The Psychology of Judgmentalism – 5

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In his work on distinguishing between healthy judgment and judgmentalism, Terry Cooper tackles the distinction between guilt and shame (Chapter 5: “Guilty Judgments vs. Shameful Judgmentalism”). This is from Table 5.1: Cooper describes guilt as specific with respect to behavior or action; shame labels oneself. Healthy guilt can focus on what can change whereas shame attacks utilizing “global generalizations” that facilitate a zero-sum perspective. Guilt leads the way to forgiving oneself, recognizing limitations and seeing “the worthwhile person underneath the unhealthy behavior”; shame “does not respond to forgiveness.” Healthy guilt can lead to disclosure to others one trusts, while shame isolates, trying to hide from both self and others. Healthy guilt can rid itself of unrealistic or unattainable standards; shame is associated with ideal or unattainable standards. Healthy guilt moves toward accepting oneself, while shame leads to self-punishment.  

 

 

 

 

For reflection: Later in the chapter, Cooper suggests that shame is “judgmentalism turned inward.” Interesting idea, right? What are your thoughts?

1 Comment

  1. I really like the distinction between guilt and shame, because in the past I have used these terms interchangeably and I think the distinction could be helpful and again provide a check to keep people from being too hard on themselves. The idea that shame is judgmentalism turned inward also resonated with me. How Cooper describes shames gives it many parallels with judgmentalism. Both equate the behavior with the person, lead to unrealistically high standards, and punish either the self or others. I think often times people who are judgmental of others, when they stop to think of themselves can often be just as judgmental towards their own thoughts or behavior. It seems that being judgmental is the way that they relate to both themselves and others. If they do not know how to love themselves, they struggle to love others. In Mark 12:31 it says “…Love your neighbor as yourself…,” which implies that in order to know how to love your neighbor, you look at how you love and take care of yourself. So it seems likely that if someone is highly judgmental towards other people, they are probably harsh on themselves as well.

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