Ah yes, our inner Judge. Where does it come from? More importantly how can we stop the incessant judgments?
From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep the ‘Judge’ or ‘Inner Critic’ is often present, judging others and judging ourselves. How we look, what we do, what we did, how we act. Yes, the Inner Judge presides and criticises all of it.
Well firstly, well done if you are able to even identify your ‘Inner Judge’ or ‘Inner Critic’, since most people don’t manage to separate themselves out from their Judge (and that isn’t a judgment!)
Secondly, you’ll need to be tenacious in order to keep observing the Judge from a different perspective or place.
Thirdly, you’ll need to have another place to go in order to watch or listen to the Judge at work.
So where is that other place and can we really shut the Judge up?
If we are able to create the mental discipline of meditation (even 10 minutes a day) then we start to notice the Judge popping up. And from this position we can begin to minimise the Judge’s impact.
We do this by recognising that those judgments are just words: a bundle of words all linked together to construct a sentence.
And that sentence – those words – might not even be true!
Meditation will help give you another place to be in order to observe your Inner Judge at work. By following a daily meditation practice, we learn to develop the habit of observing the mind at play.
It’s rare that we can stop the mind from thinking, but we can step back and watch or listen to its rantings and we call this observation.
For a bit more information about the latest meditation buzzword – mindfulness – that have a look at this article from charity MIND.
More importantly if we manage to witness those judgements, then who are we?
Who is that part of you that watches and listens? Who is it observing your Inner Judge? Maybe that’s who YOU really are! And that YOU could be a far less judgmental, critical YOU. And it might be nice to have more of THAT you running the show.
Let’s call that YOU ‘Self.’ By having more of your Self running the show, you get to feel better! More in control, more relaxed, peaceful perhaps, and definitely less stressed!
Next time you recognise that you’re making a judgment I bet it’s either about someone or something that has already happened, or might happen in the future.
The chances are that when we are judging we have moved out of the ‘present’ and have moved into the future or the past. Just try it and see.
As a guideline, the present will always feel more peaceful and still. The minute we recognise an inner judgement, we can stop and mentally pull ourselves back to that state of inner calmness, back to the here and now, which is the only bit that’s real!
A regular meditation habit will allow us to build up a reservoir of inner peace. We get comfortable stepping into that place of silence and become more familiar with that state. That state is being ‘present’. As a result, we notice more frequently when the Judge yanks hold of us and tries to drag us into past or future. It becomes easier to hear your inner voice of calm and reason that might say something like, “that’s the judge not me. I am calm and relaxed, peaceful and still.’
Sack the Judge
Another way, is to “sack the Judge” the minute you identify him or her by mentally saying something like “No thank you. You’re sacked!” then repeat something kind and loving to yourself like ” Well done. You’re doing the best you can and that’s fine”. (Remember, your subconscious mind believes what it’s told).
Another useful tool for remaining present is to focus on something that is always present in the here and now. For example, the breath.
I like to use the phrase ‘dropping anchor’. Let’s do that now: drop anchor. This is how.
Bring your awareness to your nostrils. Now as you breathe in slowly and deeply count in your mind to four. Hold the breath for the count of two and then exhale through your nose: a nice long slow breath, perhaps to the count of six or even eight. When you can no longer breathe out, pause for the count of two. Now repeat this whole sequence.
Great isn’t it! For just a couple of moments you feel calmer, more grounded and peaceful. Practise, Practise, Practise – and enjoy!
If you want more of this instruction, download the Free Five-Minute Meditation Power Nap and listen to it!
I’ve been really enjoying getting your emails with your comments and feedback. If you want to get in touch, you can email me on Sue@thestresshacker.com or leave a comment on the site.