Letting Go of Self-Judgment

Everyone is born with an unique individuality that is at the core of our very being, and so to force everyone to act and believe in the same, exact manner is to deny people their right to express their core individuality.  The answers for some are not the answers for all.  (Now, I am not condoning anything that involves acts of ill-will or abuse.  Evil acts have nothing to do with our core because our core is innately good).

We need judgment is some situations, like judging whether a situation is dangerous or not, but judgment in most situations is very, very harmful.  Especially self-judgment.  Sometimes all there is in our mind is a tape of negative thoughts about ourselves, constantly putting everything we do and think down, on repeat.  If we listen to the negative thoughts enough, we start believing them.  It can affect us physically because we don’t take care of things we don’t value.  And it can affect us mentally because negative beliefs can be associated with things like anxiety and depression.  Also, believing negative judgments we tell ourselves actually makes us judge others more.  If we’re feeling good about ourselves, we want to build others up, not tear them down, even if it’s only in our mind.

So how do we stop the negative self-judgments?  There are two skills that I’ve learned that help me to stop the self-judgments before they take over and I become sad and depressed.  These are certainly not all the ways to try and stop them, but through my own personal experience, this is what I found helped me the most.

  1.  Awareness:  The first thing that helps is becoming more aware of ourselves and realizing the second the self-judgments start.  Sometimes we’ve become so accustomed to the negative self-talk, we do it without even realizing it.  And the more aware we become, the easier it will be to figure out what set the negativity off.  Normally there is something beforehand that triggers the self-judgments, whether it be from a memory, a thought, a feeling, an action by someone else or yourself.  If we can find the trigger, we can start to try and understand why that is making us think badly of ourselves.  What the root of it all is.  Knowing what our triggers are, help us so when we get triggered again, we can say to ourselves, “I know why I’m feeling/acting this way, and I know the reason why this is happening even if I can’t control it yet.”
  2. Replace Self-Judgment with Curiosity:  The word curious has neither a positive or negative connotation.  If we are curious, we examine something without placing a judgment on it.  It is neither good nor bad.  Viewing ourselves this way, when we would typically judge ourselves is so much kinder.  So much more loving.  Sure, we may want to still change things about ourselves or our surroundings, but we are not condemning ourselves for it.  We love ourselves enough to not punish ourselves for human mistakes.  And if this is hard for the mind to accept, then imagine how to respond to someone that has a special place in the heart, and they were saying negative things about themselves.  We wouldn’t make it worse by telling them all the wrong things they’ve done, would we?  A good friend would remind them how they are a good person and everything will be ok.  So lets be our own good friend, and remind ourselves we love us enough to be curious rather than judgmental.  An example of what to say to ourself might be, “I’m curious why I did this, it didn’t make me feel the way I thought it would, which is ok, I’ll just do differently next time.”  Or, “I’m starting to feel like I’m not good enough.  I’m curious why I feel this way and why I feel it necessary to compare myself to a perfect standard that no one can achieve.  I’m doing the best I can at this moment, and that’s ok.  Maybe I can figure out where this need to be perfect comes from and maybe I can figure out a way to appreciate everything I’m already doing and focus on that for the moment.”

Remember that we only have a short time on this earth plane and we want to spend that time loving and cherishing what makes us special, not the human errors that everyone makes every now and then.