Judgment gets a bad rap because in many mindfulness circles, it means to harshly evaluate others in contrast to you or to regard something as good or bad.

I get hung up on the use of the terms good and bad as a means for evaluating things because it’s a big no-no in Buddhism, for one. For me, it’s an easy way to categorize things, another no-no according to some self-help experts. Every thought I have seems to be based on some judgment, and I end up feeling like I’m doing it all wrong.

When approached a different way, judgment can a good thing. Webster’s dictionary defines it as: “to form an opinion about (something or someone) after careful thought.” To be a judge in a court of law requires one to be “impartial, unbiased, discerning, analytical, and to think critically” before making a decision. What I like about both of these definitions is that they suggest that you should take the time to make thoughtful choices.

Everything we do requires us to evaluate whether or not to invest time, money or energy. Perhaps judgment isn’t bad when done with an open heart and mind.