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We are judging each other a lot more often during the pandemic. Maybe it’s because there’s more to judge. Maybe it’s because the stakes are high. Maybe it’s because we’re bored and frustrated and want to feel like we’re taking action in some way. Maybe it’s because the social etiquette of the quarantine is kind of like the wild west.

But judging, broadly, is a blunt force. It’s not very useful in its generalized and unarticulated form.

Getting frustrated by how other people are behaving or not behaving during the pandemic seems pretty futile.

If we actually do something based on our judgement then maybe it could be useful. It depends on what we do. But if we just get upset and make ourselves more anxious, then we’re not helping.

Once we investigate our judgements we can decide whether or not there’s something to do in response. Maybe we can do something with our feelings of judgement. Maybe we can have an uncomfortable but potentially meaningful conversation with somebody who we love about something they are doing (or not doing). Maybe we can write to our representatives and express our concern about a specific public policy. Or maybe we’ll realize that what we’re judging is something (or someone) that is — realistically — completely out of our sphere of influence.

In order to get to the point where we can decide what to do about our response, we first need to notice that we are judging.

So we should keep an eye out for it.

Once we notice that we are judging, we can begin to investigate our judgement and we can decide whether or not it’s connected to something that we can control or something that we can’t control.

But until we notice that we’re judging, we’re not helping anybody.

When we notice that we are judging we can break out the trance-like state of just being annoyed, and we can decide what to do about what we’re feeling.