In DBT, we practice a nonjudgemental stance. What does this mean? We do not judge something as either good or bad, and we learn to accept things as they are. When we practice not associating a label with something, we also practice approaching something with an open mind, one that is more willing to adapt and grow through challenging situations in our lives.
Labels can bear a lot of stigma. When we attach a label to something, we often have a preconceived idea, or notion about something. This stigma can be harmful, and often provides a great deal of misinformation.
Consider this, in some form or another many of us have been at the root of gossip, or an ill-mannered joke. If someone heard this gossip, they may already have a preconceived idea about you, which causes them to make a judgement on your behalf. This can prove very damaging in our interpersonal relationships, and in our personal and professional networks.
When teens are teased or bullied at school, they are often also judged, or seen as “inferior or weak.” This experience can cause the adolescent to feel especially vulnerable and “add insult to injury.” This can interfere with development of healthy peer relationships, and can trigger self-esteem issues in addition to anxiety and depression.
How can we practice non-judgment? It can be as simple as noticing something, an image, a person, a texture, an object, and practicing the act of removing all labels in our mind. We can explore the situation and our surroundings with curiosity and wanting to learn more, rather than “all-knowing.” Even the simple act of questioning and disputing these labels while removing them allows us to experience more, to gain more, and to open ourselves up to greater possibilities. Perhaps we will try a new experience that we previously assumed would be “boring” or “intimidating.” Perhaps we would make a new friend or acquaintance with someone with whom we had previously assumed we would have nothing in common. Perhaps we would learn a new skill, discover a new passion, or just find some joy in the ordinary.