gavel on deskThere’s no denying it, inherent in our human make-up is the need to judge and criticize. Some of us are more naturally talented at this than others. It’s worth getting curious about how the act of criticizing or judging others affects us. The truth is it rarely – if ever – has any lasting effects of helping us feel better. In fact, it usually has the opposite, like a slow leaking toxin in our minds and bodies. So here’s a practice for today.

See if you can be aware of the impulse to criticize another person. If you notice this impulse, get a sense of the emotion that is underlying it. Is there a feeling of annoyance, irritation or maybe tiredness? Usually the urge to criticize others arises out of some uncomfortable emotion we’re experiencing in the moment. It’s as if the mind’s strategy is to use criticizing to get away from what’s uncomfortable.

This simple practice can help us become more aware of our automatic reactivity and give us the power back to make a change.

The reality is most of us actually criticize ourselves more than other people. We can play this same game. In other words, we can notice when we’re criticizing ourselves (there is likely lots of opportunities). Then we can become aware of the feeling that’s there and break the cycle of self-criticism.

Now, there’s an extra layer I’m going to suggest in helping break this bad habit.

Whether the criticism is toward the other person or yourself, see what’s it’s like to connect to your heart and intentionally wish well for yourself or the other person.

You can say lovingkindness phrases like this to build compassion:

May you be well.

May you be healthy in body and mind.

May you be free from self-criticism.

May you be happy.

Just to review:

Step 1: Become aware of the judgment.

Step 2: Step into the feeling, acknowledge it, become aware of it.

Step 3: Send lovingkindness phrases to yourself or the other person.

Like all things in life, see if you can let any judgments about this practice come and go and let your direct experience be your teacher.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Photo by Bill Bradford, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 6 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.






    Last reviewed: 31 Aug 2011

APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2011). 3 Steps to Break the Self-Judgment Habit. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2011/08/3-steps-to-break-the-self-judgment-habit/

 

Mindfulness & Psychotherapy



Subscribe to this Blog:
Feed


Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner



Archives



Books and CDs by Dr. Elisha Goldstein:
Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind
The Now Effect: How This Moment Can Change The Rest of Your Life

A Mindfulness-Based
Stress Reduction Workbook Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety and Depression
 

Subscribe to this Blog:
Feed


Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner



Recent Comments
  • Cathleen: I love this pocket practice quote, “Only I can destroy my own peace and I choose not to do so.”...
  • lily: I know it will help but it is so hard for me to maintain the discipline of doing it. I lack motivation to stick...
  • BruceHop: What a great straight forward and brief read that encompasses a huge topic. I started transecendental...
  • Kerryn: Thank you for the reminder about where resistance comes from. I’m trying to overcome it right now.
  • Rick: The concept of “mindfulness” is noble and I agree we should strive for more mindfulness. I hear...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!