Sneaky self judgment
Hidden messages we tell ourselves
Judgment can be sneaky and self judgment even sneakier. Often times it is hard to see where we judge ourselves because the only lens that we look through is our own and the tendency is to inherently believe that our lens is correct.
So how do we uncover judgement? How do we see when we are judging ourselves rather than accepting and including ourselves? One place I frequently see (and have experienced) this sneaky self judgment occurring is on the personal growth path. It comes in the subtle underlying messages that we tell ourselves. Messages that say “I don’t like the way I’m feeling and thus I’m not supposed to feel this way” or “Once I achieve xyz then I will get it and be whole” or “I don’t like the way I’m thinking, I’m not supposed to think this way”.
Self judgement always means that we are resisting a part of ourselves. The parts of ourselves that we resist are the parts that we think should be different than they are. For example lets say that you discover that you are kind of flaky and not as present as you would like to be with others. You may not like this about yourself and in fact have tried a bazillion different modalities to try and change this about yourself with minimal success; you remain flaky and not present. As you try harder and harder to change this part of you without success you get angry and eventually begin to feel resigned, hopeless, and self-hatred festers underneath it all. You may say things to yourself like “I’ll never change” or “I’ll never get it” or “Its hopeless, I’m always going to be like this.”
Self judgment hard at work
Paradox of change
The above example is self judgment hard at work. The first thing to realize is that there is part of yourself that you do not like, lets call it flaky or not present. You could also replace flaky or not present with angry, sad, rigid, cold, uninviting, unloving, distant, disassociated, disconnected, etc. Whatever aspect of you that you don’t like or somehow feel is wrong or not healed or whole. Its this part that drives your self-growth journey. You feel like you must fix it in order to be… loved, accepted, better, perfect, enlightened. It typically falls somewhere along those lines.
For healing to actually occur we must be where we are at. I know you all know this to some degree, but what is it to actually experience this? What this means is that we must first realize that we’ve been pushing this part(s) away through our constant attempt to change it, fix it or get rid of it. This is the first step. After this realization we must be willing to feel what this part feels. Whether is flaky, angry, distant, cold, disconnected, etc. Feel it without judgment, without trying to make it go away or be different. Most of our resistance (or tension) that we experience is our effort to not feel this part of ourselves. Resistance (often experienced as tension in the body) is an attempt to not feel something. We must feel it in order to heal it.
As we allow and feel this part of ourselves, little by little acceptance begins to trickle in. Acceptance does not mean stagnate or unchanging. It simply is acceptance of who we are, including this part, right in this very moment. In fact no real change can ever sustainably occur until we first accept ourselves right here right now as we are.
So the paradox of change reveals itself here. Change occurs naturally through deep and full acceptance of all parts of self. Moving through self judgment and feeling what is on the other side of it that we’ve been resisting is what frees us into choosing a new self, and not through resistance to our current self, but through love.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado