I'm doing a lot better than I was before, though! Mentally putting yourself in the shoes of others does help, but what really got me was actually becoming like the people I used to judge, or going through the same circumstances they did/do. That all sounds a bit up in the air, so here are a few examples:
1. One Direction (1D). People fear 1D fans -- everyone just thinks they're over-the-top, rabid, possessive, insane, have bad music taste, you name it. I used to think so too...until I became one of them. In a matter of months, I went from "Oh this is actually quite catchy and they're pretty cute" to seeing a screenshot of an interview and being able to tell which month of which year and which TV show in which country it was from. Being in the 1D fandom is intense, guys. There was also so much emotional turmoil because I couldn't believe I liked 1D; allowing myself to even admit that I liked them took awhile. I got judged by friends, but no one judged me harder than I did myself.
But wait, it gets worse!
2. Kpop. How I got into Kpop is deserving of a blog post of its own, so I won't talk about that now. But oh my goodness, the pain. The judgement. The self-loathing! I was so angry at myself for the longest time for even admitting that I liked Kpop, because it was ridiculous. Kpop fans were weird: they didn't understand what was being sung until they looked at the translations, they used random Korean phrases in everyday conversation, they were excessively kawaii, and they seemed to talk about nothing but Kpop. How could I now be one of them? I agonised over this for the longest time. Kelvin's wise words constantly rang in my ears: "It's okay to like what you like," he'd said, all zen Buddha-like as I'd writhed around on the table in front of him. What he'd said just really made me think about music tastes and not being able to help things and judgement, and how I was doing it all wrong.
Just looking back on the past few years, I've realised that God's given me quite a few lessons on not judging people. The very characteristics or bad decisions I used to secretly judge people for, I acquired or made myself, and it was a sobering experience every time. I came out of them with a better understanding of the situation and the resolution to not judge people who were involved in it, so that's pretty great. I wonder if more of such lessons are coming my way.
Since the pattern seems to be 'Secretly judges people who do X --> Ends up doing X --> Learns not to judge people who do X', I just really hope that I don't secretly judge, I don't know, mass murderers or something.