“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Whenever I come in contact with highly judgmental people I do my best to put myself in their shoes and understand why they behave the way they do and why they feel the need to point the finger at those around them. 

You see, I really believe that underneath it all we are all good, kind and loving beings but because of the many challenges that life sends our way and because of the many struggles that we all face, some of us become bitter and resentful. When that happens, we begin to project our own pain and suffering in the form of blame, judgment and criticism onto the world around us. 

Today I want to share with you 7 clever ways to deal with highly judgmental people in a more positive and loving way.

1. Don’t take things personally 

If someone you know is judging you harshly, know that it is probably because they judge themselves harshly. They speak to you in the same way they speak to themselves. Don’t take it personally. Don’t make their negativity your own. Don’t let their toxic words go to your heart. Don’t poison yourself with things that have little or nothing to do with who you are.

“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering” ― Miguel Ruiz

2. Look beyond appearances

Learn to look beyond appearances, to really see and hear what their soul, not their ego, wants you to see and hear.

Look beyond appearances, behind the harsh and toxic words, and see if you can find that place within them where love, beauty and kindness resides. Look for the for the good in people and trust that by doing so you will help bring out the good that lies in them.

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

3. Embrace a compassionate attitude

When people are feeling down, unhappy, lost and disconnected from themselves and the world around them, that’s when they begin to project their own darkness onto the people they interact with, that’s when they start judging the world around them. It’s when we are unhappy with ourselves that we begin to judge, blame and criticize those around us.

Treat everyone with respect, love and compassion, including those who judge and criticize you harshly, not necessarily because they deserve  it but because you do. Appreciate the contrast and silently thank them for the many lessons they are teaching you.

“A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

4. Look for the lesson 

Believe it or not, everyone you come in contact with has something to teach you. There’s a lesson for you to learn but also to teach. Just like Lao Tzu said it more than 2500 years ago, a good man is a bad man’s teacher and a bad man is a good man’s job.

“What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job? If you don’t understand this, you will get lost, however intelligent you are. It is the great secret.” ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Get in the habit of looking for the meaning behind every interaction and every experience life sends your way. Look for the lesson, look for the meaning and be willing to use every interaction and every experience to become a better but not a bitter human being.

5. The world is your mirror

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I have come to realize that whenever I lose control over my thoughts and whenever my thinking isn’t that positive and uplifting, that’s when things start to go wrong in my world. And that’s when I encounter people who judge not only those around them but they also judge me.

Like attracts like. If there’s darkness within, there will be darkness without. The world is our mirror, it reflects back what’s already within us. If the people that come your way are filled with negativity and toxicity and if you feel that you have many interactions of this kind, you might want to start purifying your thoughts and cleansing your own inner world. Because if you make the inner world pure, the outside world will be pure as well and so will be all of your interactions.

6. Adopt an attitude of gratitude

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.” ~ Khalil Gibran

Get into the habit of expressing your gratitude and appreciation for every interaction and every experience life sends you way, no matter if good or bad. Use them all to enrich your life and who you are, to grow, to expand and to become the beautiful and wonderful being you were born to be.

7. Focus your energy and attention upon those who love and appreciate you

We live in a world full of people and no matter how kind and loving you are, there will always be someone who will have a problem with you simply because they have a problem with themselves. Don’t take their behavior personally. Don’t waste your time judging the people who judge you, instead, channel your energy on loving the people who love you. Use your precious time and energy to show your love and appreciation to those who love and adore you.

“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.” ~ A Course In Miracles

Did it ever happened to start judging someone simply because they were judging you and not like them simply because they didn’t seem to like you? And how do you deal with judgment and criticism? I really want to know what are your thoughts on this. You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below 

Originally appeared on PurposeFairy