Here’s the thing. We all do it.
I didn’t think I had a problem with judging.
Until I started reading “Judgment Detox” by Gabby Bernstein. I realized it’s a subtle and slippery slope. I judge myself for how I look, then I judge myself for judging myself, then I judge someone else for something they said or something they wore, then I judge myself for judging them…
When you think about it, judging shortens our lives and lessens it’s quality.
Let me tell you a little story.
The other day I was scrolling through Facebook, and I saw a post someone by an acquaintance about something I judged as a “small-world-problem.” It was about a restaurant screwing up their order.
My internal response was: “Really? REALLY? When there are people who are sick and dying and whose loved ones are sick and dying…people who are losing their jobs and don’t get unemployment…and you’re upset about your restaurant order?”
I thought damn, she has such privilege that she gets to complain about this.
The inner keyboard warrior in me got riled up. I started typing a reply and….. deleted it.
I thought: I’m not going to write anything, I’m just going to sit here with my judgment.
Can you relate? Do you see this cycle playing out anywhere in your life right now?
As I sat with my judgment, I examined my feelings. This doesn’t make me feel better. Being self-righteous and judgy didn’t make me feel any better. In fact, it made me feel worse. I had a “judgment hangover.” I felt crappy. And I wondered what my judgment of this woman said about me. Why did this set me off?
The first lesson I learned reading this book is to notice the judgment without judgment. Don’t judge yourself for judging.
Here’s what I want to invite you to consider: Do you judge people in order to feel better about yourself? I do. When I put the spotlight on them, it takes it off myself. I can feel superior to them for a moment. It’s a short-lived ego boost. Ouch. That’s a painful realization.
So, let’s turn that spotlight back around to myself (the only person I really have any control over anyway). What work do I need to do?
“Judgment Detox” says: We are all innocent children who have become deeply traumatized. We use judgment to protect ourselves, if I am looking at what someone else is doing wrong, I’m not focused on myself or my own feelings of inadequacy and shame.
Maybe that doesn’t quite resonate with you. Maybe you don’t feel “traumatized”. But the reality is that we have all acquired wounds and scars. I’ve heard it said they’re the price paid for living.
The thing is, it’s hard work is to expose those wounds to the light and examine them.
Some people go their whole damn lives never willing to look at their wounds.
And that’s okay.
But I don’t want to be an incomplete person. I want to be a whole person. Which means doing the hard and painful work of self-examination and healing. To become a better and more whole version of myself.
Not only does judgment give me a hangover; but I feel disconnected, fearful and alone. It breaks the connection between myself and others. Even though I may feel justified.
Even justified judging separates you from others.
Back to my judgy thoughts about the restaurant-complainer…
What I realized (after doing some introspection) is I was triggered because of a wound I have deep inside related to spending money. It comes from my childhood; this belief I am not worthy of investment.
Where did this come from? I specifically remember my mom’s words (several times in several different situations). She would say things like, “That’s $30. You want me to spend THAT on YOU? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
I don’t know why she reacted that way. I’m not her. But what I do know is what I HEARD from those words.
The story that I carried, that I believed for so long, was that I’m just lucky to be here and get what I get, but I’m not worthy of having money spent on me. It’s shameful and selfish to want things.
And I’ve carried this to my adulthood. Boom. Realization.
Here’s what I want YOU to walk away with today: know that there are negative consequences to judgment. Judgment limits us. It keeps us separate from others.
You can choose differently. You have the power to change how you feel.
Here’s what I learned from reading Judgement Detox:
Four Steps to Use to Examine Your Judging Attitude:
Who/what am I judging?
How does that make me feel?
Why do I feel justified in this judgment?
What moment in my life triggered me to feel justified in this judgment?
Work through these questions any time you realize you’re judging someone and you want to stop. Awareness and intentionality are the only ways to begin to eliminate toxicity in your life.
For me, I realized this: How can I become the things I want to if I have this type of smallness keeping me down?
When you’re on autopilot, life’s living you, you’re not living life. I want to be in the driver’s seat of my life. I want to live it on purpose. By choice. With intention.