You don’t get to judge me! (or do you?)

You don’t get to Judge me!!!




You don’t get to judge me!”


This fascinating video is MUCH more interesting viewed in light of REBT and ePrime than in light of the politics or the personalities involved. Why is this an important REBT lesson? How many irrational beliefs and distorted thoughts can you identify in this video? Hint: There are many  Lots of inappropriate name calling, labeling and globalizing.  What do you think the man in the video, Mr. Weiner, means when he says, “You don’t get to judge me!” ? 

 My sense of the problem and the breakdown of communication here involves a failure to distinguish “self” from “behavior” and the erroneous belief that to criticize behavior is that same thing as damning someone’s self, essence or personhood. 

In the first place, in terms of behavior, we all have opinions or “judgments”  about behaviors, we all make judgments, and whether or not we “get to” judge someone’s behavior is irrelevant because it would be virtually impossible to avoid doing so. This petulant “You don’t get to judge me!” business–while common enough–is just a little bit juvenile and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding about how the mind works. The ability to make distinctions and judgments is a basic survival mechanism hard-wired into our nervous system. The goal is to make judgments useful and rare and to express judgment in ways that are, measured, healthy and helpful.

Don’t confuse judgment with judgmental.  Judgmental means the tendency to chronically judge yourself and others, and it is inappropriate and unhealthy regardless of whether the judgment is about self or behavior.

So, let’s sort out what is going on here. Even when we follow the advice to judge behavior and not self, there are healthy and unhealthy ways do it. In the first place, judgments, even when focused on behavior rather than self can be inappropriate, cruel overgeneralizations

Now, hopefully my judgments and yours will be healthy

  • About behavior, not self;
  •      simply don’t judge self, theirs or yours, ever.
  • Accurate to the best of your ability to be accurate.
  • About a specific behavior.
  • Compassionate;
  • meaning your intent is kind and your judgment is intended to help.
  • Fair
  • Measured
  • Rational
  • Rare 

Finally, take responsibility for the judgment. Frame it as an “I” statement. Rather than “You did such and so forth” … “I was annoyed when you did such and so forth.”


But to demand that you or I mustn’t make them is naive and uninformed. 

On the other hand, to condemn the entirety of a person based upon a single act is not only cruel but is bogus, a null concept, has no logical basis in reality.  To call someone a failure means that the person has failed 100% of the time, always fails, always will fail, and fails at all things. Obviously that is absurd, and all of us succeed at some things. These global labels, aside from being harsh and cruel, are simply not functional concepts. They become ridiculous even a little reflection.  Here is the news flash: From the standpoint of REBT, General Semantics and ePrime; there simply is no such thing as a failure or dope or asshole or racist or moron any of the bzillion other names we destructively call ourselves and call each other day in and day out. These are contrivances that may make some communication a little more convenient, but they are fictions.  Look for it in your own personal interactions, on TV in the movies, in literature, on the news, social media, and so on.


Here are a few examples

  • Bullwinkle got the answer wrong, so Bullwinkle is a dope.
  • Johnny failed the test, so Johnny is a failure.
  • Mary said something inconsiderate, so Mary is a bitch.
  • Larry broke his promise, so Larry is a asshole.
  • Lois said something politically incorrect so Lois is a racist.

How many can you add to this list?

Notice that I usually include the “a or an” inside the quotation marks of statements like “an idiot,” etc. This is stylistically incorrect, but it I do it deliberately to make the point that labeling and name calling reduces a person’s humanity to the level of a thing, no different than a table or a rock.


You get the idea. Such weaponized, toxic communication is responsible for much human misery, emotional inflammation, communication breakdown and relationship failures. It is all the more tragic because it is usually unconscious and clueless. Nonetheless, the effect is unmistakable. It evokes and provokes shame. Shame is the emotion we feel when we tell ourselves that (by any other name) we are  a bad person. 

The REBT solution to this is and has always been Unconditional Self-acceptance USA, Unconditional Other Acceptance (UOA) and Unconditional Life Acceptance (ULA). Judge behavior (if you must), but leave your dear, sweet self alone, accept yourself and others just because you exist.

1.  Watch the video again and write down every time you hear a judgment, label, name calling, overgeneralization, global downing, etc. 

2. Decide whether each judgment is about behavior or self. Extra credit if you are familiar with Dr. Burns’s Ten Cognitive Distortions which we have provided an in depth look at elsewhere on the website.

3. Rephrase the judgment in a healthy way as described above.

4. Continue to be alert and mindful for the judgments you and other make, and those you see, hear or read, and continue to reframe and rephrase them in more healthy ways.

5. We would love for you to share your results here and or on our REBTraining facebook page.  Thanks!





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Originally posted 2013-09-08 20:05:28.

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