Competent women all too often feel we have to supervise everything; that it’s up to us to decide if something or someone is up to scratch or not. This urge to control is often born from a deeper fear of getting things wrong. And very often it doesn’t help us – which is why knowing how to stop judgmental thoughts is such an important skill to learn.
Where judgment comes from
Did you know that most of our thoughts, feelings, and choices don’t actually belong to us? They are “borrowed” from other people, taught to us and conditioned, mostly before the age of 2. We grow up looking at the world and our relationships through these conditioned reactions.
Judgment, tolerance and acceptance put massive limitations around the possibilities in our own lives and in our relationships. Because they are all ways of closing down potential.
Judgment in relationships
We judge our own sex as well as the opposite sex, and we carry with us deep-rooted cultural judgments of each other.
For women, there is the unspoken historical accusation of tempting man away from his connection with God. Laughable though this may seem in our modern age, it is deeply imprinted in our cellular memory. And of course there are all the other damaging stereotypes and assumptions that have been used to oppress and stifle women’s freedom and power.
Men carry deep guilt too. They have been taught that nothing good came from man, only from woman; that they are bad not only for having suppressed women, but also for putting them through the pain and suffering of childbirth. At an unconscious level, men often feel they have to heal and make up for all the damage done. That can show up as trying to solve problems – but also as resentment.
We each hold assumptions about the other sex which come out in our behaviour and verbally towards each other, as you will hear in many conversations.
So imagine how it would be to stop invalidating each other.
It’s time to stop devaluing yourself and let go of all these judgments – to look for the greatness in the other and in yourself, rather than the limitations.
How we judge ourselves
You will be amazed how many of us judge ourselves to be wrong much of the time, because we hide it so well.
- Some religions have taught us that we are born in sin, live in sin and that sex is sinful. When you judge this, you make your very existence wrong, and limit who you are.
- We judge our body and our talents for not being enough
- If someone else rejects us we make ourselves wrong, rather than acknowledging that it’s just their point of view.
Thus we walk around with the “wrongness” of us locked into every cell. Our sensuality feels like wrongness, and even our joy feels like wrongness as if we are supposed to be as sad as everyone else.
When we judge ourselves we have no option but to judge others. That’s because in order to judge anything, whether good or bad, we have to have been there and done it ourselves at some level, even if only in our imagination.
It’s the difference between “What’s that?” (excitement and curiosity) or “Ooh, gross” (judgment).
The habit here is to look for the wrongness of you – it’s one we’ve all been indoctrinated in from day 1. If you’ve not conformed, you are told you are wrong, and so in order to protect yourself, you automatically look for the wrongness in others.
Judgments and limitations stop us seeing the real person in front of us and create barriers between us; they are solid and unmoving. In judging, we buy into points of view that keep us trapped.
We lock definitions of ourselves into our body that we are too young, too old, too stupid, too pink, too blue, too different, but it’s all programming. We can’t receive goodness and kindness when we create these barriers.
The more you eliminate barriers, the more information falls into your consciousness, and awareness of everything increases, which makes life so much more interesting and exciting.
How many definitions have you locked into your body? Be willing to be the inspiration and start to see the beauty that you truly are.
So what’s the solution – more tolerance and acceptance?
A word on tolerance and acceptance: To tolerate someone’s behaviour is in itself judgmental and has an element of superiority about it, as if you are better than them. It is seeing the wrongness of someone and despite that, agreeing to put up with it.
Acceptance is a begrudging of someone and who they are, and neither of these have any heart in them.
So what can you do to turn this round? Are you willing to take a risk of being open to creating something far more dynamic, where you can choose with far greater awareness?
The risk of non-judgment
Choosing to question your judgmental thoughts can feel risky at first. In asking yourself whether your judgment of someone is necessary, you’re calling into question what you believe to be true.
But a risk is a very special opportunity to transform.
We can hold on so tightly to our own beliefs and “stuff” that there is no room for anything else; we get weak if we avoid taking risks and we lose energy.
Trusting someone is a risk, and there may be some disappointment. But you don’t have to give so much importance to disappointment.
The fact that you are alive and reading this means that you are far stronger than you think, and that you can support your mistakes in life.
So when would now be a good time to let go of all these limitations and jump out? It is far better to have 1000 disappointments than not take enough risks.
It’s time to stop creating yourself as the limited being you pretend to be and claim and own the magnificence of who you are.
How to stop judgmental thoughts
So let’s get practical here. Where can you start when it comes to stopping judgmental thoughts for good?
Just saying “I won’t think that any more” probably won’t help. Instead, the trick is to begin to change the script you’re habitually using.
Start by asking yourself more powerful questions. The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of the questions you ask yourself.
When you ask questions such as “What has to happen to…?” or “Who do I need to become in order to change …?” your life will expand.
Life-contracting questions such as “Why?” produce life-contracting answers.
“Why can’t I find the right person to be with?” will bring out all sorts of negative answers – because you’re too old/too fat/too thin/too young/too intelligent/too stupid/ green/bald/short/tall.
In the same way, asking “Why can’t my boss make a sensible decision?” probably won’t be a fruitful line of questioning for you.
Using “What/ when/where/ who questions instead, encourage the unconscious mind to expand and awaken, to come up with new experiences to guide you into a new way of enjoying your life.
Living in the question is the only way to break free and allows the expression of who you really are and who the other person is.
In turn this creates depth, harmony, excitement, newness, a sense of wonder and awe.
“What has to happen for me to…?”
“How can I help create…”
“Where do I need to focus my attention right now?”
“How can I honor and nurture my body today?
Start looking for the greatness and the possibility, rather than the limitations, in yourself and others.
Living free from judgment
When we’re afraid of being judged, we try and stay invisible and not let others see how amazing we are. Of course, they then do the same.
Take the lid off the box and let yourself out. Give up the sadness and embody the joy.
Dare to let go of all the things you’ve pretended to be – it’s such a relief.
When you are in allowance of who the other person is, it takes away such a large amount of effort. It’s just a point of view – neither right nor wrong.
So if you take away judgment and decision, what is left? There is choice. You can choose moment by moment how you want to live and love.
Be at choice instead of decision.
Be in allowance instead of tolerance and acceptance.
Be in awareness rather than judgment.
It will change your life.
Fashion Designer | Grandmother | Dancer
One of many master coach and trainer Susie Heath is an expert in love and intimacy and an internationally acclaimed author and speaker. She has been a buyer for Marks and Spencer, a shoe designer, a horticulturist featured at the Chelsea Flower Show and more.
Now, as a coach and trainer she has has worked personally with hundreds of men and women, helping them reawaken their authentic selves with her profound coaching and movement workshops.