As a perfectionist, judgment was one of my toughest vices to kick. I saw things as good or bad and right or wrong. Each situation, action, or thing had an assigned label and I was the number one spectacle. Not only would I look at what other people did and form a judgment but I would scrutinize every little thing about myself.It was pretty much like bunking with my worst enemy.
I first started shifting this way of thinking when I read the book The Last Word on Power by Tracy Gross. I was introduced to a new way of viewing the world. I started taking my experiences, and myself, off the scale of right or wrong. I started to see things just simply as they were. I stopped assigning a meaning to everything. So here are a few simple steps to keep in mind, when tackling the judgment of the inner critic.
- Notice when you have a strong opinion about something before you know the facts or the whole story (e.g. “Pam is late to our appointment, how rude. She must not be very organized.” These are a lot of assumptions to make without having heard what happened with Pam).
- Once you notice you have a strong opinion, become curious on how youformed it (e.g. Ask yourself, “have I labeled Pam as bad for being late? Why do I think it’s bad that Pam is late? Is anyone really being harmed?”)
- Then ask yourself “How would I feel differently if I did not think of this as bad or good? Do I feel better if I take the label away? Can I choose to see things differently?”
When I follow these steps, I literally feel better. I oftentimes notice how I had been holding tension in my face, specifically my forehead, and then I actually feel lighter. Taking away the judgment creates a sense of peace within. After a while, these steps happen automatically. Eventually, frustration and judgement replaced with curiosity. I have also noticed that when I started seeing situations from a curious perspective, things actually tended to go more smoothly. I think most people are afraid that if they stop judging things, they will be harmed by some sort of naivete. I have not found this to be the case. It has actually been quite the opposite. Try it out for yourself and let me know how it works for you.