Putting Down the Gavel, Living Judgment Free

Stop judging yourself


On this show…we are giving ourselves a break! Not what usually comes to mind when you hear the word “judgment” but enough already. Why so harsh?? Don’t you deserve the benefit of the doubt, a second chance, maybe a third or fourth – FREEDOM for goodness sake? If you are tuning in because this show might have some political mudslinging or sensitive and controversial topics to weigh in on then sorry to disappoint, Encouragementology covers positive alternatives to life’s LITTLE challenges in a lighthearted and all-inclusive kind of way.  Stay with me, I promise to give you a new perspective or at least some encouragement to get over the hump. 

So when did you become your harshest critic? You might not even realize that you are just that, harsh or your own critic. Things we feel or say about ourselves in the privacy of our own minds are just that,  private and no one knows but unless we wear these judgments we’ve given ourselves. We walk into a room with them, we introduce them to potential friends or business associates, we expose them through our words and our actions. 

Sometimes I feel like two different people with distinct personalities and purposes. Each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. I like elements of them both and at times wish they could merge and be on the same page. Before you reach out for professional help for me, let me explain. Professionally I’m strong, assertive, confident, direct, and sometimes even stubborn. Probably really stubborn but I’m intentionally giving myself a break here. People who met me professionally would echo these traits even calling me persistent, tenacious, strategic, and futuristic in my thinking. Personally, however, I don’t always feel these strengths. Oh, I can talk for sure, I am direct and I do have plenty of opinions. But I’m not as confident in what I’m saying or doing. There are times when I need validation and as much as that’s hard to admit, it’s true. I seek approval and without it, I am left wanting and a little lost. This is partly because I’m a classic people pleaser which is not a simple thing to correct. My knee-jerk will always be to please and seek approval. Since I’m now fully aware of this behavior I can sometimes correct it on my own. Progress. Also, Matt is very understanding and gently helps me see reality when I’m spinning. 

I used to judge this aspect of myself pretty harshly, making light of it. Through this journey and this walk, I’m learning it’s ok to not have everything figured out, not to be perfect in all areas of your life, and to let people see your vulnerable side when you need understanding. 

Hanna Brooks Olsen kicks off our exploration with The Spotlight Effect: Why You’re Your Own Worst Critic in an article she wrote for creativelive.com

“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do,” wrote David Foster Wallace in his 1996 tome, Infinite Jest. Three years later, a pair of psychologists would give that same sentiment a name: the spotlight effect.

A big part, then, of shame resilience – and of getting out of our own way, creatively – is the understanding that everyone is suffering from the same spotlight effect, and that everyone needs to be treated kindly – ourselves included.

Oh if we could just believe that every time. But our first reaction or maybe it’s just me (doubt it) is to say “oh know, what did I do now”. Immediately I put myself at fault no matter what it is. I start searching my mind and replaying scenarios believing I can piece together what the other person must be thinking about me. 

Have you ever hear of Don Miguel Ruiz and his Four Agreements

The Four Agreements are:

  • Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  • Don’t Make Assumptions.
  • Always Do Your Best.

But the one I want to highlight here is, don’t take anything personally.

Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own minds; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.

Of course, even if they aren’t talking about you, you’re doing enough talking about yourself for the both of you. Remember those private, judgmental conversations you have with yourself when you think no one is listening? Still harmful!

Laconciergepyschologist.com gives us 10 Ways to Stop Being Your Worst Critic

  1. Be Your Own BFF
  2. Journaling
  3. Identify What We Can and Cannot Control
  4. Mindfulness
  5. Practice Breathing Exercises
  6. Distinguish Self-Compassion from Complacency
  7. Create a Self-Compassion Mantra
  8. Express Gratitude
  9. Challenge the Negativity
  10. Schedule in Regular Self-Compassion Breaks

MANAL GHOSAIN shares How to Let Go of Judging Yourself from onewithnow.com

How can we let go of self-judgment?

This is by no means a definitive guide. It’s a simple 3-step process that I hope you can work with on a regular basis to gradually let go of judgment.

1- Notice

2- Allow

3- Actively choose to let go

Judgment is not based on logic, but on emotional and conditioned reactivity that does not care one iota about rationality or perspective. To let go is to give yourself permission to feel and be okay with yourself as you are, without the complications of the intellect or the demands of action.

When we gradually let go of self-judgment, we’ll ease on our judgment of others. Over time, we will dissolve a lot of the emotional habits and beliefs that have weighed us down for so long, almost effortlessly. Letting go of judging ourselves is one of the hardest things to do. But it’s truly a liberating and life-transforming act.

CHALLENGE: put down the gavel and give yourself a break. Break the cycle of shame, guilt, and judgment. Spend precious time with yourself thinking, wondering, and listening. Stifle the critic, say no to self-judgment, and allow your goodness to shine through.

I Know YOU Can Do It!