Why We Judge Others More Harshly Than We Judge Ourselves

achievement advice effort interpersonal communication perspectives team Nov 21, 2023

To understand why people might have drastically different outlooks on life than we do, think of a kaleidoscope– we might have the same pieces, but the arrangement is different for each person, and therefore we see a different picture from one another. It’s not that we intentionally have varied perspectives, but sometimes it is a natural occurrence. We must factor in people’s backgrounds and past experiences to understand where they are coming from and how they will interpret new experiences.

In addition to having different outlooks on life, we also tend to have different perspectives when we evaluate ourselves than when we evaluate other people. At times, we will be harsher on ourselves because of the standards we have set for either our personal or professional lives. But other times, we will judge others more critically because it is difficult for us to see their perspective and understand their thought process. 

In general, we will judge ourselves based on our intentions, whereas we will judge other people based on their outcomes. We still recognize the effort that we put forth whenever we fall short and give ourselves slack because we know that we tried. However, that is much more difficult to do with others because we can’t read their minds, and all we know is that we didn’t get the result out of them that we wanted. We tend to place blame on the individual for not doing well, and we don’t take into account if there were outside factors that kept them from being successful. 

It takes conscious effort and intentionality to change our perspective of others. I challenge you to really take this into consideration as the end of the year draws near. What do you want your interactions with others to be like, and how do you want to view the people around you? It is exhausting to assume the worst in others, but it’s enlightening to want the best for them and encourage them throughout their efforts. It is amazing how much we can accomplish as a team when we look for the good in others. When we focus on other people’s success instead of making snap judgments, we are more connected, productive, and engaged.


-Meghan Slaughter

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