How to Stop Judging Yourself
I was losing the popularity contest at a party hard a few years ago. I did my best at connecting with people, but I got smacked down time after time. After a couple rounds of fighting the good fight and trying to worm my way into conversations, I was beginning to feel drained so I decided to leave.
I immediately began second guessing my decision. I told myself I could have tried harder. I could have been or done something different in order to feel like I belonged.
In teenage speak it would have went something like, “Ugh, why is it so hard for you to, like, just be cool around people?”
A split second later I decided it was their fault for being insensitive assholes. I should just never hang out with people like them ever again. Don't move too fast—the next moment I turned the tables once more, “No, don’t blame it on them! You’re the awkward adult loser who can’t find her social rhythm.”
In the whole 30 seconds that it took me to get to my car my mind went to war with itself, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed—it was crazy town. And then, as I was starting up my engine, I remembered The Challenge I agreed to.
A few weeks earlier, a friend and I were inspired by Abraham Hicks and decided to challenge ourselves to one month of positivity to see what would happen.
I pretty much thought I had it in the bag. After all, I was already a “positive person,” and everything Abraham said resonated so I figured with a little tune up I’d be good to go.
Annnnnnd cut to me shamefully walking away from a party with my mind battling itself for not being who I think I should be. Yes, my arrogance bites me in the ass, but I get to live to write about it.
So I’m in my car, talking a whole lotta shit on myself when I suddenly remember The Challenge I’ve agreed to, “Wait! No bad thoughts. You are literally not allowed to be mean to yourself right now.”
This was a breakthrough for me.
I had had thousands (millions?) of moments in my life when I was judging myself and this was the first one when I realized I had a choice not to.
I was like, “Wait a minute...you mean, I have a say in this?!” That revelation was cause for celebration, and I didn’t mind if I did.
I turned on the radio, cranked up the volume, and sang loudly with a big smile on my face all the way home.
That switch from being at war with myself to enjoying life was simple and easy because I had committed to it. I remembered that I wasn’t “allowed” to judge myself. Yeah, maybe I could have shown up differently—but I didn’t, and who cares? Not me! I chose not to.
We live in a culture that habituates “do better” and “ be better,” but we need to adopt more beliefs like “I’m enough” and “I’m doing the best I can.”
When we feel like we’re enough and that we’re doing a great job, we feel more at ease with ourselves. We don’t need to make everything such a big deal. If things don’t go our way it’s still okay—we’re still okay.
This experiment helped me see that I was judging myself way more than I had ever realized. What was underneath all of this was the belief that I wasn’t good enough as I was, and I believed these people were proving it to me by “leaving me out.”
If we pay close attention to the stories we tell ourselves, we can see the limiting beliefs that keep us stuck. This information is invaluable and is where committing to positive thinking can serve us.
However, releasing self-judgement requires more than positive thinking.
When we judge ourselves it’s a sign that on some level we believe our worth is conditional. That could take a lifetime to heal with the mind and for many of us, it might seem impossible.
This is why Breathwork is the practice I have been using consistently for over four years. It’s the fastest way I know to get out of the head and into the heart. It helps us discover the truth beneath our beliefs and facilitates sustainable transformation.
For example, you might be telling yourself a story that you’re socially awkward. During a Breathwork session you might begin to see that you don’t feel safe in groups because you don’t believe people will love you as you are. As you continue to breathe and clear your energy you might connect to the truth that you are lovable as you are right now.
This work actually changes us. It’s not a momentary insight into the truth. It changes the way we show up in the world and how we feel about ourselves. It’s akin to removing sticky old layers of false self that we walk around in.
*Quick side note on negativity here. This is not about spiritual bypassing or avoiding the wounds. The deep work is tough and painful, and it’s where my work lives (as you’ll find out at the bottom). Negativity, however, is the criticism that gets us all the way to no where.
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Getting started with breathwork
The kit I created to help you begin your Breathwork practice. It includes 3 guided Breathwork meditations, an ebook about how Breathwork heals, an FAQ, and a series of printables for a 30-day Breathwork challenge.