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Irrational Idea 3: Judging Others and Yourself

Click here for the introductory document in this series.

Irrational Idea #3

“Some people are bad/wicked/villainous and should be punished.”

Judgmental attitudes are irrational and cause harm to others—and yourself because:

  • Good and bad, right and wrong are seen in terms of black and white without considering a “gray area” or considering the circumstances which led a person to make certain choices.
  • We are guided by our interpretation of our experiences. Other people have different interpretations and have had different experiences. Cultural differences and different religions and family values bring different behaviors.
  • Judging the actions of another person is an excuse to feel superior.
  • Harshly penalizing a person won’t make them a better person; it harms them. A common reason for this belief system centers on the idea that harsh punishment is a deterrent and is therefore good for society–without realizing that destructive behavior is typically the result of a person’s irrationality. Rational deterrents do NOT deter people from acting irrationally.
  • These belief systems are often part of strict, fundamentalist religions which are based on fear rather than love. Hateful churches/sects are often led by foolish people who despise themselves and their own desires.

Rational Idea: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (Matthew 8:7)

These rational alternatives can help you adopt a more forgiving and peaceful life:

  • No one has led a perfect, blameless life; only God can judge.
  • Misdeeds are typically the result of ignorance, irrational behavior, or emotional disturbance.
  • When blamed by others, think about what you have done. Is their criticism rational or is it a result of their own problems?
    • Be calm and not overly-defensive/angry when mistakes are pointed out.
    • Take the opportunity to learn from the mistake.

For a happy and emotionally healthy life, contact CrossRoads for counseling at 317-842-8881 if you are in the Central Indiana area. This series was inspired by and sourced from “A Guide to Rational Living” by Albert Ellis and Robert Harper.