You are the creator of your life. – Tony Robbins
If you feel stuck with your life, if you feel that you want to spice up things, if you have the urge to grow…but something keeps you away…well, you’re like me. Probably.
I’ve been hiding for a lot of time. I mean, I did everything I wanted and I regret almost nothing. But during the last months I faced changes and new challenges that put me in a position, the “I have nothing to lose” one. And I learned a lot.
Let’s dive into this.
I come from a family that shares opinions: even if someone maybe likes it, I got stuck in a judgmental process. When I was younger my parents used to tell me that they disliked that specific outfit that I loved and if this helped me build self-awareness, it probably helped build the fear of judgment too. I love my family. I am grateful for everything they gave me. But this pattern+the fact that at school I wasn’t performing well+the fact that when I was a kid I was really shy made the bomb EXPLODE during my late 20s. We’ll talk about it later.
And that’s ok. I mean. Not a big deal compared to someone else’s problems, right?
Well, in my perception, in my context, in my life, it was a huge problem. It still is sometimes.
Self-Judgment: let’s dive into the meaning.
According to Springer:
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
A lot to deal with, right?
I’m not a specialist, but a few concepts are important for me here:
–Thought individuals have about themselves: you think about yourself a way more than what others do
–Meanings attached to those thoughts: everyone has his own inner vocabulary. Judgment, for me, is a bad thing. The meaning I give to this world when it becomes a thought is “I am not enough and people would dislike me”
–Judgments can become habits: the more you judge yourself, the worse it becomes. I’ve been doing it for 27 years, something big to deal with, hm?
How to recognize if you’re judging yourself.
I found out that I was doing it thanks to therapy. For me, the only way is: to talk with other people. You see yourself in a completely different way. Choose one or two friends of yours and ask them what they like about you. You could be surprised! I found out that I was into Digital Marketing thanks to the sincere feedback of my friends and it became my career! Crazy, right?
So, talk to people. If you spend a lot of time thinking about what others may think about you and judging yourself for not being able to be the friend that your friend needed or for not completing the task that your boss asked you…you’re probably like me. And again, I’m not a specialist, so you may consider therapy. Is the best gift that you can give yourself!
My story is that when I was a kid I had asthma and I had few friends because I was frequently sick and at home. I was shy (I’m an introvert by nature) and I used to listen more than talk. A classmate of mine, years after school, told me that I never talked to her for the first 3 years of school. And in my mind, she was one of the funniest people in the whole class and I remembered her as a friend of mine.
In high school, a teacher used to give us grades from the worst to the best in front of the whole class. I was always the first one to get called and it was mortifying for me. Two years like that told me to be strong, but the other face of the coin is that I started struggling with self-judgment. “what would my classmates think about me” “what if I am not intelligent enough” “what if I’m stupid”…and I could think about it for hours.
So the sum up was a disaster. A pretty disaster. I was amused by myself when I had the strength to recognize this pattern and it has been an amazing process to go through. I am accepting myself for who I am.
My top 3 tips to overcome self-judgment.
Every tip is based on my personal experience. Feel free to try them, but know that they’re not exhaustive.
Challenge yourself and put yourself in a potentially dangerous position.
So, the first thing that worked for me was challenging myself. I decided to expose myself, put my face outside, and stand up for myself. That’s how I opened my YouTube Channel: I wanted a place where I could put myself in a dangerous position. It’s dangerous because people can look at me and my work, judge me, and put what they think into the comments. And I want to be ready for that moment. I want to feel the pain, to recognize it, to be aware of it, and to reverse the process: “Judgments people make about themselves can become habituated as they are used to explain and validate unhelpful thoughts”. I don’t want this. I want to break this habit.
The second problem that I have is: feeling judged by people that I don’t know. I have this feeling that I want them to like me even though I don’t know if I like them because I don’t know them! And what’s more challenging than YouTube to reach someone that you don’t know?
Consume the right content.
We’re connected. Always. I would like to tell you something like “don’t use Instagram” or “don’t compare the pictures that you see online with yourself” but I know that you don’t give a crap about it.
Instead, you can behave in a different way. You can select the content that you consume. And also the content that you post. Stop posting pictures of your butt if you’re afraid of what people are going to say and stop following the Kardashians if you feel bad about yourself when you watch their stories. Start consuming different content, such as Personal Growth Podcasts, motivating YouTube Videos, and mind-blowing blog articles. Spend your time wisely on social media, because what you think is going to be what you believe. And if you keep scrolling through pictures with beach bodies feeling fat (and judging yourself because of that), at one point you’re going to believe it.
Recognize when you’re judging yourself and count the times that you behave in this way.
That’s simple. Or at least it was for me.
Start on a random day of the week and be aware of what you think about yourself for a couple of hours. Every time that you judge yourself, you take note of it. And you go on, improving the hours of awareness and the days you want to do this exercise. You’ll see how many times you behave in this way and data is gonna blow your mind. There were days when I had like 20 judgmental thoughts about myself. How much time do I really want to waste behaving like this?
That’s all for today! Thank you so much for reading this article. If there’s something you want to share with me, please leave it in the comments below!