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Right Now: Get Your Self-Judgments in Check

judgeWe all have them; they’re the most prevalent thoughts in our heads at times. Sometimes I think if our minds only spoke out loud we may not have any friends and we certainly wouldn’t want to be friends with ourselves.

It’s the inner critic that lives in our heads that is constantly judging ourselves and others. This inner critic doesn’t make us feel good and can keep us stuck in cycles of stress, anxiety, depression and addiction. So why do we let this auto-judge run rampant? The reality is most the time we’re not aware enough to keep it in check and even when we are we don’t know what to do about it.

Here’s one trick to get your self-judgments in check:

The first thing you need to develop before gaining freedom from the inner critic is an awareness or acknowledgment of it. That allows a space to sit between your awareness and the judgment itself. In this space you find perspective, clarity and regain the choice to engage a healthier response. This moment is what I call The Now Effect.

Once you’re sitting in that space you can choose to count the judgments that arise.

Note right now if your mind is making a judgment about this idea before even trying it out. That’s numero uno. Great job!

This may sound silly, but counting your judgments has a specific effect. It not only widens the space between your awareness and the judgment itself, but it also impersonalizes it. When you impersonalize something you stop identifying with it and so it loses its hold on you.

One thing we know is that as you intentionally practice and repeat something it starts to become automatic.

Here are two ways to get your judgments in check:

  1. Toward others – It may be easier to start this process noticing judgments of others. Get these in check by setting an intention right now to count your judgments toward other people for one day.
  2. Toward yourself – The next day count self-judgments.

Your mind may wander from this practice at times and that’s perfectly fine. The moment you notice you’ve wandered is a moment of clarity, a moment of mindfulness where you can choose to gently redirect your intentions back to the practice. That’s the Now Effect in action.

Don’t be enslaved by your judgments, give this a shot and let your experience be your guiding teacher.

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

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Judge photo available from Shutterstock.

Right Now: Get Your Self-Judgments in Check

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2012). Right Now: Get Your Self-Judgments in Check. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Feb 2012
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