Is it Judgement Day?
I am not particularly religious, so when I refer to Judgement Day, it has nothing to do with any specific faith. Rather, I think almost every day is Judgement Day as it pertains to how we “judge” ourselves and others. Are you tracking with me?
If you dive into any research surrounding happiness, you will discover that neuropsychologists believe we are born happy. Just look at any child from four years old and younger. Notice young children are smiling, happy and live in the moment—no matter what they are doing. They don’t spend time worrying about what happened yesterday or what may or may not happen tomorrow. They are unhappy when they are hungry, tired, fall down, etc. And they don’t spend time judging themselves, that is until they get older and experience being judged by others.
Most likely, Judgement Day begins when we start receiving negative messages from our parents, siblings, teachers, or friends. We get negative messages about everything from what we are wearing, to our physical shape, and don’t forget hearing about all the things you are not good at, like math, singing, etc. I recall being told when I was young that I was not good at baseball, and guess what happened when my father enrolled me in little league one summer at the age of 10? Disaster!! Well, first of all I was actually not that good, but most of it had to do with the seed that was planted in my head: I was not good at baseball. And over the years, I heard lots of judgements being sent my way, and hence I learned to judge myself.
We are our own worst critics and regularly judge ourselves, usually followed by self-beatings (just wondering, when was the last time you felt good after beating yourself up). We learn to live with all of the seeds planted over the years and, for some crazy reason, chose to water those seeds. Over time, we fervently believe the judgements we create in our heads—-yes, in our heads. It becomes second nature to have a dialogue in your head that spins a negative story, and the cycle begins and will not stop until you have the sense one day to actually change the dialogue. But wait, are we just judging ourselves?
Not only are we judging ourselves, but we learn to judge others as well. We gather all of the negative seeds that we have used against ourselves over the years and, we use these seeds or judgements against others, including our children (yes, we plant seeds in their heads), family members, friends, and colleagues. We even use these messages to judge strangers (think about people you see at the mall who you don’t know, but you judge their behavior, clothes, etc.). How can we spend time judging people we don’t even know!! How does sh#t like that happen?
The answer to the question is simple: when we judge ourselves, we rely on the old seeds (and you believe the messages from those seeds), and accept the negative dialogue created in your head. We use those same seeds against others and even judge people we don’t know. That’s why I call it Judgement Day, and for some people that can be almost every day.
Can the cycle be broken? Of course, it can, but it will take some work. And the work starts with listening to the dialogue in your head.
- Begin to recognize when you start to judge yourself.
- Ask yourself where this judgment comes from, what happened in the past.
- Ask yourself if this judgement is actually true or simply a story you have believed over the years.
- Now listen to these judgmental thoughts and determine how they make you feel—my guess is they pretty much make you feel like crap.
- Recognize that judgements you pass on yourself or others are only thoughts.
- Slow your thinking down and use your inner power to turn these negative thoughts off and change the dialogue in your head.
- IMPORTANT MESSAGE: you actually have power over your thoughts. You have a choice to believe your thoughts, wallow in the negativity, nurture the negative energy, or…..use your wisdom to turn off or modify this poison that is filling your brain and body.
- So, CHOOSE and create a better and more gentle dialogue, one that will benefit you and others around you.
- This takes practice, so when you stumble and realize you are judging yourself or others, don’t beat yourself up over this act.
- Remember the deeply planted seeds have been there for years, and it will take time to stop using these negative messages against yourself and others.
- If you can begin to create a kinder dialogue for yourself, you will notice that you will be kinder to yourself and to others, and those judgements you have fostered for years will begin to melt away.
So, leave Judgement Day to the religious folks and recognize that you have the power to control thoughts when you judge yourself or others. Choose a direction that will allow you to be kinder and gentler to yourself—-it is a true gift. Awaken the love you have for yourself and others to enrich your life, as opposed to filling your life with judgements, most of which are probably not true—rather only stories you were told when you were young——and hopefully you will return to the time when you were a child, when you were happy most of the time.