How many times do you think you judge yourself or other people in a day?
Earlier this year, I decided to do a 30-day experiment to observe how and why I judge myself and others.
I started the experiment by first bringing awareness to each time I judged myself or another person (even in my own thoughts!)
During my first day, I could barely keep up with all my judgmental thoughts, actions and statements! At times, I felt as if the majority of my thoughts were judgy!
It was as if my brain was scanning for opportunities to judge (and it was as I would discover later on in my experiment)!
Observations About My Judging Behavior
I have to admit, after a month of observing how and why I judge, it was hard not to judge myself for being so judgy!!
Here are the key observations I made:
- I misjudged how I often I judge! There wasn’t an hour that went by that my brain didn’t want to judge something.
- My judgy behavior said more about me than the people or actions I judged. Reframing my perspective about why I judged helped me learn a TON about myself!
- I was classifying people according to my personal standards and what I believed was the “only right way” to behave. Remember, the only right way is the right way for YOU!
- More of my judgy thoughts than I care to admit were petty and would be hurtful if I said them out loud.
- I’m way more concerned about my appearance than I realized.
- When I judge, it’s not the truth, I’m just making assumptions.
- Comparing myself to others is a default measure of success that only makes me feel bad about myself.
- My brain is kind of a jerk! (Oops! I just judged myself!)
Ugh! Am I really a horrible, insecure, needy and weak person?
Nope! I’m just being human like the rest of us!
Why I Did This Experiment
I’m constantly seeking ways to conserve my limited energy, so I can use it with maximum impact. I work for myself after all and I want to make the best use of my energy!
I had a sneaking suspicion that my judging behavior was a drain on my energy because it’s a negative, low-vibe form of energy. I wanted to put a stop to it!
For clarification, when I use the term “judge” I’m referring to making a comparison between my behavior and the behavior of another person. I’m either judging them against myself or vice versa.
When I use the term “judgment” I’m referring to making a comparison between my behavior and my values. I’m using my values as the standard of comparison and not the behavior or values of another person.
How do you know if you’re “judging”?
Ask yourself, “Would I say this out loud to the person I’m judging?”
And if you’re judging yourself, ask, “Would I ever say this to one of my friends or family members?”
As you might have experienced, constantly comparing yourself to others or judging them against your standards is a huge energy drain. It’s a major downer.
Yet it’s one of the most common behaviors I see among the people I’m trying to help work for themselves. They can’t help but constantly compares their progress against other solopreneurs.
Even if it temporarily makes you feel good about yourself, you’re getting that ego boost at the expense of another person.
I’ve realized living life in alignment with your values requires significantly less energy!
You’ll never feel enough when you compare yourself to others.
You can feel your fullest self when you realize you’re already enough!
How To Judge More Effectively
The first step to judging less is recognizing we are hardwired to judge.
That’s right! You’re born to judge!
Back in our hunter-gather days, making snap judgments was key to our survival. Giving our trust or respect to someone else was often a life and death decision!
We had to constantly scan our environment for threats and we worried about getting kicked out of our tribe for not measuring up!
In our present existence, we’re not under constant threat, so we have the choice to choose how we judge.
When we let our brain fire off judgments with abandoned, we get distracted. We waste our limited attention and energy.
Do you really want to waste your attention on judging someone’s outfit or redirect it back to focusing on growing your business?
Here are some recommendations on how to judge more effectively:
#1 Bring awareness to each time you judge to understand what you can learn from your default judging behavior. What do you judge frequently? Why do you think you do it?
#2 Learn about yourself when you make a judgment. Ask yourself, “If I had to get real honest with myself, what is this really saying about what I want to change about myself?”
#3 When you compare yourself to others, remind yourself to compare your behaviors or accomplishments against your core values instead. Sure, lots of people around you are successful, but is their version of success going to make you happy?
#4 Conserve your limited energy and attention to focus on improving your life and work instead of focusing on others. Leo Tolstoy once said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves.”
#5 When you judge, you make an assumption. Test your assumptions by asking questions, so you don’t miss opportunities!
Don’t judge yourself for judging!
We all do it, but use it to your advantage to conserve your energy and to learn more about yourself as you build your business!