Optimind Clinic

Dr Gordon Wong, psychiatrist    

Non Judgmental Attitude: Making the World a Better Place

by Dr Gordon Wong, Specialist in Psychiatry

MBBS (HK), MRCPsych, FHKCPsych, FHKAM (Psychiatry), MSocSc (Couns)(South Australia), DCPsyc RCP&S (Irel), DFM (HKCFP), Dip Med (CUHK), PGDipClinDerm (QMUL)


In the mindfulness of breath article, I mentioned about non judgmental attitude. In this article, I would like to expand on it a bit further.

To be non judgmental means that we put down and let go of our habit to categorise every object, sensation or thoughts as good or bad. For example, that traffic noise is just a sound. There is no need to categorise it as good or bad. Indeed, if we categorise it as bad, we let it bother us. If there is no good or bad, we just let them be and it would not bother us.

To expand this further, we can also let go of our tendency to categorise an experience as painful or distressing. For example, if one has a headache, we tend to think it is bad and want it to go away. We let go of this judgmental attitude, and not categorise it as bad. After stripping our judgment away, a headache is just another sensation. The pain becomes a more neutral stimulus, that does not have to be attached to suffering.

Another way to incorporate a non judgmental attitude is to refrain from categorising people as good or bad. After all, we often base our judgment of a person on one or two attributes, which is not a comprehensive assessment of a person. You may say that it can be solved by having a comprehensive assessment of a person before judgment, but how comprehensive can you possibly get? Perhaps an easier way is to let go of the tendency to categorise someone as good or bad.

Other people are just like us, striving for the same happiness, recognition and interpersonal connections. We are all different, and yet we are all the same. By embracing a non judgmental attitude towards others, we become more at peace with the people around us, and ultimately with ourselves.

I believe that by putting down our judgmental attitudes, the world becomes a better place. In our short time on this planet, we can try to embrace everyone around us, and celebrate our diversity. Ultimately, we are all equal, as we strive for the same things in life, we all deserve the same respect, love and care.