Why do we thinking that self-judgement can help us in life? Or why do we allow it

Women who dare to start the adventure of looking after themselves often share with me how much guilt they feel. Comments like “I can’t go to the gym, I have to ______ “, “I really wish I could, but I ____ ” or “I shouldn’t have ____”.

Well, what if we looked at this a little bit differently and recognised that when we look after ourselves, we actually have more to give other people?

In this post, I am going to share –

  • The Gift of Mindful Self-Compassion
  • What is Self-Hate?
  • What is Self-Judgement?
  • 5 Reasons Why I Started to Judge Myself Less

Let’s get started…

 

The Gift of Mindful Self-Compassion

Before we start exploring self-hate and self-judgement, we need to make sure you have some mindful self-compassion. Therefore I am going to share a few definitions of self-compassion with you.

In his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions Christopher Germer refers to self-compassion as “… simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” 

Dr Kristin Neff in her book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, refers to self compassion as having three components –

  1. Self-kindness – be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental.  
  2. Common humanity – feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering (i.e. experiencing our imperfections). 
  3. Mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain and exaggerating it.

Also, in the The Force of Kindness, Sharon Salzberg wrote – “this kind of compulsive concern with “I, me and mine” isn’t the same as loving ourselves… Loving ourselves points us to capacities of resilience, compassion and understanding within that are simply part of being alive.”

 

What is Self-Judgment?

Yes, this is probably self-explanatory, however just so we are on the same page 🙂 There are many definitions of self-judgment including –

  • “the act or fact of judging oneself” ~ Dictionary.com
  • “Self-judgment results from thoughts individuals have about themselves and the meanings attached to those thoughts. The thoughts, hence, produce related feelings such as anxiety, anger, and depression. Judgments (The process of forming an opinion, or reaching a conclusion based on the available material.) people make about themselves can become habituated as they are used to explain and validate unhelpful thoughts (e.g., If I am harsh on myself, other people will not be as harsh) and they might, accordingly, be intended to protect people against emotional pain, failure and rejection.” ~ Springer

Subsequently, I am glad I started to develop emotional intelligence and self-compassion towards myself.

 

5 Reasons Why I Started to Judge Myself Less

After reading the above on self-judgement (thinking), I am hoping you can see there is a more useful and compassionate way to move towards your dreams. You may even beginning to think self-compassion looks like a good option and easy enough to transition towards. However, the research indicates it is a little harder than it first seems. Well for many people anyway, particularly women.

Why do we find it so hard to show compassion towards ourselves? Maybe the following reasons, which I have included under myths and realities about self-compassion from Dr Neff’s book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself can help us change our perceptions around self-compassion.

Reason 1 – Self-Criticism Can Cause Us to Feel Insecure:

Myth: “If I’m too self-compassionate, won’t I just be lazy and selfish?”

Reality: Despite being socially acceptable, self-criticism is not a helpful strategy to helping us fulfil our potential. It can actually do the cause up to feel insecure and inadequate.

Reason 2 – We Are All Worthy of Compassion:

Myth: “I am not worthy of compassion.”

Reality: Everyone is worthy of compassion – as we have all made mistakes, no one is perfect.

Reason 3 – Know Your Challenges Are Important:

Myth: Self-compassion is just a form of self-pity or self-indulgence.

Reality: Self-compassion means I think my problems are also important and worthy of being attended to as well as your problems. Self-compassion is about being with our challenges and seeing them as they are not numbing them or pushing them away, which is more self-indulgent.

Reason 4 – We Are All Similar:

Myth: We have to earn the right for compassion.

Reality: According to the Dalai Lama, “Human beings by nature want happiness and do not want suffering. With that everyone tries to achieve happiness and tries to get rid of suffering, and everyone has a basic right to do this.. Basically, from the viewpoint of real human value, we are all the same.”

Reason 5 – There Are Other Ways to Motivate Ourselves:

Myth: Self-criticism is an effective motivation strategy 

Reality: self-criticism is not a helpful strategy to feel better despite it being socially acceptable. In fact, it can cause you to feel insecure and inadequate.

 

Starting the Adventure of Practising Self-Compassion

There are many ways to start practising self-compassion and they are unique. For me it has been a challenging process and something I needed support in remembering how to do it. I love the following quote from Brené Brown that I have found useful to remember as I continue to BE whole-heartedly ME

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” ~ Brené Brown The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.

Over to You…

Can you see how knowing these reasons how might be able to help you judge yourself less? Do you have any questions? I hope my short explanation on the reasons why I started judging myself less can help you start to untangle from any self-judgement you may have.

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

 

References:

Brown, B. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. USA: Hazelden.

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and EmotionsNew York: Guilford Press.

Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. New York, USA: HarperCollins Publishers.

Salzberg, S. (2010). The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life With Love and Compassion. Canada: Sounds True Inc.

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