We are all familiar with judgements. We all make judgements on a daily basis and although they can be useful, they can also be detrimental to our mental health and well-being.
Right from an early age, we develop the ability to make judgements. We judge whether something is safe enough, whether it’s too risky or not or whether something will serve us or not. In short, these judgements are considered decisions that are formed when we weight up different options. However, we also develop the ability to judge others and form opinions about other’s wants, needs, desires and actions. Not only that, but we also start judging ourselves based on our perception of other’s and the society and life around us. Soon judgements go from becoming a useful decision making tool, to something that leads one opinion or view point to being superior to another.
No matter how strong our opinion is (or another’s opinion), it will never become a fact – not without hard evidence to substantiate it.
Let’s face it – we all judge others in some way and we all judge ourselves. We all have those moments where we look at another and compare our life to theirs or our opinion to theirs – either they are ‘wrong’ or we are. The hard truth is, when it comes to living life and being a good human, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to go about it. All we can do is be our best self at any given moment in time and try and better that each day. So if that’s the case, then how can we judge one life against another? It’s just not possible.
It’s amazing how much more outside judgement has come in for me since creating a human. During pregnancy, I had a chat with a good friend about the judgements that other’s make on a mother (even while they are pregnant!). It baffled me that something as wonderful as parenthood opens up the floor to people thinking they have permission to share their opinion as though it’s fact: ‘You SHOULD do this’, ‘You SHOULDN’T do that’. It’s such an overwhelming time for all new parents (whether it’s your first child or not), that it’s an unnecessary pressure and quite frankly, unwanted.
It’s not just about parenthood that I have experienced judgements. I have been judged for my weight, hair colour, breast size, clothing choice, my decision to not drink alcohol, my culture, my background, my decision to start my own business – pretty much all aspects of my life have been judged by others at some point and I’ve learned that it’s just down to them not fully understanding or accepting who I am. They are the people that DON’T matter to me. Yes, their opinions hurt and stung and they very much DID matter to me at some point, but now, I just accept them and where they’re coming from and choose to move on.
I can move on with love in my heart instead of anxiety because I know who I am, I love who I am and I accept myself, my choices and my values far more that another’s opinion of them.
Not everyone will agree with the decisions you make, but as long as you are confident in yourself, that shouldn’t matter. The people who do love you and accept you will support you no matter what.
However, there’s a type of judgement that isn’t so forgiving.
I’ve also experienced this and let me tell you, it’s crippling.
Self-judgment is more destructive that a judgment that comes from someone else as this happens when we no longer have full belief, love or confidence in who we are.
When we judge ourselves, it’s ultimately saying that we have lost faith in who we are. It not only damages our relationship with ourselves, but it also allows for other’s judgements to penetrate through those barriers to affect us more than they should. In fact, others can sense this judgement and feel as though they have permission to join in, add to it and aggravate it.
Judging ourselves comes from comparing ourselves to something or someone else and believing that we don’t live up to the expectations we have set ourselves.
I’ve judged my own weight (countless times), my own body, my looks, my intelligence, my career, my popularity, my relationships, my mental health – this list is endless. I know I’m not alone and unfortunately, self-judgment is far too common and almost everyone has experienced it in some way or another.
These are all self-judgments.
The most detrimental thing about judging yourself, is that because you no longer have that self-belief, it can create limiting beliefs that can hold you back from living the life you truly dream of and that you deserve. No one deserves to believe they aren’t good enough in some way, yet there are so many times when we allow ourselves to believe that we are lacking something. We can’t control how other’s perceive us and we can’t control whether someone will judge us or not but what we can control is how we see ourselves and start to change the script.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know how much I love journaling. It’s something I practice every single day. There are so many ways I love to journal and judgement journaling is a fantastic way to stop those self-judgements and limiting beliefs from controlling and dictating your life. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others or comparing your life to someone else’s and believing you lack something in some way, then this is an amazing practice that allows you to see the many wonderful sides of you.
When we make a judgement about our self, it’s because we believe we are lacking or we aren’t good enough – either way, that judgement comes from a negative and fearful place. We start to believe that trait or thing is bad and therefore we are flawed in some way. Judgement journaling helps you to see the other side – the positives of that trait, the good in that situation or why that particular thing may actually be benefiting you.
Remember a judgment is an opinion. Therefore, a self-judgment is an opinion of one’s self and it’s a story that we tell ourselves. It’s time to re-write that story.
Get a notebook, pen and paper, the notes app on your phone or even a new document on your computer and get writing!
This first page is about the judgements we make about who we are.
Create two columns:
In the left column, write down all the judgements you make about who you believe you are and then re-write the script and write down why that is a good trait about yourself in the second column. It’s important to see both sides and understand why that might be a useful quality to embody. Start to see the positives in yourself.
This next page is about the limiting beliefs we have on ourselves.
On another page create two more columns:
When we make a judgement against our self (that strong, unrelenting opinion), it’s easy to get caught up in it and get stuck in that ‘black and white’ thinking – we ARE this way therefore we AREN’T what we want to be and that will never change. Well, we are ANYTHING we want to be. This next activity isn’t about writing down affirmations that you force yourself to believe, this is about leaving the opinions at the door and starting to tune into true, hard facts about yourself. Understand who you really are, NOT what you perceive yourself to be at that particular moment. In the left column, write down everything you believe about yourself. In the right column, write down what else is true about yourself. It’s important to realise that you are more than just one opinion of yourself.
This third page is about the judgements we make about what we have in our lives.
Finally, create a third page with two more columns:
When we judge ourselves, quite often it’s because we feel we are lacking something in our lives that we have seen in someone else’s – that’s why comparing yourself to others is probably one of the unhealthiest things you can do for your mental health. The truth is, you and your life aren’t lacking anything, it’s just what you believe about your life at this moment in time. It’s your opinion. But as with everything that opinion isn’t fact and there’s always at least two sides to every story – so, change the story you tell yourself. In the left column, write down the judgements on what you believe you have (or don’t have). In the right column, write down why that story you tell yourself might not be true.
Judgement journaling helps you to see the bigger picture rather than getting caught up in the judgements you have about yourself at any particular time.
Anytime you feel you’re judging yourself more than you should, that your judgements are creating limiting beliefs or that they’re holding you back and not serving you in the best way, start journaling and keep writing these lists. Reprogram your thoughts and opinions around yourself and start to look at the bigger picture. Take yourself out of your own head and stop pushing that self-destruct button.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your life right now, there will never be space to judge yourself – you’ll only end up limiting what you’re truly capable of and damaging the relationship you have with yourself. The longest relationship you have is the one with yourself and therefore that should be honoured and cherished.
As Dr Seuss says:
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
So, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not or try to change who you are and most importantly, don’t put yourself down or judge yourself for being YOU. You ARE wonderful in every single way and YOU need to be celebrated every single day for being the unique and beautiful individual you are. Shine your own light and take ownership of who you are – because, trust me you ARE worthy, you ARE beautiful and you ARE loved. Stop judging yourself, go be who you’re meant to be, love yourself unconditionally and take on the world.