Self -Judgement – A Guide to Letting it Go!
When I started out on my journey to recovery I had no idea that I judged myself so harshly! In fact, I remember being really confused when Marie mentioned it to me in those earlier days! Looking back I didn’t see it or believe that I judged my actions or my words! I suppose I thought she was wrong or that she didn’t understand me or maybe I thought I was different or that I didn’t need to explore the topic! Or maybe, because I had been doing it for so long, it felt normal or part of me?!! But as with many things on this journey to freedom, it wasn’t long before it all began to become clear….!
I began to notice the self-judgement and how strong it was and how destructive it was! I realised I wasn’t different and that she wasn’t wrong! I realised that I spent my days entertaining the thoughts and words of self-judgement and fuelling it and believing it! I realised it was constant and that it made me feel heavy! It was exhausting! I realised how sneaky it was and how it was there in so many areas of my thinking and my life! And in the end I realised that it was time to change the record! I made a decision that the only way to rid myself of ED was to learn to let go of the self-judgement!
So today I decided to put together a guide to letting go of self-judgment that aims to summarise all that I have learned on the topic!
So without further ado…here is my simple guide to letting the self-judgement go!
You cannot begin to let go of anything until you are open to the possibility that it is there!
- Listen to your practitioners or your fellow group members when they talk about or share their learnings about the topic! Ask yourself, “Is it possible that I judge myself too?”
- Become curious about the possibility that you may be holding onto self-judgement!
- Open your mind to the fact that it is unnecessary and unhelpful to your recovery!
You certainly cannot let go of anything without developing the awareness that it is actually there!
- Observe your thoughts!
- Become curious about the meaning behind the thoughts and the words!
- Practice labelling the thoughts!
- Notice when a thought pattern is making you feel heavy or light!
- Identify which thoughts are judgement thoughts! (Hint: they will usually be quite harsh and make you feel heavy!)
- Make a list of where and when you notice judgement thoughts coming in!
- Give yourself time to do this! Be patient with yourself!
Listen to your Lingo
The more you listen to your self-talk the more you will begin to identify the self-judgement!
- Actually listen to what you are saying to yourself or out loud to others!
- Notice if there is a lot of explaining or justifying or apologising present in your interactions with others!
- Notice when your tone is harsh!
- Notice words like should and cant or good or bad or right or wrong!
- Ask yourself “Would I talk to my best friend this way?” or “What would I say to someone else who judged themselves so harshly?”
- Make a list of the phrases you use when speaking to yourself and then make another list of alternative phrases to use instead! Notice which ones feel lighter and which ones feel heavy!
- When you notice that you are using this judgement language choose to just change it!
- When you notice it just re-phrase the sentence or phrase! Find another way to say it!
- Practice this often! Every day! Or whenever you notice it is there!
Choose to Let it go.
After you have practiced the steps above you are now ready to begin letting it go!
- When you notice the self-judgement come in, practice deleting it!
- When you hear it practice redirection! (Tell yourself a different story!)
- When you hear it say something nice to yourself instead!
- When you hear it ask yourself questions like, “Is it true?” or “Is there another way to think?” or “Is it helping me or necessary for me to judge myself like this?” (Hint: The answer will always be no!!!)
- When you hear it be gentle on yourself! Soften the tone! Be kind to yourself and reassure yourself!
- Remind yourself that it is NEVER NECESSARY TO JUDGE YOURSELF regardless of how unnatural that might feel!
So that’s my guide!!
Having written this post, I notice that I am smiling! I am realising that I have managed to let go of a hell of a lot of the self-judgment that consumed me when I began my journey! And I smile because I am proud of this! I am proud of me! I feel lighter as a result! I feel more content and at peace!
There is so much more space in my head to notice the wonderful things and people that surround me and more space to just BE! I have even begun to think that I maybe am a little bit wonderful! I have begun to see the amazing things I do each day and more and more I feel prouder to be me! These thoughts and feelings are new and I am not entirely comfortable with them…….yet! But I am certain that one day these thoughts will be part of me just like the self-judgement used to be! All I have to do is keep doing what I have been doing as it is working!!
My days will get even easier and my life will be richer! And I am sure in the end I will feel even worthier and prouder to be me!
And today, as I sit here, I notice that right in this moment, I believe, more than I have ever believed it before, that I am worthy and that I do not deserve the judgement I punished myself with for so long!!
And do you know what….
It feels amazing!!