Judge everyone and everything

A counterintuitive thesis

If you judge everyone and everything, you will do what is good and right more often. Not all the time, but more often.

If you judge everyone and everything, you will judge yourself better, too. Do you know the feeling that "if I did good, I got lucky, and if I did bad, this is my fault"? This will get fixed. Not entirely. But it will help.

If you judge everyone and everything, you will become a kinder, less judgmental person. Huh.

What exactly you should do

Make an anonymous Twitter account, or start a diary. Judge yourself and others there.

What my friend J. did yesterday was shitty. I didn't tell him, but I think it was shitty.

Yesterday I stayed late at work to finish an urgent task. I know my friends would tell me that I don't owe my job anything beyond 9–5, but I still think it was right and a good thing.

I think street bands are great and make everyone's lives better. I'm very grateful to them, even though I never give them money because I feel awkward.

If it's Twitter — judge others' tweets, liberally. Quote tweets that you have something to say about, and say it. If you don't want to quote-tweet them — screenshot them. Copy them. Doesn't matter. Never retweet without a comment.

It doesn't always have to be anonymous — e.g. you can tell people when you like anything about them. "Hey [sister], your room is super cozy and I like working here much more than I like working in my own room." In particular, do it when it's something small and stupid, not something big and profound. "Your latest Twitter userpic is fun."

Note that you don't have to tell people the bad things you think about them. This exercise isn't about being brave and stupid. It's about learning to trust your own judgment over others'.

How it works

You want to trust your own judgment over others'. Not because you are right, but because others contradict themselves all the fucking time.

You have a society in your head. For any thing you want to do, somebody will dislike it for some reason or another. Sometimes almost imperceptibly. Sometimes violently.

If you trust your own judgment over others', you won't suddenly start doing bad things. You will start doing the right thing, and "right" can be as unselfish as you want it to be.

The goal is to decrease the pain of disapproval that is attached to everything.

Without this pain, it will be easier to be kind; generous; a better friend; a better child; a better employee. You will be a nicer person to be around (self-loathing affects people around you). You will overstep others' boundaries less. You will be more accepting.

Don't devalue your judgments

You probably make your judgments softer, on purpose. Notice when it happens.

For example, watch out for 'but'. The 'but' devalues your judgment. Use 'and' whenever you can, instead.

  • WORST: "This show is stupid, but I like it anyway."
  • ALRIGHT: "This show is stupid, /and/ I like it anyway."
  • BEST: "This show is stupid, /and/ I like it a lot."

Be precise

If you don't feel comfortable saying "this is bad", don't say it.

Say "I don't like this". Say "I wish it was gone". Say "I will fight for this to be gone".

Resist the urge to devalue the judgment. "I don't like this because I'm a narcissist" — don't do this. Say "I don't like it" with a dot. It will be scary at first, yeah.

Be honest

This isn't one of those exercises where you have to smash plates against the floor and scream "I hate my job". Don't be expressive; be honest.

Don't shout "I hate my parents!". You can say "my parents did everything they could /and/ I had an unhappy childhood". You can be more specific: "my mother was very immature", or "my father didn't care about what I wanted or the pain I felt, because he didn't see me as fully human", or "I wish my parents were good people, and taught me that by example, but they didn't".

Crying and smashing plates is good. But it's not a part of this exercise, and doesn't work towards the goal this exercise achieves.