“Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” —Carl Jung
Toxic judgment is debilitating. When you release yourself from its grasp, the change will be alchemic. If you follow the suggestions given here, even for a short time, you will find that your world, your relationships, your health, your self-acceptance, and your ability to attract support will transform exponentially.
So where does judgment come from?
Judgment is an aspect of discernment, and discernment is important in our lives. We identify ourselves by choosing what we embrace and what we are careful not to become. As very young children, we learn who we want to be by identifying with ideas, people, and behaviors that we see around us and then strive to embody. If you were not supported in that process, or if you were excluded from becoming a part of the group you wanted to identify with, your ability to mirror and discern may have become skewed. We often project our lack of self-acceptance onto others, and that can take the form of judgment. When someone judges you in a toxic way, it is more of a statement about who they’re afraid they are than about who you are.
When discernment turns mean, it is toxic—whether you are the victim or the perpetrator. Judgment attaches you deeply to something/someone you don’t like (or parts of yourself you don’t see or want) while your body creates powerful substances in response to those emotions. Have you ever noticed how much more beautiful, healthy, and energetic people are when they are in love—and how unattractive and ill they look when angry? That is not an illusion. The chemicals your body produces in different psychological states dictate how healthy you are, how quickly you age, how much pleasure you experience, and how powerfully you attract or repel others.
Fifty years of research on telepathy have convincingly demonstrated that we “hear” what others feel and respond to it beneath our conscious awareness. Actively choose not to engage in other people’s toxic judgments of you by finding “conversations” you want to have, and, when you’re feeling judged, redirecting your attention to those. Whom would you rather talk to? Your next love or opportunity, or perhaps a friend who needs a boost? Or the person who wishes you no good? This works both ways. Don’t make people defend themselves against you. That is not a winning strategy. Those same people, treated differently, might have gifts to offer you.
Here are some quick fixes to take back your power. They work whether you are the person judging or being judged. The idea is this: remove yourself from the battle and win the war.
To do that, you’ll need a Shield and a Strategy. I suggest you write the following ideas down and work on them once a week just to “clean house.”
1) What makes you feel good about yourself?
2) What do you want to change?
3) In which areas do you feel most vulnerable to judgment—and why?
1) What is the judger really trying to express about themselves through the judgment? This applies just as much to you if you are the one doing the judging!
2) Does the judgment demand a change from you? If so, be a positive part of the change. If not, let it go and focus your energy on the dreams you are building.
3) When you are the victim of toxic judgment, consider what the person might have done instead that would have been unifying and helpful, and then endeavor to respond as if they had done things right. Do the same when it’s you who are tempted to judge.
Can you imagine a society where obesity, mental illness, ineptitude, addiction, jealousy, rage, and other “judged” conditions were treated with compassion instead of derision? A culture of judgment stifles honest expression. It isolates you and others from support that is otherwise abundantly available.
Take back your power. Your opinion of you is the one that counts. You can walk the world as a healer and empower yourself as a leader when you refuse the lure of judgment and instead exercise compassion for others.
Remember, you define your life by where you put your attention. Choose carefully what you let in and what you put out, and you will find that, in a matter of days, your life changes.