Three ways to gain perspective in a conversation (and get more control)

“Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are.”

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and in the middle of it all, you hear a voice in your head that says: “I’m totally judging you.”

Ha! I have. I admit it…and I’m not afraid to say it because I know I’m not alone. We all judge. Let me say that again: we all judge. It’s part of our biology…we are literally “hard-wired” to quickly determine in any situation if someone or something intends to do us harm. Judgement isn’t always a bad thing; it often protects us.

Where it trips us up is when we start judging in moments of non-crisis…like, at the grocery store with the cashier who is clearly from a different walk of life than we are, or at a black-tie dinner where the guests are obviously not like us, at work where we see co-workers dressed differently and speaking in a different manner. Judgements creep into our daily lives all the time and they tend to magnify more the differences than the similarities we have with others. This puts us at a disadvantage of not being able to see clearly in situations and conversations.

Judgements in conversation can limit you and your outcomes, limit perspective-taking, alter your mood, and change your words and even your body language. Your mind is that powerful…and so are the judgements whirring through it. If you want to have more control in your conversations with others AND make a real effort to connect in a way that gets more done and makes you feel awesome, try this: 

  • Listen for judgements when you hear them in your own mind and when you hear them in others’ words.
  • Ask yourself – “Do I know that perspective to be true? What proof do I have?” Also ask yourself, “What could I gain from having a different perspective?” Often, you’ll find that shifting your perspective and putting your judgement aside for a bit leads to some amazing relationships and connections.
  • Take action! Go back to someone you’ve avoided or put off because of judgement and see if you can find some commonality with them. Does your initial judgement still stand? Can you prove yourself wrong by having a conversation with them?

I’m not yet perfect at any of this. In fact, I “call myself out” on judging all the time. I share these ideas with you from a space of constantly having to work at this myself. But, I know it’s worth it because I’ve seen for myself how acquiring perspective and putting the pause on judgement has moved me forward in some amazing ways. Adopt a “let’s see what happens” mindset and see if you can do the same for yourself.