We are all judgmental in some way and if somebody says that they do not judge others, they are not being honest with themselves. When you meet a person for the first time,  you have an impression of them, whether it’s negative or positive. It’s understandable that you might pass judgment on them because that is a reality of the human experience. If you were not judging people you wouldn’t be human. That’s not bad and there isn’t anything “wrong” with you; as human beings, we judge others and it can be harsh. That’s based on our past experiences and our insecurities. If you feel like you hate somebody it isn’t evil or wrong; it is because you’re having a visceral reaction to them. You are not evil or wrong, you are trying to assess their character and decide who they are as a person.

Remember those first impressions aren’t always an accurate impression of who someone actually is or how you’ll get along with them. My son gave me a great piece of advice: “give everyone a chance.” I try not to put too much credence into my first impressions of people. Sometimes those impressions are not accurate and they are based on who they remind you of. Maybe you meet a barista in a coffee shop and he is rude to you. For some reason that rude reaction makes you feel angry; angrier than you would usually feel. You realize that this isn’t about the barista himself, but more about the fact that the way that person dismissed you reminds you of your abusive father. Once you’re able to recognize that this isn’t about the barista, but more about your past experience with someone who hurt you, you can let go of that first impression you had about a virtual stranger. Maybe you revisit that coffee shop later, and when you see the same barista, you don’t judge him so harshly.

Remember that people are trying the best they can, and they might not mean to hurt you. It’s natural to judge people, but you don’t have to accept your judgments as an objective truth. You are allowed to have an opinion. You are allowed to have an intuitive feeling about a person. Just remember that it isn’t always accurate and it’s worth getting to know a person before assuming that they are “no good” or even “amazing. It takes time to get to know someone. You could click with a person and then realize down the line that you actually clash. Or the complete opposite, you could believe that you are not compatible with someone and then you find a common ground and develop a beautiful friendship with them.

Don’t limit a potentially wonderful connection by accepting that first meeting as reality. Perception is a funny thing. It can shift and change depending on your ability to open your mind to different possibilities. You don’t have to be best friends with every person you meet. There’s an opportunity for an intense connection and there’s also room to be friendly with someone but not be entwined in their life. You decide what works for you.

Judging is natural, acceptance is work. Tolerance and understanding is the goal.