A central goal in DBT is to cultivate a non-judgmental stance towards our lives and ourselves. However, when you experience intense emotions and have stress and significant obstacles in your life, it’s difficult to refrain from passing judgment.
Judgments are spontaneous and often inaccurate interpretations of our environment that influence our thinking and behavior. Social psychology research shows that our motives and expectations slant our judgments. When we are motivated to avoid painful emotions, we are likely to judge those who hurt us, conflict with us or remind us of our shortcomings. Often we’ve internalized the judgments of others and save our harshest judgments for ourselves. As a result, when we face an obstacle, don’t get our way or don’t succeed in our efforts, we are likely to attribute our problems to the personality defects of those around us and ourselves. They are lazy and stupid. We are incompetent, needy or a failure.