I judge, you judge, we all judge each other

I judge people. You judge people. We all judge people. It’s an ignorable fact of life, yet lately, society has been walking around claiming that we don’t.

We belong to a generation where everyone should be allowed to do whatever they want, think whatever they want, and be whoever they want, but that’s just not true.

When it comes down to it, although we try not to judge others, and we like to claim we don’t judge others, we do it all of the time.

But that shouldn’t be a bad thing.

We need to judge others, and help guide each other throughout life because individually we don’t have all the answers and we don’t know everything. But if no one tells us what they think we are doing wrong, we will have no way of improving ourselves.

People are doing things that hurt themselves or others around them. But because we “shouldn’t judge,” it suddenly becomes rude for me to tell my friend, “Hey, that much alcohol really isn’t good for your liver,” or “Smoking that really isn’t good for your lungs.”

But what this generation tends to favor, is me taking a step back and saying, “Do what you want, I’m not going to judge.”

But doesn’t that seem a little off?

If people are doing something that negatively affects their body or their future, it should be our responsibility to remind them of the consequences.

Of course, we don’t have to nag our friends, but I think it’s very important to watch out for each other, because no one wants to look back on their life and say, “Why did no one tell me what I was doing would lead to this?”

In the study “On the Important of Being Moral: The Distinctive Role of Morality in Social Judgment” by Marco Brambilla and Colin Wayne Leach, the authors discuss how “morality is so central to our self-image, we can react quite strongly to the suggestion that our group [action] is not moral.”

So it makes sense that when someone tells us we’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to hear it.

But “no judgment” seems to be going a little too far. “No judgment” to me means, “I don’t care about you. Go ahead and live your life like you want. Do whatever you need to do to be happy in this moment.”

I’m on the swim team at California Lutheran University. If one of my teammates says, “I don’t feel like practicing today, I’m just going to tell coach I’m sick,” it would be an obligation of mine, as a teammate, to tell her, “No, you need to come to practice. You’re part of a team that relies on your performance, you need to be here.”

If my good friend is in a bad relationship, isn’t it my obligation to say, “That guy is not good for you, this isn’t healthy, and I think you can do better?”

Apparently in some certain situations we call judgment “teamwork” or “advice,” so why in other situations do we just call it judgment?

The decisions people make affect themselves and everyone around them—not just in the present, but in the future as well. So really, we need to help guide our friends in the right direction and we need to rely on them to do the same for us. They don’t have to listen to our advice, but we all need to speak up for each other’s well-being.

Even so, in this era of constant confirmation and affirmation everyone is afraid to say anything.

According to Cal Lutheran psychology professor Marylie Gerson, there are numerous studies that show how hard it is to stand up against a majority.

So when a large group is saying something is O.K., it will be hard to speak up against that, but we need to.

We are starting to think that we are all amazing, everything we do is wonderful. Change is always for the better. Participation ribbons for everyone!

So how, then, do we know who truly stands out when everyone is a winner? How can we become our best selves when we think what we do is already perfect?

This is how- we judge.

We have to judge.

I don’t mean distasteful, pretentious, annoying judgment, but genuine judgment—a gentle, yet firm, nudge in the right direction.

Sure, that direction is different for everyone, but if we don’t all offer up our opinions, everyone is going to be walking around thinking theirs is universal and correct.

So essentially, what I’m trying to say is, we all need to judge a little more, act indifferent a little less because although we might think we have it all together, we really don’t.

Rachel Balcom
Special to the Echo
Published December 9th, 2015