Judging: A plea for community

Judging. We all do it. We have to, or else we couldn’t pick food at the grocery store or decide what house to buy/school to attend or send our children to/clothes to wear/book to read/car to drive.

We say that people shouldn’t judge and that we should just be allowed to be who we are, but that’s not practical. We have to put people into categories, or we can’t function as a society. How do we know which people are in the hospital as patients and which are giving care? How do we know who gets to stand behind the podium to teach/lecture and who sits in desks to learn? If we had to take the time to get to know every single person in every single interaction of our life, we would be exhausted and not able to carry out any transactions.

So…we need labels. We need to put people into boxes. We need to say that something or someone is wrong and people should stop hurting others. We need someone to stand up and say, “Hold on, you can’t do that.”

But because we’re human and sometimes we really suck, we put people in positions who abuse that power or use it incorrectly. Then we use judgment to belittle, exclude, silence, and to shame.

We need to judge. Most of the time, we judge in ways that benefit ourselves and our communities (think of medical professionals judging triage of patients and who needs urgent care first)…so why do we screw it up so badly the other times?

“You are this.” “You can’t be this.” “You don’t deserve to call yourself this.” “You do this.” “You are not a REAL (DDer, woman, lesbian, or pick the label of your choice).

It all boils down to one sentiment: “You don’t belong.”

We SUCK at trying to include people in our tiny circles. Too often, if we feel we don’t belong, we leap at the first chance to find a place where we belong…and then we slam the door behind us to keep everyone else out.

There are two people in blogland who were geniuses at creating spaces where people could belong. One is Bonnie of My Bottom Smarts, and the other was Bas (who left us more than one year ago.) They both transcended political boundaries and reached out to anyone and everyone who wanted to join. Their presences are very much missed.

How can we come together as a community to use judging in a constructive way?



9 thoughts on “Judging: A plea for community

  1. abby says:

    Oh my…thank you so much for posting this…similar thoughts have been swirling in my head….maybe you don’t understand why i do what i do…but you do not need to fix me to your standard…..I have no answers, but i will be thinking, trying to find some….maybe just making us aware is a huge first step. Thanks again
    hugs abby


  2. pao says:

    I think abby’s right. Just this question you pose will be a way to raise awareness on this issue. And yes, we all judge… but I think where it becomes unhelpful and damaging is when people start projecting their fears and dislikes onto someone else. I think judging is an internal thing that really reflects what’s going on with the person who judges. I guess we need to learn how to accept differences and take the time to reflect before we start typing/ saying something.


  3. Roz Harrison says:

    Thank you Ana for this wonderful, thoughtful post. I agree with what the otbers have said,. Judgement is damaging when born from fear and lack of knowledge. Raising this question is a great start.



  4. catrouble says:

    What a beautiful post Ana…as I was growing up, if I criticized someone, my dad would say “walk a mile in that man’s shoes before you judge!”. We are all different, with different needs, likes and dislikes…as long as we are consenting adults, our choices are ours to make. I agree with Abby…we don’t need to be fixed.

    You have opened the door for better understanding…hopefully, many will walk through.

    Hugs and Blessings…


  5. annapurna1951 says:

    Cultivate a beginner’s mind: drop in to witness consciousness and let forgiveness tell us what to do, for we see only the past and project it onto the present.


  6. Minelle says:

    I very much agree with what you have shared here Ana. There is quite a difference between figuring out likes or dislikes and acknowledging how we differ from the next person. However judging others can often be a way of alienating or ostracizing people because of a need to create a ‘them against us!’
    We can learn so much from each other by sharing thoughts and ideas that create community rather than judging and alienating. If someone doesn’t understand another’s life choice, kink… Etc, discuss and have a conversation, that is the adult way to exchange ideas and learn.
    And when one person can’t reconcile someone’s life choices just don’t read…but judge not!


  7. His china doll says:

    This is very true, and it is the whole reason that this community exists in the first place. I shirk labels, they chafe like the tag in a silk camisole. I had a friend I was talking off a ledge the other night try to apply one to me – that’s not who I am, that’s how you see me because little boxes make you feel secure.

    I counter – do we have to judge at all, or can we use our judgement in regards to learning how to approach our friends and family with greater discretion of language and compassion of spirit? We really don’t need to know more of our friends than if their choices feed them, and as friends, we must support them in that choice – out of love and respect.

    And why is it that seeing Bas’ name still brings tears to my eyes? Ronnie is sorely missed as well – such a welcoming presence.



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