The Court of Common Sense and Sensibility

When I grew up, “like” was part of the (annoying), everyday vocabulary. Shows like Seinfeld and Friends gave us more phrases that sunk into our common psyche and rose out of our mouths seemingly without thought. Now, it seems that “Don’t judge me” is the next phrase to permeate our culture. I’m told that comedian Kevin Hart may be to blame. Neither my mother nor my mother-in-law have a clue who that is. Yet, they have both used the phrase “don’t judge me” multiple times in the last few weeks. In a society filled with efforts to stop Mommy Shaming and Body Shaming, I am in complete agreement that we should all be cautious of our glass houses. But, when did having a different opinion get you labeled as “judgy”?

Presentation of Evidence: What Are You REALLY Saying?

Being called “judgmental” is not a slur hurled at you from strangers. It takes place in the course of a regular conversation with someone you know. But not someone you know well. Your lifelong bosom buddies would never accuse you of passing judgment when your opinion differs from their own because you speak the same language. So, here is the internal monologue taking place when you are accused of shaming or judging someone.

  • “Please don’t point out I’m unsure of my opinion.” The feeling of being judged begins when you interpret that someone’s facial reaction or verbal response has devalued what you just said. In other words, somehow, you are “wrong.” When you are passing on someone else’s opinion, it works like sharing on Facebook — the original content is not your own. The problem is not that you lack an ability to accurately recall the phrase or article you are repeating. The problem is your memories are emotion-based; thus, there is room for misinterpretation of fact based on how that information was emotionally digested.
  • “This is not a discussion. I just need to be heard.” There is a lot of research, clinical and anecdotal, about the positive benefits of emotional venting. It is physically and emotionally healthy to release feelings of anger, frustration, and disappointment. However, these benefits are lost if you do not choose your audience well.

Spark Note Summary

My response to the accusation, “Don’t judge me,” is…WHY NOT? I welcome differing opinions from others who have lived a different life. Without healthy, respectful disagreement, it becomes hard to learn. It’s hard to learn about others. It’s hard to learn about yourself.



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Amy Slutzky

This blog is about incorporating practical mental health boosters in your everyday routine. I am a wife, mother, sister…I am a counselor, teacher, advocate…I am a sci-fi geek, a public goofball, a faux Top Chef…I can attach dozens of labels to myself; so can you. My life is both unique and common. Read these blogs to make your life a little easier and your mental health a little stronger based on the lessons I have learned.

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