to avoid the use of the word) items as beneficial, useful, wasteful, dangerous, amusing, etc.

So, spend the next two minutes doing something that requires our higher brains to process. Verify!
Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted..Drama should provoke discussion…My Profile


Cathy June 1, 2011 at 7:41 am

Excellent way of putting it, Roy. I agree that if we can get past that knee-jerk reaction and look beneath (or, as you put it, verify), our judgments could demonstrate more value.

Thanks for the perspective, Roy.


Martha Giffen June 1, 2011 at 9:56 am

If we could only wear someone elses shoes for a day, what a different world it would be! Amazing how judgments do become “knee jerk.” Made with no regard. You have made me aware today so I will try and do better. Thanks!
Martha Giffen recently posted..Are You An Entrepreneur Here’s How To Tell!My Profile


Cathy June 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

Thank you, Martha. I struggle with remembering every day, but I do try to bring out my Pollyanna side more often. :-) Thanks for commenting, Martha.


Carol Ring June 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm


I work with a client group who are often judged very harshly. my experiences have taught me never judge a book by its cover but take a good look inside… You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.


Cathy June 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Hi Carol-it’s a good lesson. We really don’t know what we’ll find until we try. Thanks for stopping by.


Emily Stoik June 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Awww, Cathy…this is so true, isn’t it? So sad how quick we can be to judge the people around us without knowing anything about them or their background… What a great reminder to be patient and loving with people…you just never know for sure what they may be going through at the time!
God bless,
Emily Stoik


Cathy June 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Thank you, Emily for the kind words and the blessing. I appreciate them both. :-)


Greg February 28, 2012 at 4:25 am

Cathy, I think judging comes from either lacking confidence in yourself (and thus you judge others to make you feel better) or from a totally natural thing everybody does – to put new things/people/situations in categories and relate them to the past. Useful in being a good judge of character, but it gets the best of us maybe.

I just imagine that everybody I don’t know is in my family. I judge them sometimes, of course, but in a joking and loving way, which isn’t really so bad I think.


Cathy February 28, 2012 at 5:21 am

Hi Greg: It certainly does seem to be natural to judge. Not so bad as you put it when we verify as Roy puts it :-) instead of dismissing someone for something so inconsequential as the clothes they wear.

I love when my readers come up with better ways to express the idea. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Greg.


Anne Wayman February 11, 2014 at 7:54 am

Good story Cathy… did you ever find out more about him?

Like you I work at being non-judgemental… work at being the operative phrase.

Anne Wayman recently posted..A Truth About Connecting or When Someone Says ‘How Are You?’My Profile


Cathy Miller February 11, 2014 at 8:11 am

Thanks, Anne. Yes, as a matter of fact, quite a bit. I learned his first name (I asked) 😉 and the fact that he has a sister with the same first name as mine, his mother is 90-years-old (like mine), he is a teacher, and he has a place in McCall, ID (which is why he is not always at our church).

I also discovered he has a fabulous sense of humor. He makes me laugh. And it all started by not judging a book by its cover. :-)


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