Do you ever get caught up in a spiral of self-judgment when you feel like you have failed at something?
I’m going to be honest about something… I have been judging the shit out of myself for about 3 years now about this one thing that I can’t seem to move past. Three years is a long time to feel like a failure. Trust me. I know it sounds like I am being hard on myself but that is exactly what I have been doing and it sucks! It’s not that I spend every day wallowing around feeling sad and depressed. But I have been “stuck” in certain areas of my life that are related to this area of “failure.” I feel like one of those “quote, un-quote” people right now. Sorry.
For a couple years following this “failure”, I didn’t really look at this area of my life. I moved forward in another direction and made excuses for my “failure” that made me feel better in the moment. Recently this area has been peeking it’s head into my awareness almost every single day. You know that old saying “when the student is ready, the teacher arrives?” Well, that is exactly what happened.
I was in a yoga class last week, the instructor was like a super yogi. You know, they have tattoos of mandalas, they perfectly describe the little tiny adjustments you can make to your pose, they physically adjust your position, say extremely insightful and life changing things all through class and lets you stay in Shavasana longer that one minute. I don’t think super yogi is an actual thing but that is my definition. Anyway, this was my first time in his class and about three minutes into class he said something that blew the top off of my self-judgment about this particular topic. He said: Life is Transition.
I have heard this many times before, but I had never REALLY heard it… if that makes sense. We only hear what we are ready to hear. Those three words allowed me to see that I didn’t fail, and that I never have failed. That life is simply a series of transitions to the next place. It reminds me of the analogy of a rushing river and a standstill pond. If you can imagine a rushing river, it’s always flowing, it’s full of life and energy. Now imagine a standstill pond. There is no movement, there is no life, there is a murky foam that has developed on top and it smells. Gross. If we are not moving and growing we are at a standstill. So instead of looking at your transitions as failures, cherish them as transitions into the next part of you life.
After I left class I started to notice all the places in my life where I don’t allow myself to transition smoothly. I seem to have to judge something and make it wrong in order to move forward to the next thing. It takes the ease and the joy out of life, it adds self-doubt, self-judgment and suffering to our lives. Choosing to look at things differently will completely transform anything in life.
Here are four steps to help choose your way out of self-judgment:
- Take an inventory of your “failures” and write down a list of everything you learned from those experiences. I seriously can’t tell you value this brought to my life when I realized all the things I learned from my “failures.” Once you can see how you grew from your experiences, your self-judgment and feelings of being stuck melt away.
- Start to create your life from that list. Each thought we have, creates the next thought. And each thought creates our experiences. And those experiences create our life. Take it from me, I spent a long time thinking about failing, and so I got more failing. Three years 😉 Shifting the thought of failing into thoughts that I have all this experience created more opportunities for new experiences. It also created a lack of failure. Stop feeding the thoughts of what you don’t want in your life.
- Cut out ways to judge yourself. Self-judgment has a certain energy to it. It feels heavy and gross. The only way to shift it is to be aware of when you are doing it. Write down what you’re thinking about when you feel heavy. Once I did this… I stopped wearing my smart watch. I realized that it was just another way for me to judge myself for not being good enough at something. This will be different for everyone… as we all have different ways we like to torcher ourselves.
- Actually apply it to your life and stop Judging yourself. I have been engaging in this behavior for the majority of the 33 years I have been hanging out on earth. It’s probably safe to say that the shift might not come over night. Be patient and make non-judgment a daily practice.
Do you have other ways practice eliminating self-judgment? Tell me what they are in the comments. I would love to know!