The fear of judgement can strike fear in our heart when we are feeling vulnerable, insecure or scared. We can also use judgement as a weapon to hurt others. What is judgement? We judge when we condemn and criticize the actions or perceived differences in others. We can resort to judgement when we feel scared, under attack and defensive.
Why We Judge
Few people will admit to being judgmental, but we all do it, as embarrassing as it is, I do it too. I judge the drivers around me, the too slow check out clerk at the dry cleaners, the kids at the pool for being too loud, my husband for not behaving in the manner that I expect him to, and of course I judge myself for almost everything.
Over the years one of my sisters has called me out by jokingly calling me “judgy.” We laugh and shrug it off, however, this seemingly innocent comment has left me asking if this is who I want to be. One of my goals is personal growth through self awareness. During the last several years I have made a commitment to my personal growth by reading self-help books, attending personal growth conferences, and re-connecting with my spiritual path. This commitment has helped me face difficult challenges when I have felt that I cannot overcome difficulties.
Why do we judge others and ourselves when we know it is hurtful? We use judgement to protect ourselves from exposing our fears and wounds. By focusing our attention on someone else’s differences, we can then feel better about ourselves. I came across The Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein, a short and powerful read that helped answer some of my questions. I highly recommend The Judgement Detox, Gabby has a way of explaining this hurtful behavior in a way that will help you heal and grow.
The Effects of Judgement
Judgement is especially hurtful because it is a never ending cycle. We judge and then judge the judgement, leaving us feeling uneasy and empty, disconnected from love, compassion and kindness. I believe that we all share the desire to be happy, at our core we all want to love and be loved. Being critical of others and ourselves leaves a void in us that we then try to fill with other potentially harmful substitutes. Some of these behaviors can have serious consequences, they range from alcohol and drug abuse, unhealthy eating habits, harmful overspending, low-self esteem, anxiety and depression.
How we see the world is a projection of what is inside, if we want to see the world differently, we must change our thoughts. Judgement is a resistance to love, it misleads us by making us feel safe, but it is a false sense of security because we feel it only when we judge others. We can never really stop judging because when we do, we will be left to face our fear and insecurities again.
There are times when we can feel justified in our judgement, it can disguise itself as outrage or disbelief if we feel wronged or hurt. I have found it especially difficult to overcome my feelings when faced with this situation, because I feel justified in my response. But again, the result is the same, a disconnection from love that leaves us feeling empty and angry.
How to Stop the Judgment
It takes a deep desire and willingness to give up judgement. When I got serious about my desire to stop judging, I needed to find the root cause of my behavior. I sat down with pen and paper and wrote down my judgements, all of them. As the list grew, I started to judge myself for all of the judgement. It’s important to notice the judgement without more judgment, just write them down.
Ask yourself, what or whom am I judging? What does this judgement look like? What moment in my life triggered me to feel justified in this judgement? Remember that the judgement is never about the other person, but about what is inside of you.
Honor your feelings and fears. Try to see the judgement for what it is, a separation from love and who you truly are, a kind, compassionate and loving being. If you can, try to see the other person or thing with a new perspective. It’s ok if you can’t, come back to it another time. The fact that you are open to evolving the judgement is a great start. When I struggle with this step, I try to remember that others are doing the best they know how.
If you are able to move past the judgement, you are ready to move past the separation; and come back to your true nature, love and joy. Judgement keeps us stuck in lower energies that lead us to disappointment, anger and unhappiness. We can heal the negative energy by forgiving ourselves and others, letting go, and choosing to instead live with joy.
Receiving Support from Others
Once I made the decision to work on releasing my judgement, I asked my husband for help. It is important to select someone who is supportive and non-judgmental as your accountability buddy. If you don’t want to share your journey with your spouse or a close friend, try journaling or meditation. I practice yoga, meditation and journaling and find it incredibly helpful. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to try different options.
The choice to release my judgement has been one of the best decisions I have done for myself. The process has not been always been easy, but the healing is worth it and on-going. If you are doubtful and not sure if this is for you, I hear you. It can be scary to give up a trusted security blanket, but I encourage you to give it a try. Set a goal that is doable and give it a try, see how you feel. If you get stuck and think you are not making progress, come back to it at another time. Be patient with yourself during this process, you can do it!
Thank you so much for reading! I hope that by sharing this personal struggle, you may know that you are not alone; that there is a better way to handle our fear and pain.
I welcome your comments and feedback.