Our relationship with another person is a direct reflection of our relationship with ourselves. When you find that your self-talk leads toward judgment and criticism of yourself, you are creating a negative relationship with the person you ought to be loving the most, and that is you.
Take a minute here and just see yourself as objectively as you can, and look back at the number of times you put yourself down in your head. Then think of how many times you put yourself down in conversation with others. Think about how often you say, “I’m so fat or I’m not good enough or I’m afraid to…”
These are all judgments created by you about yourself.
Now imagine yourself as a pin cushion, and each judgmental thought or phrase you utter is symbolized by a pin. How many pins are in you right now? There shouldn’t be any, yet most of us indulge in this daily practice of self-flagellation, and we have been doing so for years on end, we don’t even realize we are doing it.
When you judge yourself, you are in fact taking a whip and hurting yourself with each thought and each word you say that puts yourself down.
Take today, and just for today—monitor your thoughts and words to rephrase and rethink and reverse any judgmental thought you may have about yourself and others.
Just for today, be free of any self-criticism, self-deprecation and expectations of yourself. Be judgment-free, just for today. And don’t start judging yourself when you catch yourself putting down another or yourself. Simply change the thought or rephrase what you are saying.
This exercise is a crucial step toward developing self-love and radical self-acceptance. There is only one way to happiness: Love yourself, just for today.
When you suspend or release self-judgment, you automatically stop judging others. It is impossible to stop judging another or to stop being critical of another without doing this for yourself. You will find that the most judgmental people are those who are un-accepting of themselves.
When you begin to accept yourself and see yourself not as broken or damaged goods but as someone who has experienced life, then you begin to see others in the same way. Your relationships, remember, are just mirrors of your relationship with yourself. If you are dissatisfied with yourself, you will always find fault in others. You will always be unhappy, and that is the truth.
The only way to happiness is pure self-acceptance, and this can only come from a deep love for the self. Yet a majority of those reading this will equate self-love with selfishness, which is the farthest thing from the truth.
The only way to treat another well is to treat yourself well. The only way to show kindness to another is to treat yourself with kindness. The only way you can fully accept another human being for just being himself is to accept yourself fully—both in shadow and light.
When you get irritated by others who judge, this is a signal to see it as an alarm that you are denying or suppressing that side of yourself. You are being nudged by the universe to acknowledge that you are that way, and it needs to be accepted and healed.
It is all about perspective. Shift your perspective and reverse the self-judgment. See how quickly judgmental people disappear from your space because you no longer need to be taught the lesson.
So, the next time you judge yourself or another person, know that you can create the shift in perspective within, and the outside will take care of itself. Know that you can learn this one day at a time. So, just for today, free yourself from any thoughts or words that judge yourself or others.
Published Nov. 24, 2015 in Philippine Daily Inquirer Thriving in SouLove column.