Good or Bad. Right or Wrong. Fun or Boring. Easy or Difficult. Beautiful or Ugly. Every day, we’re surrounded by judgments, whether on the television or in our own minds. Our culture is strongly attached to categorizing and comparing.
Despite our best efforts, we all judge others. It might be over small things, like a colleague that took a longer lunch break. Or it might be over bigger issues, such as a person who behaves selfishly or hurts our feelings.
Recently I have been working on a new program “Awaken Self-Love” and my first teaching was around judgment. I noticed that during this time my own judgment on others increased, almost as if I was seeing myself through a magnifying glass. It was wonderful actually, this way I could really see where I still needed to do the work. We’re told that it’s not politically or even spiritually correct to judge. So, we keep this to ourselves in our own dark little corner and it feeds nicely into our shadow side. Let’s bring this into an open space where we can just be ourselves and admit that we all judge but what we do with it might be very different to each person.
How can we use judgment as a learning tool into more Self-Love?
Judgment implies one power over the other – I perceive myself to have power over you when I judge you. Judgment feeds the ego’s deception of being better (or worse) than someone or something else or even the belief of separation. Judgment assumes that the person judging has the power and right to determine what is good or bad in general, not just from their point of view.
When we place judgments on others, we do so because of our own confidence issues. Somewhere in your system, you are in a state of ‘lack’. Every moment that you spend comparing yourself to others is a moment you are not spending focusing on you.
Let that sink in for a bit… when we focusing on others we don’t have to look within.
So, the invitation is always, to apply self-reflection and self-care to seek out what it is what we are actually judging about ourselves. What fears are we projecting?
We often struggle to love ourselves because we focus too much on our imperfections, this instead of realizing and embracing the fact that we are all imperfect, incomplete beings.
First of all: let’s begin to look at what does it mean to love yourself. To love yourself means to accept yourself as you are and to come to terms with those aspects of yourself that you cannot change. It means to have self-respect, a positive self-image, and unconditional self-acceptance.
Second: dare to be aware of your judgments. Even though you might not like yourself being judgmental, see this as a learning opportunity and embrace yourself for daring to be aware of your judgments.
Third: wonder why you feel the need to judge. What does this person you judge show you about yourself? What is this person capable of that still frightens you?
Forth: be thankful for this process. You became aware of something that still holds you back. Something that keeps you down. Something you are now aware of and can change.
How to move forward?
Since you cannot stop this altogether, you can take action when you find yourself judging.
When you hear yourself criticizing someone, take a step back and ask yourself, do I see these traits in myself? Do I exhibit the same behavior?
What do I know about this person? Am I being fair?
This is what is often called a pattern interrupt, which is a technique to change a particular thought, behavior or situation.
Remember how it feels to be judged. It doesn’t feel good to judge or be judged. Try to remember this the next time you are judging or criticizing.
Try to open the door of your heart to expand your awareness and self-acceptance. Make people feel better about themselves because of you. We all have a story. You never know when you might find yourself walking in the very shoes of a person you have judged.
And finally remember that judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are.
Want to explore more Self-Love tools?