Is your self-judgement sabotaging your goals and keeping you stuck? Do you say or think things about yourself or others like?
My ass is too fat for these jeans…. My belly is bloated and I have a muffin top….. She looks really fat in those pants…. My teeth are ugly…. I have horrible skin….. I have too much cellulite….. If I were skinnier I would be able to wear cuter clothes…. Who does she think she is wearing that….. They should really be eating better.
Do any of these statements or questions sound familiar? Well they are all elements of judgment. So often we judge ourselves everyday from if we did things good enough, to if we did enough, to what we look like. We place value on everything we do and don’t do. We live in a culture of judgment and self-judgment constantly comparing ourselves to others to make ourselves feel better or worse. Any way you slice it or sugar coat it JUDGMENT IS ABUSIVE.
In fact, to me self-judgment is internal domestic violence that we use against ourselves to keep ourselves beneath everyone else. We use it to continue feeling like we do not deserve to be treated well by anyone including ourselves. When judgment is directed at ourselves it kills our self-esteem and keeps us unhappy with ourselves. It is like quicksand keeping us trapped into the “See I am not good enough” belief and then our behavior confirms it, in a variety of different ways. It is a perpetual cycle of abuse that needs to be interrupted.
Recently I talked with many of my friends, some who are other fitness professionals, some are mothers, some are business owners and all of them are just like you and me. It was interesting to hear some of the ways they judge themselves. One thing I found so fascinating that as they were sharing how they judge themselves, I could relate to each and every story even the mothers, even though I am not one, since I worry whether or not I will be a good mother some day or if I am a good enough aunt. All of the women I talked to about this issue of self-judgment had so many commonalities in the ways they were judging themselves.
1) Relationships whether as mothers, wives, or friends. Many of them asked am I a good enough mother? Am I giving my kids the best life, best experiences, best discipline? Am I a good enough wife/girlfriend? Is there something more I could be doing to take care of my husband or my family? Do I spend enough time with my kids, my husband, or my family? Am I teaching my kids enough to be successful? Am I a one sided friend? Do I help others enough? Could I spend more time with my friends? Am I a good enough friend?
2) Body & Self Image issues came up multiple times and in a variety of ways for every woman I talked with. It was anything from what they saw when they looked in the mirror to how their clothes fit. This one was especially hard for some of my fitness professional friends because like me there is the belief we should look a certain way in order to work in this industry. Some of our judgements were: are we lean enough, what if we don’t have a six pack stomach, are our arms are tight & toned enough, do we have enough muscle and do we have too much cellulite on our legs, butt or arms. Cellulite and body fat came up multiple times for all sizes of women. One of my major self-judgments is my legs and this came up for several women I talked to especially when we are wearing spandex, so many of us choose black to limit the opportunity that someone (mainly ourselves) will see it.
Other judgments that appeared for not only myself but several women that I talked to were the wrinkles and lines and bags around our eyes. One of my friends even said she will limit how much she smiles because she is so self judgmental about the lines around her eyes, because she believes when she smiles they multiply. When she shared this with me, I was shocked, I had no idea this was her perception because it was definitely not my perception of her, I love her smile and it always brightens up my day.
Lastly, one of the biggest things that came up for all of the women I talked to and something that I have done frequently – COMPARING OURSELVES TO OTHER WOMEN. Comparison is the death of joy and happiness however this is something we do so often. Have you ever been feeling awesome about yourself and then you see her (you know the one) and all the sudden you feel bad about yourself because all of the sudden you have started comparing yourself to her. This type of judgment is so damaging because honestly we all have different bodies and we cannot look like someone else no matter how we try. We cannot get taller or shorter, grow longer legs or shrink our feet, we can’t change our bone structure or even how we build muscle. The truth is we are all different and unique and this makes us who we are.
3) Business/Professional – What pops up for me and for all the women I talked to no matter what career they were in or how long they had been doing it was “I don’t know what I am doing” along with “I’m not smart enough to pull this off.” and “Why would people want to work with me?” Some other judgments also came up were “How good am I really?” “Look at what so and so is doing, there is no way I can compete with that.” (This also comes up in the body image area) and lastly “Who am I?” So often in business and as professionals we struggle with who we are within the context of our business whether we are building our own or working for someone else. We become super judgmental when we feel insecure and this is something we have all experienced at some point in our lives. I know people who have worked in their field for 20+ years and they have shared that they still at times feel like they don’t know what they are doing. This was a big realization to me that even people I see as experts have insecurities and self-judgments about their abilities regardless of how long they have been doing something. Reassuring and not, at the same time, because I don’t feel so alone anymore with my thoughts.
4) Nutrition – This one was fascinating because there are so many judgments come up around food and many of them are linked to not only our childhood but also all the confusion about what is healthy and when we decide to make changes we want to eat the “right” thing. One of my fitness friends honestly shared with me “I am the worst, I can`t stay away from the Swedish fish even though I know they make me feel really, really energetic and then super depressed.” I have the same struggle around candy, typically I don’t eat it but when my stress gets the best of me I am eating chocolate, red vines, whatever I can get my hands on. Then I feel horrible about myself and say “I should know better. I am a fitness and health professional. I am supposed to be better than this.” However we are all human regardless of our role in the world or our job.
The other thing that came up for some of the women is feeling bad and judging themselves if they ate something that they believe is not the “right” thing. When we start putting values on our decisions including the words “good, right, bad, wrong,” judgment can’t help but punch us in the gut and in turn we feel bad about ourselves and the choices we made.
5) Choices – Many women had issues around choices that they have made and this is something I have done as well. “Am I doing the “right” thing or not.” “I made a “bad” choice.” “I can’t believe I did that.” “I know better than that.” Again here are those value words and they are coming into play about our choices. This is hard because we are so used to judging ourselves and others especially around following the rules, plain and simple it is how we were raised. However, what if your choice was just that and you attached no judgment to it?
I don’t know about you but judging myself can be exhausting and just makes me feel really bad about myself. It definitely doesn’t help me stay on track to reach my goals, in fact it inhibits my ability to reach them. Once I realized that self judgment was limiting my ability to love myself and blocking my ability to reach my goals, I knew things had to change. Self-judgment was only holding me hostage, and the only way to set me free was through self-acceptance and loving myself (really loving myself).
If you have ever thought you should be skinny, look a different way, be more active or something else should be different about yourself or your behavior or choices, then now is the time to step out of self judgement and into self-acceptance. Below are three powerful steps to help you start your transformation from self-judgment to self acceptance and self love:
1) Ask Yourself: “What kind of life could I be living is I wasn’t judging my body, my role in relationships or my choices?”
2) Next forgive yourself for any choices that you made that you feel bad about, you made them and there is nothing you can do right now to change them. Remember you live in this moment right now not in your past or even your future.
3) Make a commitment to yourself to love yourself where you are right now in this moment, not for who your were or who you want to become but for who you are in this moment right now. This will take practice so be patient and kind. If you are confused about how to do this, then treat yourself like you would a young child or even your best friend who needs compassion and support. Every time you start to criticize and judge yourself remember to talk to yourself as you would your friend or that young child who needs encouragement to keep going.
As I answered the question, I started to forgive myself which helped me talk to myself with compassion and encouragement from an honest and loving place. I realized that the possibilities for my life are endless and only I am capable of transforming my life. Self-judgment stops with me and it stops with you. Self-Judgment and Self-Love canNOT live in the same space. Remember, if you are in judgement of yourself, loving yourself is not possible. #chooselove & #StopSelfJudgment