This is part three of the three-part series about Judgment; how those judgments can tell you something about yourself and what you can learn from them. You can find part ONE here, and part TWO here.

The overall goal of this three-part series is to help you understand that everything that happens within you (even judgments) are beautiful invitations to learn more about yourself and to step into your true self more and more.

This series started about me opening up about my experience at my first ecstatic dance party. This experience brought about so many judgments that I was taken back and couldn’t enjoy the party as I planned to. Instead, I chose to give space and attention to whatever judgment arose in my head because I knew it was about me and not about the people at the party or the party itself.

This last article will give you an overview of what has been covered in the previous articles about Judgment as well some extra tips on how to navigate the pitfalls when learning from your own judgments.

The steps to take to learn from your own judgments.

Being Aware

This is the first step and the most important one. Most of us are so used to ignoring or pushing away our feelings and thoughts that we “judge” as “wrong”, that we even aren’t aware of the thought or feeling itself.

For example, you might see someone lying in a hammock on a beautiful sunny day while you’re on your lunch break. That image might trigger something within you that you have rejected and ignored. A judgment might come up but as you believe judging is “wrong”, you immediately ignore the judgment.

This process is so fast, that you might hardly notice the judgment at all. But you do notice the aftermath. You might start feeling negative, depressed, irritated or any other annoying feeling because of this process.

So awareness of what is happening within you is very important.

Tips for raising your awareness

  • Lessen the amount of time you spend distracted. For example; lessen the time you listen to music, podcasts, watching Netflix, reading magazines. If you do this almost every free second of your day, you’re distracting yourself from your own inner world. When you do that, you don’t notice what’s happening within, and miss these beautiful invitations that come up in the form of judgments. You will miss these opportunities to step into your True and empowered self.
  • Pay attention to what’s happening in your mind. Instead of losing yourself in your inner conversations with your inner voice, pay attention to what you’re talking about in your head.Whenever you catch yourself drifting away in your own thoughts (daydreaming, fantasizing, reliving conversations/situations/experiences), take a mental step back and start watching again whatever comes. Like sitting at the river bank and watching the river flow by. That river contains so much valuable information in the form of (amongst others) judgments.

Awareness is Key. If you’re not aware of what’s happening within you, you cannot change it.

Letting it happen

We are so used to controlling so much in our (inner) life that it might be hard to let judging “just be”. When we feel ourselves judge we might either want to ignore it, move away from it, express it to others (so we feel better) or something else. But usually, judging is followed by some kind of action in order to ignore it.

But by letting it happen, you can watch and learn what is really going on. It’s like a referee at a tennis match. You watch your own judgments go back and forth.

Tips for letting it happen

  • Visualize your different opinions in your head as different people having a judgmental conversation.

Being Okay with it

By being okay with it you’re not falling into the trap of judging yourself for judging or feeling bad about it. By being okay with it you give yourself space to really listen to your own judgments. Like in the example above, judging can be “judged” as wrong. But when you watch yourself judging someone or something you disentangle yourself from the emotional charge that comes with it. This way you can hear what it is that you’re exactly saying.

Tips for being okay with it

  • Focus on the aspect that this practice will help you grow, that your judgments will help you be your Best Self.
  • Realize that this will help you be more compassionate towards yourself and others.
  • You’re human and you have these emotions and judgments. Don’t feel bad about it because you have them. You don’t have to act upon the judgments and they are valuable lessons for you.

Knowing it’s not about them but about you

Judgments are never about the other person but always about you. A judgment is a projection of something you judge within yourself, on to someone else. Meaning, your judgments tell you what you’re hiding from yourself, what you’re judging within yourself, or what you’re not letting be within yourself.

With the ecstatic dance party I judged the overly spirituality of the people and the place. After contemplation and reflection I realized that I desired more spirituality in my life but I judged it as wrong. But instead of acknowledging that, I judged it in other people.

Tips for knowing it’s not about them but about you

  • Because it’s about you, it doesn’t mean you’re a “bad” person or “wrong” for having these judgments. On the contrary. It’s very human and very brave to look your own judgments in the eye.
  • The more you work with your own judgments the less you’ll have them. And the ones that stick around will get easier and easier to just let be.

Taking the time to contemplate and reflect

By taking the time to relive what happened during your “judgment experience”  you’ll be more able to disentangle yourself from the emotional charge, to see yourself judging and to let the hidden wisdom from the judgments come to you.

When you’re comfortable with yourself judging and you KNOW you will learn and grow stronger and wiser from it, you’ll find you won’t have any trouble sitting with that experience.

Tips on taking the time to contemplate and reflect

  • Let the outcome go. Don’t worry about if and when your insights will come. They will come, when they will come.
  • Let your unconscious do the work and don’t overthink this process. Sit, let the experience go by, stay on the sidelines and flow with whatever comes.

There are some pitfalls to this process. The pitfalls are:

Finding it hard to sit with your judgments and other feelings that come up

It’s not for nothing that we keep on judging because judging others is easier than looking at our own judgments. – Carmen Smallegange (Click to Tweet!)

The emotional charge that comes along with these judgments can be very uncomfortable. But sitting through them will give you the gift of insights and is definitely worth the ” trouble”.

Judging your judgments

This is very common. We’ve been taught that it’s wrong to judge. And by that very statement, we were being judged. But the contrary is true. We ALL judge. And that’s perfectly alright. But the more you dive into your judgments and learn the lessons, you will feel yourself judge less and less and the emotional charge that comes along with judgments will become less and less as well.

Feeling scared of what you might find

It can be scary to look at your own judgments. This might bring up some ignored pain and hurt. Or you don’t know what you will find and you’re scared that you might be a horrible person. But you are not. You are okay just the way you are. When you breathe through your fear, you will see that whatever it is you’ll find behind that fear, will make you more whole and complete and therefore happier.

The three Questions:

I want to end this article with the three promised questions you can ask yourself when you’re working with your judgments. By using these three questions, you will work your way through the entire process outlined in this article:

  1. Am I judging at this time?
  2. If so, what can I learn from me judging them/this?
  3. When will I sit with my judgments so I can learn and grow from them?

Ask yourself these three questions when you feel yourself judging and you cover all the points mentioned in this article.

If you have any questions, please comment below this article.

Carmen Smallegange is a coach specialized in uncovering and transforming limiting beliefs. Using her own life lessons she shines a new and fresh light on negative experiences to empower others to do the same and to acknowledge and step into their own amazing potential. You can get her free workbook on how to transform your fears or follow her on Facebook.

Image courtesy of Lisa Fotios.