When you observe your thoughts, what language do you use to describe them? Does the language you use make you feel good or bad about yourself? If it’s the latter, you are probably judging yourself. We all do it. It’s important to remember that your judgements are opinions, not facts. Through our judgements, we bring on a lot of unnecessary shame into our lives. With mindfulness, you can start to heal that shame and become less judgmental.
Observe your thoughts
What judgements do you catch yourself frequently making? Practice observing your thoughts while doing a simple activity, like washing your dishes. What thoughts do you have about doing the dishes? Let your thoughts and judgements come as they are, without trying to change them.
Judgements can trigger our emotions in extreme ways, especially when we are attached to how we think things should be or go. Letting go of our judgements begins with examining the content of our minds and taking a good, hard look at our automatic thoughts.
Change your language
In order to become non-judgemental, you’ll need to alter the language that you use when describing yourself and your thoughts. Some examples of judgmental language are words like right, wrong, good, bad, stupid, lazy, fair, unfair, perfect, bad, terrible, etc. When you notice that you’re using judgmental language, pause, and reword it. Instead of saying things like “I am bad,” say “When I make a mistake, I feel guilty.” Describe the situation and pair it with a feeling word rather than a judgmental word.
Don’t judge your judging
As you become more aware of your judgmental thoughts, avoid judging yourself for judging. It’s an ego-trap, and it is counterproductive. You are just learning to change your thoughts, and doing this is similar to exercising. Your non-judgmental muscle needs to be exercised before it can grow. Be patient and compassionate with yourself, and when you do have a judgmental thought, simply state the facts, which are “That was a judgmental thought”, and move on.
Cut yourself some slack
It’s not the end of the world if you mess up and make mistakes sometimes. You will never be perfect, and that is okay! It is challenging to undo the ways we have spoken to ourselves for so many years. Writing this article has made me become more aware of all the ways I judge myself. I kept thinking “If I don’t finish this article on time, I am bad and lazy.” That made me want to avoid writing altogether, because those judgments place so much unnecessary pressure on me. I would not speak that way to a child, so why am I talking to myself this way? Who do I think I am? Why can’t this be fun? Having that awareness allowed me to be more compassionate and loving toward myself. I was able to approach writing from a place of happiness and joy rather than shame and judgment.
Speak to yourself like you would a child. Look at pictures of yourself from when you were younger and really start to visualize your younger self when talking to yourself. It will help you be more gracious with yourself when you make mistakes.