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Posted on 9 Jun, 2014 | 6 comments

Why We Judge Ourselves

Our theme is being ‘in the moment’. One sneaky way we avoid the moment is to judge it as soon as we find ourselves in it. That, as I said last week, pushes us out of the present and into past or future.

Judgement.

Pah!

pah.

Fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear!

That’s all it is.

We are SO mean to ourselves sometimes. We say things about ourselves that we’d NEVER say about others.

I had a chance to engage with judgement this week with a surprising (for me) result.

Someone asked me to list good things about myself. Of course I had an instant cringe response. “What? No way! I’ll look like I think I’m so great. My narcissism will be exposed…”

Then again, past conversations with him have left me with profound insights. So I took a deep breath, leaned into the discomfort, and dared greatly.

He watched me with humour as I thoughtfully laid out things I like about myself. I was aware of sifting through ideas, rejecting some, weighing others carefully before adding them to the list. It pleased me that I could think of many positive things to say about myself.

“It’s interesting”, he said, “that the things you list are all really ‘good’ things. Characteristics that no-one could find challenging or offensive. What about this thing?” he wanted to know, “And that one?”

What? Ugh. Not those things.

I justified, explained and pontificated. Words and words and dances of defence. I criticised and judged the qualities he was pointing out. They’re not good enough, not acceptable in some way. I made it sound logical – but actually I was rejecting those aspects of me.

He laughed at me kindly. Loving kindness allows us to see ourselves. It makes it less scary to look at what we’re avoiding.

Eventually I understood that my list was comprised of qualities that are less threatening to ME. The other qualities he was referring to – the ones that didn’t make the list – have an edge to them others might not like.

Whether these qualities are good or not depends on how you use them. They can be light or shadow, used for growth and healing or for destruction. And sure, they are the ones people have used to change the world – but some of those world-changers were hung, burned or stoned to death.

Maybe I’m being dramatic (or maybe you know JUST what I mean when I say that) but we are social animals. We depend on social approval and society can be cruel and unforgiving when you challenge its ways. Like a lion whacking it’s cub when it ventures out of line. Survival fear kicks in and makes us avoid those double-edged aspects of ourselves – even though we need them for change to occur. Picture standing up at a PTA meeting and saying something that challenges the system and you’ll immediately know what I’m talking about.

So my list of excellent qualities that didn’t make the ‘Good Things About Me List’ are all double-edged; Speaking out, challenging the norm, questioning authority, being tough, listening to my Self, following my truth… all double-edged examples. Maybe if I was a male my list would have been different… maybe not.

The best things about you are probably also the worst things about you.” my oracle said.

Oh, is it just about our judgement? Whether we see those things as positive or negative…

Truth is, I’m proud of them. I DO think they’re ‘good’ aspects even though they have that shadow side. So then why do I judge and criticise myself when I see I have them? Why do I avoid and put myself down?

You know what? It seems that in part it’s to please others. Yikes! Do we judge ourselves to please others?

What do you think? Do we do that with parenting for example?

6 Comments

  1. Loving kindess. Thank you.

    • Love what you picked up from this and bring back to us. Thank you Joanne.

  2. This is so awesome!! Thank you!! Its is a double edged sword but hearing your own truth is the most vital as its not up to others and if u keep quiet its you , you have to answer to at the end of the day.. not the others! As long as you can look in the mirror back at yourself! – also a great tool to tell yourself in that same mirror all those things you do like whether you have societys list or just your own- preferably your own! (I do feel those other things are awesome qualities) telling yourself is a great self love tool and a way of finding deeper acceptance within yourself!! just a plain I love you can be hard at first but grows and feels awesome!! cos hey! if you dont love yourself you cant love others!! Including your children!!

    • Kylie
      “Hearing your own truth is the most vital”
      Wow. What a beautiful place to have taken this to. You made me want to read my post again to see it from that light.
      Maybe ‘telling ourselves’ the good stuff about ourselves, that self-love stuff is this week’s practice. What do you say?
      Who else is in?

      • Our biggest approval is from ourselves!! Even if we never admit it!! If we cringe inwardly we may self implode yet never talk about it!! Speaking truths and being nice to ourselves is key!! I so love this blog!! I post oit every week for all my fb friends to read!! you such an inspiritation! I wish my blogs were so famous!! xx

        • Kylie you are an inspiration right back. And your support means a lot! What is your blog? Why don’t you connect the url here so me and others can come visit?

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