Have you ever noticed when you resolve to make a positive change, your mind steps in to remind you how far off the rails you are?
Just when you are committed to a course correct, what I call “the Voice” chimes in…
“Why the hell haven’t you done anything about this sooner?!”
Or my favorite…
”Why bother?! You always screw it up anyway.”
It often gets louder the more aware we become.
When I look back at the road traveled during my weight gain, there was a ton of judgment, anger and sadness. All of those feelings? They boil down to FEAR.
Quite often self-love is conditional love. You only love or feel good about yourself when you accomplish something, like “good” numbers on the scale. You tether your success or failures to loving or loathing. Imagine if you treated your child or a dear friend that way. Imagine if your kid screwed up and you were to say some of the things to them that you say to yourself when you’ve failed or are disappointed about something you did. Unacceptable right?
This is why I believe many of us abandon our weight loss efforts. We don’t want to deal with the self-loathing and judgments that occur. So we bail. We slide back into denial, and push it out of our consciousness. Judgment takes the wind out of our sails, and de-motivates us.
I believe the negative self-talk is there because somewhere in our DNA it’s an attempt to protect us. This chatter emanates from the ego. When I say ego, I’m referring to that internal dialogue that we believe is us. We are not our ego, we are NOT that self-talk. We are instead the “listening” behind all that talk, that beautiful spirit that lives beneath the chatter. When that beautiful spirit speaks, it is the intuitive voice. It is the voice of love.
In the past I’ve often referred to my ego as the lizard brain. It runs on fear. It likes to run the show in the name of self-preservation. It HATES change or anything having to do with growth or transformation. But we can begin to put it at ease, to reassure it that we’re not going to go over a cliff and ultimately choose to operate from a different place.
Step 1: Lean Into The Feeling
This is an important step in quieting the mind. Many times we want to run away from the dark feelings or the despair. We will do anything to distract ourselves from owning the feelings, which is why we often choose to judge versus examine the feelings behind the negative thoughts. When we unlock the door and honor these feelings, we bring it out into the light. Journaling is one way to get in touch with these feelings. Meditation is another. Once you honor the dark stuff, you can let it go. Think of it as turning on the lights in a dark room. Suddenly your fear of the dark diminishes. Honoring the feeling pulls you out of judgment and into compassion. When you acknowledge its presence, you can begin to unravel what’s behind it. This doesn’t mean it will leave forever, but with each moment of honoring what bubbles up, you begin to dissolve it.
Step 2: The Judgment List
We all judge. We judge ourselves, others, material things, our work, our bodies, other people’s bodies…everything! Take a moment and make a list of the things you judge, leaving space to write next to each judgment. Go for at least 15 items on the list. Let it rip!
I can be ridiculously judgmental. I judge how someone drives, how my husband does the laundry…and if someone did me wrong? Whoa! Big judging going on. Every time we stand in judgment we are separating from what is good. We are feeding the ego and raising the internal noise. We are separating ourselves from THEM or THAT. When we gossip and judge, we might feel good in the moment, as though we’re proving we’re better than, but think about the last time you had a good long judge. It leaves you feeling pretty empty and alone afterwards.
Every time we feel wronged or diminished, we are judging. To put it bluntly, happy people don’t need to judge, and they spend very little time doing it. When you’re bringing in joy and gratitude, there’s no space for judgment. When you become a “half full” human versus a “half empty” grinder, you claim joy and peace and you attract more positive energy.
Step 3: Making The Shift
Once you’ve got a good handle on the top 15 things you judge, go back through the list. Think about what in your past might be bringing that up. How do you feel as you think about the judgment? What are you judging about yourself? Really think about where in your past this might be coming from.
Whenever someone is critical of me, the judge in me can rise with lightning speed. When I did this exercise, I realized an old wound was opening up every time I felt criticized. When I was in elementary school, I was bullied. To this day, I can hear the echoes of those kids in my head. Almost every judgment on my list related back to that memory. This had become a tried and true defense mechanism. Once I realized this was more habit than any real threat, I was able to let it go more easily. As you do this exercise, you’ll inevitably notice there is a pattern. When you boil it down to the Why, you’ll begin to see that all judgment, big or small, comes down to a fear of some kind. For me, those bullies made me question whether I was good enough, or pretty enough, or likable. The fear was they were right and I was not enough. With every success I thought I was proving “them” wrong, but it was also a manifestation of my belief that I wasn’t enough.
Judgment is the complete opposite of love and connection. When I judge, I feel superior in the moment, I feel better than. It’s a quick fix, almost comforting. But in the end, it’s made me miserable, disconnected, and vacant.
WHEN I JUDGE, FEAR WINS
When I am judgmental, I’m learning it’s my fear or ego talking. I am giving power to it and disconnecting from love and abundance. I’m standing alone in my corner and taking aim. My fear becomes a weapon, and leaves me feeling more depleted and alone. My ego is running the show. When you allow your ego to run the show, it becomes a sh*tshow.
DISMISS THE JUDGE
It’s unrealistic to think we can totally and forever be without judgment. But you can begin shrinking the time you spend doing it. Becoming aware of it will allow you to consciously shift back to a place of love and connection which means accomplishing your goals requires less effort. You are clearing the way to have success and abundance. Sticking with your Luminous plan becomes less of a burden, and more of a celebration of how you see yourself. You begin building a vision of the You you want to be rather than being distracted by the negativity.
Over time, this shift happens faster. It takes practice and part of that practice is meditation or journaling. I notice how much more centered and open I feel when I do both first thing in the morning. I still feel resistant to making this important everyday, but it’s definitely paying off each and every time. In fact, I notice how I judge making this important. Usually the conversation in my head starts with “you don’t have time.” Sound familiar? I’m learning that anything that starts with “I don’t have time” is usually my ego talking, spewing fear that there isn’t enough time in the day. Be willing to challenge that conversation. There is enough time in the day to meditate and journal. It can be done in less than 30 minutes and you will reap the benefits. The time you take for yourself will deliver dividends that will allow you to focus and have more peace.
We dismiss the judge when we move back into a place of connection and self-worth. We diminish the negative thinking by shifting our energy back into the feeling of love and abundance.