I wouldn’t consider myself a judgemental person. I work for a human rights organisation so equality with other folk is one of my core values… Yet, when I read Gabby Bernstein’s book, Judgement Detox and observed my judgemental thoughts for a few days, I was shocked. Man, was I in full flow. Not only was I unconsciously judging others, “Wow, he’s making a BAD decision there.” I was judging myself, “Why can’t you have your life together like so-and-so?!” Harsh. This self-judgement gave my inner-critic a platform to run riot as I share in Why my Inner-critic Tried to Sabotage this Website.
Judgement is a natural instinct. It’s critical to our survival. In Kundalini yoga, it is associated with the Negative Mind. This is not our ‘bad’ mind; rather, the voice that helps us critically observe people and situations and discern what is right for us. It protects us. It’s imperative for our survival. But, if not kept in check, it is damaging and dangerous
Our mass media and tabloids are a clear example of the Negative Mind gone nuts. They encourage us to judge others based on how they look, the clothes they wear, where they live, their life-choices, how much money they have, their religion, ethnicity etc. This fuels separation and insecurity, which in turn fuels us to buy more stuff or buy into false lies about our fellow human beings to fill that void. No wonder we feel exhausted, depressed and isolated.
There’s a quote from Sheryl Sandberg I love, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Go for that promotion, quit your job, take a career break, become an entrepreneur, travel, soul seek, speak to someone you admire… Well I recently got thinking, what would I do if I was free from judgement? All of the above? Pondering this felt LIBERATING. What would YOU do?
Below are five tips to free yourself from judgement culminating in a POWERFUL Kundalini yoga practice that will help you nurture your Negative Mind as your friend, not your enemy.
Judgement is a human condition. EVERYONE judges. We’re often unaware of being in a state of judgement. It’s automatic and something we need to change in our collective psyche. So next time you want to take action but are afraid of being judged, accept that you WILL be judged. People can’t help it. But you have agency- you can remove yourself from their judgement. Witness it as a reflection of their condition, not your action. You’re just a trigger.
Observe your judgemental thoughts but give them no weight or meaning. Accept that you are human not infallible. Everyone judges. When a judgement busts its way into your lovely head, chant the mantra, “This judgement does not serve me” and let it go. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Even better, do the Meditation for the Negative Mind outlined below.
One of the five sutras (principles to live by) of a Kundalini yogi is:
“Recognise that the other person is you.”Yogi Bhajan
Next time you make a judgement about another person, complete it with “Just like me”. We often judge to transfer our own insecurities to someone else because deep down we don’t feel good enough. That’s why it’s so important to…
Be your own best friend. Show yourself the compassion you show others. When you notice self-judgement arise, stop and ask yourself, “What would I say to someone I love if they made this judgement about themselves?”
Apply a critical lens… all is not as it seems. Someone who has the perfect life on social media may be hiding behind this facade or a colleague who you jar with might be experiencing personal turmoil. Remove yourself from their behaviours and don’t see them as an affront on you.
This meditation gets results. The first time I did it I focused on two people I was judging. By the end of 11 minutes their appearance began to breakdown and they became silhouettes of light. It was profound. I saw them as women and fellow sisters doing their best… “just like me”. I felt free.
“If we take judging ourselves and others out of our life, we will mostly be living in paradise.”– Yogi Bhajan
Sounds like a place I want to be. What about you?
Check out this post from Gabby Bernstein on How to Heal Judgment and Live a Better Life with the Judgment Detox
I’m Jen Murphy, award-winning blogger and wellness advocate for working mothers. I created Working Mother Wellness as a platform for mums to share our wellness experiences. Sign-up to build your own Working Mother Wellness toolkit. You will receive updates on Kundalini yoga practices, wellness tips, and info on upcoming workshops and programmes.