Are you stuck in the muck?
Judgement is about you not the subject of your attention.
If this is true, then judging yourself is about who you believe you are and not about the things you do or say. You can believe you are failing even when everyone around you sees only success.
Judgement is “the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions” so says Wikipedia. So why exactly do we say that we “judge” ourselves too harshly?
Imagine we all have a judgement jar. It’s supposed to be filled with big rocks like:
- Should I take that job?
- Should I marry my partner?
- Should we have children?
Then we have smaller rocks like:
- Do I need to wear a jacket today?
- Should I cross the road now, or wait?
- Is my baby crying because he/she is hungry or tired?
The wee pebbles, I’m sure you can work them out too.
If our judgement jar is full of the rocks and pebbles of authentic judgements, we are able to make good decisions and reach sensible conclusions, yes?
Why the hell then do we gather lumps of mud and contaminate our judgement jar with:
- They don’t like me because I’m fat
- I’ll never get the promotion because I’m a woman
- I’m not good enough to be loved
Might it be because one day, through the wonders of neural development, our unconscious mind became aware of our younger vulnerable inner self and decided she needed protecting from the world?
When you consider the maturation of the brain like a door opening onto a sunny day, it’s easy to see why we might think it’s too bright, it hurts, I don’t know how to protect myself or even whether I need to. So we open the door, close the door, open the door and take a step outside, then retreat back inside, gradually increasing our exposure to the big world (sounds kind of like a teenager you know, maybe?) In the process of learning to survive and indeed thrive in this bright new world we happen upon our younger vulnerable inner self and the realisation dawns that where the adults in our world previously protected us, we have to protect ourselves now. It’s a lot to take in so we decide to protect that most vulnerable part by building a defensive guard around her and it’s made mostly, of judgement. Well intentioned, considered and sensible, just what’s needed to keep her safe.
Now, here it gets a bit messy because we’ve grown accustomed to the sunny outside, we’re even excited to explore and take risks just for the joy of it. Well you can’t take risks and explore AND protect this vulnerable soul. Good judgement is replaced with resentment, frustration and fear. the sum of these parts, yip, they’re the muddy contaminating lumps in our judgement jar.
When we decide to live in the here and now, accepting the truth is not always the same as our beliefs, there is no room for muddy lumps in our judgement jar. Sometimes this acceptance isn’t easy, this is when you have to be brave. Why?
- Bravery is required because in removing the barrier of judgement that was intended to protect the inner vulnerable youth, we expose our most hidden self to the world.
- Bravery is receiving complements and affirmations and truly believing in them.
- Bravery allows the “You did a great job today!” affirmations to penetrate deeply and strengthen our inner youth.
- Bravery is necessary because our inner youth will need time to have faith that these affirmations are real and about her and no other.
- Bravery is trusting that by being open and authentic we can still protect ourselves, stand tall and face the bully or speak our truths.
We are not our inner youths now, we have access to the tools that will protect us, guide us and drive us to fulfilment and freedom (yeah I know, very William Wallace!) and our inner youth can become the freedom fighter within. When we have balance between who we believe we are on the outside and who we are on the inside, the sun shines brighter, the walk seems freer and the sounds of the world become a joyous celebration of life. Who wouldn’t want that?
Our inner vulnerable youth is like the calves kept in the dark to keep their meat tender and light – sorry veggies and vegans, I won’t stay here for long, I promise. The animals are weak and would really struggle if they were suddenly thrown into the outside world. They have survived because their very basic needs have been met but there are so many more needs they never realise. When we protect our inner vulnerable youth from the outside, we convince ourselves that we are doing ok because our most basic needs are met. We ignore the failure to thrive as to change this, well. sometimes it’s just too hard, too real. So our inner youth remains vulnerable and locked away.
By slowly introducing this fragile part of us to the outside, we begin to meet the rest of her needs, she can start to feel stronger, bolder and braver. The tiny rays of sunshine that start to penetrate her world will no longer blind her, she will begin to feel their warmth and invitation. When she eventually steps out into the full light of the world, she can become all that she has the potential to be. A beacon lighting the way for others, a role model to support those she cherishes, a woman standing tall and singing in full voice, just because she can. That’s what being brave is all about.
So, I invite you, empty your judgement jar, give it a good wash and then refill it with authentic judgements, let the mud wash away. I wonder how easy those big rocks and pebbles are realised when they’re not all clogged up with the mud of our misplaced judgements?