Are you ever slightly horrified at the judgmental thoughts that pop into your head about other people around you?
Does it shock you that, even though you consider yourself to be a thoughtful, kind and compassionate person, you don’t seem to have control over the critical and sometimes even downright nasty way you regard others?
Of course, you’d never voice these opinions out loud. But nevertheless, you are very aware of their presence. It’s almost like you have a second, shadow self sitting alongside you, passing comments and nudging you in the ribs “did you see that? I wonder if she even looked in the mirror before she left the house?!”.
I hope it comes as a relief to hear that you are not a horrible person!
All of us have this shadow self. I simply call her “The Judge” and she is a very close relative of your own Inner Critic, another well intentioned but misguided attempt by your ego to protect you.
When you understand why The Judge arrives on the scene and recognise that it is she, not you, who is influencing your thoughts, you can rise above her harsh observations with a far lighter heart and realise that there is no actual malice intended…. and so, let go of any guilt that you might be carrying.
Why the Judge exists
The Judge acts as a shield, a veneer intended to help you feel better about yourself. If you think about when she arrives on the scene, and begins to comment, you’re very likely to find it is invariably in an area where you feel the most vulnerable.
Concerned about your weight and how you look in particular clothes?
The Judge will consistently scan your environment and hone in on other people who are imperfect in this same area and bring them to your attention, accompanied by less then lovely remarks…
Worried that your relationship is a little rocky?
The Judge will be on high alert for other couples having a less then rosy time of it and relishes noticing spats and arguments and less than loving looks passing between them.
Thinking that your kids are less than perfect and that your parenting skills may need some work?
Oh the delight and relief the Judge delivers when she points outs a screaming child having the mother of all tantrums in the aisle of the supermarket when they can’t get what they want!
How the Judge can make you feel
Your Judge is the shadow side of the Comparison Queen and her judgments will always be linked to your own fears and vulnerabilities. In an attempt to soothe and reassure you she actively seeking evidence that demonstrates your superiority to those around you. Her dominant emotion is one of insecurity and that is why she feels the need to be negative about someone else – it’s to help her feel better about herself (and therefore, yourself).
Unfortunately, the temporary boost her remarks may deliver can come at a cost – you may feel guilty and ashamed and that in turn, can chip away at the foundations of the very self-worth she was trying to build up in her roundabout way.
So what can you do?
First of all, let go of any thoughts that you are a horrible person! We all have a Judge inside of us, even Doris Day and Pollyanna did ☺
Secondly, simply become aware of when she does pop up and where her focus is. When you pay attention to this, it’s highly likely that you will discover that she is standing guard over an area of your life where you have been treating yourself harshly. Consistent negative self talk is like rubbing the geni lamp – POOF – the Judge appears…..
And finally, apply the balm of self-compassion to yourself wherever you are feeling this pain. Commit to treating yourself with kindness. Never deprive yourself of your own love and support – come to rely on yourself to always be there 100%. Great affirmations to use when you are not feeling fabulous about something in particular are:
“Even though (name the thing), nevertheless I love and accept myself completely”.
“Even though (name the thing) nevertheless I am whole, complete and absolutely worthy”.
My favourite at the moment?
“Even though I am rather voluptuous at the moment, nevertheless I love and accept myself absolutely”.
That one came in very helpful during my recent week at Hamilton Island where I felt surrounded by bikinis!
Under the post I’d love to hear from you:
- Do you experience The Judge?
- Have you found she comes out when you are feeling insecure?
- Does she make you feel better or worse?
I love having an understanding of why I act or think in certain ways, it’s often a relief!