I’ve been trying to be more non-judgmental towards myself.
I wasn’t sure how to go about this at first, and google searches didn’t really help and were more aimed at being non-judgmental of others. (“Start by being non-judgmental towards yourself!” yes, but how?!) I’ve been thinking about this and working on it, and now that I’ve made some progress, I can share (what I think is) how to actually be non-judgmental.
- Notice judgments. (Observe) How will you know how you’re being non-judgemental if you don’t know how you’re being judgmental?
What is a judgment? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing,” or “an opinion or estimate so formed.” A judgment is an opinion. It is subjective, not factual.
People make judgments all the time. Most of them are harmless or even helpful. “Pink is the best color” is a judgment. “She’s smart” is a judgment. “I’m an awful person” is a more problematic judgment.
Notice judgments in what you say out loud. For example, I preface a lot of things with, “This is weird, but…” “This is silly, but…” “This isn’t a big deal, but…” and I say “Sorry for being annoying” and “sorry for being weird.”
Notice judgments in what others say. When you’re talking to someone one-on-one and can really listen to what they’re saying, be on the lookout for judgments. At my DBT day program one day at lunch, I was talking to someone new, trying to get to know him. Someone else asked him to tell us something about himself, and he said, “I’m a failure.” I said, “That’s a judgment” (this was a therapy program, after all). It was helpful for me to notice what judgments others had in order to be more aware of what judgments were in general. And it can help other people have a more balanced perspective if you point it out.
Notice judgments in what you think. I think, “Aah! They hate me!” “I should shut up” “I’m so weird” “Why am I doing this, this is weird” “I’m so annoying” etc.
Notice judgments in what you write. If you have a journal, notice judgments you have in it. I’m generally less judgmental in my writing, but I do say things like, “I need to…” “I f***ed this up” “I can’t do this” “This is awful”
2. Label them as judgments. (Describe) You could say something like, “I notice that I’m having the judgment that I am annoying.” “I notice the thought that I am weird.” “I am having the thought that I am pathetic.”
3. Stop yourself from saying them. Freeze your muscles, pause, stop in the middle of the sentence or word.
4. Replace judgments with facts and self-validation. Be as specific as possible. (I’m
not good at this still working on this part, so these examples below aren’t that good could probably be improved on!)
- Replace “I can’t do this” with “I’m having a hard time doing this.” (self validation and more true)
- Replace “I’m so weird” with “I walked into the room when everyone was silent. I did not know that they were going to be silent when I opened the door.” (the facts)
- Replace “This is silly” with “It makes sense that someone I know going on vacation makes me anxious because I was in a bad car accident while on vacation.” (self validation)
- Replace “Sorry for being annoying” with “I hope I wasn’t bothering you by texting you twice in one day” (being more specific)
It’s probably hardest to be non-judgemental in your thoughts.
- To start, try writing your thoughts in a journal in a stream of consciousness way.
- Read it over and highlight or underline the judgments. I notice that I am much more aware of my thoughts when I’m writing in my journal.
- Then, practice noticing, describing, and replacing your judgements while meditating. Set a timer and pay attention to everything. I like to use the Calm app.
- Finally, catch yourself while thinking.
Yay! Being non-judgmental towards myself helps me feel much better about myself. 🙂
After writing this, I realized that my initial google searches weren’t actually very thorough, and I was able to find some websites that were useful:
- https://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/self-acceptance-self-judgment/ (long, but thorough, and maybe worth a skim)
Do you notice judgments that you have about yourself?