It’s difficult to be non-judgmental, especially when it comes to your loved ones. You know and care for them, and you know when they could have handled a situation better. But this response isn’t always helpful. It’s why non-judgmental emotional support is a crucial topic in mental health awareness events in the UK.
Why Being Non-Judgmental Matters
Being judgmental makes your family or friend uncomfortable. It can make them feel unheard, rejected, guilty, or criticised. As a result, they may think it’s better to keep their struggles to themselves.
So don’t belittle or scoff at your loved one’s issues, even if they seem trivial. Likewise, don’t judge their actions. Most people do things that they would later consider dangerous or embarrassing. The same applies to your friends and family, especially if they have anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
Staying non-judgmental makes your loved ones more comfortable to continue the conversation. It makes them feel heard and valued. Also, it encourages them to open up about their feelings and reach out to you again when they’re struggling. In short, you’ll get more chances to help them.
Remember that non-judgmental emotional support is not about avoiding making judgments. It’s about making sure you don’t express those negative thoughts.
How Do You Know When You’re Being Judgmental?
Just because you’re not criticising their actions doesn’t mean you’re not being judgmental. Here are some typical responses that you should avoid:
- You don’t seem depressed
- You’re crazy
- That makes no sense
- That’s not normal
- What’s wrong with you?
- What were you thinking?
- Why would you do that (to yourself)?
- Why would you think like that?
- I can’t believe you’ve done this
“I understand what you’re going through” is also considered a judgmental response. Why? Because it’s never true. People deal with experiences differently. So even if you share the same situation with your loved one, you can’t truly understand what they’re going through. And that’s okay.
Non-Judgmental Ways to Provide Emotional Help to Your Loved Ones
Listening is one of the best ways to support people in mental health awareness. But there’s more to it than lending an ear to your loved one and not voicing criticisms. Here are some ways to offer non-judgmental support to your family and friends:
Accept your loved one exactly as they are.
Respect their feelings, beliefs, and experiences, even if they’re different from yours. Don’t interrupt them while they’re talking. Most importantly, keep your opinions to yourself.
Your body language must match your intent. Don’t look bored or distracted while you’re listening to your friend or family. Also, once it’s your turn to speak, make sure your behaviour reflects what you’re saying. Show your sincerity through your actions before, during, and after your conversation.
Focus on understanding what your loved one is saying. Imagine yourself in their shoes to feel what they’re going through. Note that this is different from sympathy, which involves feeling sorry for your friend or family.
Non-Judgmental Listening Support for Your Loved Ones
If your loved one is hesitant about confiding in you, don’t be offended. Some people are more comfortable seeking emotional help from their family and friends. Respect their wishes and remind them that listening support is just a call away at Talking for Therapy.
Our advisors are always ready to offer confidential, compassionate, and non-judgmental support anytime. Schedule a call, and let’s talk about YOU.