How often do you judge yourself? Maybe you judge the way you look, or the way you said something, or even the way you’re thinking. Judgment can slowly eat away at your soul and leave you feeling empty. Earlier this year I read a book called Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold you Back from Living a Better Life by Gabby Bernstein. I had read one of her other books and knew I was in for some profound learnings. Gabby is a self-development and personal growth teacher. As Gabby would say, these teachings are only for those who are willing. Willing to feel better. Let's look at how releasing judgment can help you on your weight loss journey.
Judgment vs. Discernment
Judgment is different from discernment. The two get easily mixed-up. Judgment leaves a bitter aftertaste in your mouth while discernment is fresh and crisp. Judgment is a knee-jerk reaction coming from a place of perceived power. Discernment is seeing things as they truly are without the filter of personal wounds.
Where does judgment come from?
Judgment is a defense mechanism. It's a form of protection from negative emotions like shame, guilt, and vulnerability. Gabby provides an exercise in the book to help you untangle your judgments. Take a day a jot down every time you judge something or someone, including yourself. Then for each point you list, answer the following questions:
How does this judgment make you feel?
Why do you feel justified in this judgment?
Where does this judgment originate from?
Do you notice any patterns?
When I did this exercise I noticed all of my judgments boiled down to an attempt to make myself feel better than because I didn't feel good enough. At the root of all judgment is a wound. When you heal this wound you will notice your fear of judgment decrease as well as your knee-jerk reaction to judge yourself or others.
Our core wounds that cause us to judge often steam from childhood and are solidified as we get older. As children, we’re observing the world around us and we try to put meaning to what we’re seeing. However, before age 8 we haven’t developed any analytical thinking so the young brain doesn't make the correct associations. This then shapes the way we see yourself and the world as we grow older.
Confirmation bias and homeostatic impulse keep us stuck in patterns, be them good or bad. Once we've formed a belief, we tend to look for more evidence to support that belief and to discount contradictory evidence. Our brain keeps us thinking and acting in a way that’s consistent with what we have done and said in the past.
Judgment and weight loss
Studies have shown that if you do not perceive judgment from others, you are more likely to lose more weight. Do you ever feel judged? Do you judge others? Unfortunately, the two often go hand in hand.
Likewise, when we make decisions from a place of judgment, we are making inaccurate decisions. They do not help to move the dial forward towards our personal goals. Our judgments towards others as well as our fear of judgments act as a bias towards any and all decisions we make. Have you ever found yourself doing something out of character simply because of judgment? Have you noticed how judgment affects your day to day activities?
How to heal judgment
Once you have identified why you judge you can work towards healing this wound. You do that with inner child work and re-parenting techniques. Inner child work and re-parenting is giving yourself everything you didn’t receive in childhood. I can think of a few reasons why I didn’t feel good enough growing up but regardless, now I work towards validating myself, my reality, my emotions, my worth. I speak to myself like a wise loving parent. This is the act of re-parenting. Psychologist Dr. Nicole LaPerera explains how there are four pillars to re-parenting.
Discipline. This healing journey will take time, commitment, and effort. It will ask that you honour your inner child and it’s wants and needs.
Joy. When was the last time you had fun and play in your life? What are your hobbies? How often do you do them?
Emotional Regulation. Tools like journaling, meditation, breathwork, and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) are simple enough to learn and incorporate into your routine.
Self-care. Getting in nature, moving your body, giving it plenty of nutrients and water.
I believe a cornerstone of inner child work and re-parenting is how you speak to yourself. When you notice a judgment can you forgive yourself for reacting out of habit? Can you allow yourself to feel any pain that arises from this judgment with no shame or guilt? Can look back objectively at the origin of a judgment and see it without the filter of who we were at the time? Can you forgive it, it served its purpose in trying help you understand the world around you at the time. Can you thank it for showing you that you don't want to be bound by this limiting belief and from there you can let go of it. Can you thank it for showing your something you previously did not see? Can you release this judgment if it no longer serves you?
What to expect
You won’t stop judging yourself altogether, but your tolerance for it will decrease. You’ll have increased empathy for yourself and others. Change won’t happen overnight. It will be a journey of self-patience and acceptance. Your mind may resist. It’s so used to habitual thinking patterns, when you introduce love and understanding into the mix it will try to make you feel silly for taking on this endeavor. This is normal and expected. Keep going.