Let’s look at the difference between judging and name-calling by focusing on something simple. Let’s imagine a rug that doesn’t work in the room we’re in. We can judge the rug and see that its pile is too high for the traffic it gets or that its color is so light that its shows more wear and dirt than it should. Let’s agree that the rug isn’t ideal for the room. Perhaps we feel sad that so much money was wasted, perhaps we think about putting runners over the traffic areas, but we freely process information about the rug and add that information to our skill set. That’s judgment. It’s not name-calling; it’s a considered, decisive process. We have a problem with the rug, we have feelings about it, and we’re definitely judging it, but we’re not doing damage to our minds, our emotions, or our psyches. Therefore, we move forward with more knowledge about rugs and rug care and about purchases in general. Now let’s get into name-calling about the same rug: “Why would anyone buy this rug? What kind of moron puts a pale, fluffy rug in a public area? Look at the way those colors clash; it looks like someone ate a box of crayons and then threw up on the floor! How can anyone think that this wretched excuse for a carpet...” With name-calling, we get personally affronted and belligerent, which means it’s not about the rug any longer; it’s about the chip on our shoulder, our childhood issues, or our unlived emotions. With name-calling, we throw blame all over the place, and we don’t internalize any useful information about the rug. In both of these examples, we don’t like the rug. But with name-calling, we fly off the handle and make wild assumptions and accusations. These sorts of attacks damage us. They damage our emotions by lobbing them all over the room; they damage our intellects when we use them against others; and they damage us as individuals because our behavior is embarrassing to us and everyone around us. This name-calling doesn’t make us smarter, stronger, or more aware—it just pits us in futile opposition to a floor covering. When we judge appropriately, we restrict ourselves to the decisions we can make with the information we have, and we process our emotions coherently. Healthy judgment helps us choose what works in our lives. It helps us carefully evaluate situations and people with our minds and our emotions, and it helps us connect to our honest reactions and opinions. Healthy judgment helps us become more intelligent, and it helps us identify and articulate each of our emotions in its free-flowing state, in its mood state, and in its raging rapids state (if it has one).