How To Stop Judging Yourself

Mmmm judgement. Juicy topic, no? Whether it’s judgement of yourself, judgement of others, judgement from others… oftentimes judgement is the hidden (or not so hidden) reason why things aren’t changing in your life.

I had five different calls today- three with clients, one for someone else’s group of clients, and one with a friend- and in every single call, a version of this question came up:

“How do I change something in the moment?”

– How do I stop the cycle of negative thoughts about my body?
– How do I change the pattern of binge eating and beating myself up afterwards?
– How do I get out of analysis paralysis and take action?

What these questions are really asking:

How do I stop judging myself?

Negative thoughts are judgements. (So are positive thoughts, by the way– a conversation for a different time.)
Stories you have about yourself, your body, or your life are judgements.
Fears about outcome or taking action are hiding judgements.

I caught myself in this the other day. I was stuck in a thought loop around a problem where I was both trying to figure out the solution and feeling fear I wouldn’t figure it out, so I was also avoiding taking any actions to create a solution.

There are three things needed to quit judging yourself and to change things in the moment:

1. Awareness

First things first- be AWARE of what’s happening in the first place! In my case, I was stuck in “figure it out” mode- because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t figure it out. I had all sorts of judgements cycling underneath the surface- “what will it say about me if I don’t figure this out?” “why haven’t I done this already?” “what’s wrong with me?” “I should be better” … etc. etc.

Knowing what was underneath the “figure it out” mode (or the negative thoughts, or the impulse to binge eat or the urge to scroll through social media) showed me where to actually focus my attention.

Increase awareness:
Place your hands somewhere on your body. If somewhere feels tense or in pain, put your hands there. Otherwise, wherever they naturally want to go.

Deep breath in and out. Ask yourself- “What’s really going on here?”

2. Presence

Once you know what’s really going on, SET EVERYTHING DOWN. Turn it off. Back away from the pro/con lists, newsfeeds, journals, refrigerator. Pay attention to right here, right now. Judgements are all based on past experiences that have shaped your reality and future possibilities you are perceiving. They can’t exist in a pure space of presence.

Increase presence:
Breathe slowly and evenly. Hands on your body. Bring your focus and attention to where your hands and your body meet. Fill your lungs and rib cage with every inhale. Soften shoulders and face with every exhale. No agenda here. Simply breathing and bringing your mind to your body.

3. Space

When you are running a program, pattern, belief, or judgement loop, you are on a set track. One you’ve likely been on many times before. There are no stops, no detours, no “exit here” signs. Creating some space will allow the program / pattern to loosen and open up choices that weren’t available before.

Increase space:
Take another step back. (Figuratively.) Continue to breathe. No agenda. Notice any desires to fidget, space out, think all the thoughts. Notice any sensations in your body. Not needing to change or force anything, simply being with whatever comes up.

Ask yourself, ask your body- “What is needed right now? What would create more space around ______ (fill in whatever you are experiencing)? Would you please show me sometime in the next day or so?”

***

To be clear- this won’t erase all judgements forever or immediately change everything (though it might!).

What you are doing through awareness, presence, and space and opening up the possibility for something different.

Judgements, coping mechanisms, patterns and beliefs we have have been developed and solidified over time. Thinking you can get rid of it in one fell swoop, never to return is a great way to set yourself up for failure and even more judgement for not being able to do it right.

When you use this simple practice to create awareness, presence, and space, it allows set patterns to unbind and unwind. It acknowledges what has been and what is, rather than denying or trying to shove aside the judgements and patterns within you. It also creates choice. You’ve interrupted the pattern and opened up other options.

From this place you can ask, “What do I choose right now? What would I like to create?”

Over time, the judgements and patterns loosen enough that they no longer shape your reality. They no longer are your default setting.

What might be possible from there?

And if you would like some support in releasing self-judgement and creating something completely different in your body and your life, let’s have a conversation. The possibilities are infinite!