Is there a link between trust and judgement? If so, what is it and how can we use it to benefit both ourselves and those with whom we interact?
These questions came to mind as a result of an increasing frequency of others commenting on how quickly I connect with the people I meet and how quickly they trust me. Often these observations are followed by someone saying “Of course, because you don’t judge them.”
These observations and comments opened my eyes to the possibility that the key to gaining trust is being nonjudgemental. Let’s explore this possibility.
First, let’s explore why we trust some people and not others. Generally we trust people that we sense will do us no harm. That extends beyond the realms of physical and financial harm to inflicting emotional and psychological anguish.
None of us likes being judged, yet we have an innate desire to gain the approval of others. Even when we get that approval a significant percentage of us question the sincerity of the person offering the accolades.
Our fear of disapproval is even greater. It’s why we don’t open up…aren’t completely candid… with others, especially on issues that are important to us. In other words, we don’t trust others’ ability to respect our right to our opinions, our values, our choices. Instead, we expect…and fear…their judgment.
When we meet someone who listens to what we have to say, to our concerns, to our beliefs and does so in a way that shows us respect, our natural tendency is to open up to them. We share our deepest beliefs and concerns without fear because we know they aren’t going to judge us.
While these people won’t judge you, they will not hesitate to disagree with you. You’re more open to hearing their perspective because they don’t imply that they’re right and you’re wrong, they’re merely sharing an alternative perspective.
Nonjudgemental people aren’t trying to convince you to change your mind, they’re pointing out an alternative that they believe will help you in the future. Their language indicates that it’s your choice to embrace what they’re saying or continue with your approach…and they respect your right to that choice.
Being nonjudgemental is one of the reasons why these folks are so adept in effecting change. Because the perspective they offer makes sense, is designed to help the other person and is offered without judgment, the listener is more likely to embrace their ideas…and get better results. Both enjoy success and the joy it affords because there was no judgment involved.
Understand that judgment is a natural, emotional reaction. We are wired to think of things as good or bad, right or wrong. Consequently, when things happen we immediately judge them. When others take action we judge their action as right or wrong and the person as good or bad.
The good news is that while these are our natural tendencies, they aren’t hard wired. We have the ability to change the way we think about things. You’ve already done that countless times in your life, often subconsciously. You possess the ability to retrain your brain consciously and at will any time you choose.
Here’s the process for retraining your brain away from judgment:
- Remember that judgment is an emotional reaction, it’s automatic. You can’t prevent it.
- You can quickly recognize judgment for what it is and set that emotion aside.
- Remind yourself that nothing is either good or bad, that every possibility has advantages and disadvantages.
- Once you’ve made this mental shift away from judgment, you’ll find that you’re able to listen more carefully and be more objective and pragmatic when sharing your perspective.
- You’ll quickly notice that others are more open to your ideas simply because you’re not judging them.
- You’ll also develop close relationships with people you’ve just met because they know they can trust you…that you’ll do them no harm.
- The more frequently you employ steps 1 through 3, the more automatic this way of thinking becomes. Initially retraining your brain takes conscious effort, but within a week or two of consistently employing steps 1 through 3, you’ll find that nonjudgemental thinking is your new natural way of thinking.
For our kids
The best way to teach kids this lesson is to live it. The more frequently kids see you employ this nonjudgmental approach in your dealings with others…and the success you enjoy as a result…the greater the likelihood that they’ll employ it as well. Then they too will be trusted because they don’t judge.
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please leave your comment below.
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