What do you do when you realise that you are the thing that drives you most crazy? That was the case for the girl whose email is below. Here’s an excerpt…
“Gala… I am having the worst time. I just found out that I am the person I hate. I realized how shallow and gross I am and how I see others. I realized how strongly I rely on the physical appearance of things. I realized that I judge people for things that don’t matter. I HATE people who do that. I’ve had people bully me my whole life about stuff like this. I’ve been on the receiving end forever. And today I realized I am just the same. I am them. I hate me. What on earth do I do? How do I change the way I think? How do I change?”
Good question, babe. As is often the case these days, the first place I headed was Facebook. Our little community is full of geniuses!
I asked my babes what their advice would be, and here are some of my favourite suggestions.
Tahlee Rouillon I’ve found whenever I’m the most critical of others is when I’m the most critical of myself. Learning to be kind to myself (especially how I perceive my body) was vital to becoming non-judgemental of others.
Amelia Hill Observe myself, acknowledge it, then see the God Force/Spirit in the other person and start over.
Rhiiannon Dwyer I always remind myself that maybe they feel really beautiful & how awful it is when I feel amazing in something new or daring and someone tears me down. It’s usually enough for me to then want to defend their right to feel amazing to anyone else, including my inner bitch.
Crystal Puckett Look for something good about everyone you meet and/or talk to. And always keep in mind that everyone is human, we’re all struggling with life, and so we’re all the same.
Tanya Hibbard First, I would say “forgive yourself” and realize its pretty normal human behavior and you can train yourself to have new thoughts but its time and work. Every time you have those judgy thoughts, just acknowledge them and choose new positive thoughts. Dont beat yourself up for the judgy thoughts of the future, that will just enforce them. Be gentle with yourself and just work to create a new positive pattern. Its a choice to exercise your positive outlook muscle
Jenni Sands when I find myself doing that, I make myself look for something to appreciate about them – maybe their hair is done really well, or they’re being bold and wearing bright colours or something. I focus on that, and let myself love the person a little bit instead.
Anne-Sophie Scholtens I literally say to myself “stop hating”, because a) it’s not nice towards them and b) it’s not nice towards myself either (surrounding yourself with negativity that is). And then I try to think of a positive aspect of this person. If I can’t, I stop thinking about them altogether.
Rachel MacDonald To start by asking ‘What am I judging in MYSELF?’ or ‘What fear about my appearance/ how people view me am I hiding away? Could I be projecting that onto someone else here?’ Then, taking the steps to move out of fear and attack, and back to love and compassion. Shifting the thought – affirmations, journalling, exploring the opposite thought (‘I love how she looks! I admire her courage to dress like that! Bravo to her for being so bold!’ etc) and looking at the judgment as a friendly messenger and an opportunity to heal, rather than something that makes you ‘bad’ or ‘wrong.’ xo
Rachel Gilchrist Heard What has helped me the most is the realization that everyone has a life just as complex, interesting, and involved as mine. That the people who are bit players in my story are the primary characters in their own. That understanding helps me treat everyone with the dignity, love, and respect I want.
Mikaila K. Roberts Reminding myself that I’m trying to be part of the solution, not perpetuating bullshit.
The Big Girls Little Colouring Book In our womens groups we discuss how to develop self awareness and change thought patterns whilst we colour Mandalas.
I mention this because many people use their heads and thoughts to bring about changes not realising that by getting HANDS engaged and creativity, we access a different part of the brain that is beyond the deep trenches of habitual thinking and responses.
e.g When wanting to release negative patterns of judgement or self criticism we make a personal affirmation poster that carries the intent and also serves as a visual up front reminder, creating externals imagery that only “thinking” about how to change does not.
“I now Release the Patterns That no Longer Serve Me”
Aimee Major Steinberger It helps me to try to think of how I would feel if I was that person.
Robin Anderson Definitely agree with Tahlee – learning to be kind to oneself is key (not an easy thing to do in our culture!). I also find it helpful to remember that I am not my judging thoughts. They’re just thoughts and they’re going to come up again and again. This is also where kindness comes in – instead of judging myself for judging others and having judgmental thoughts, I can choose to be kind to myself and break the cycle.
Lisa Marr Oh man, I do the same. But I still think I’m a good person. We all judge, to varying degrees. As long as you keep those nasty thoughts inside your brain, it’s all good.
Sophie Capern Accepting everyone does it. It’s the way our brain filters and boxes in a way to understand and take in our surroundings at overwhelming speeds. Accept it, accept it’s not accurate, use yourself and experiences of fear of being judged as evidence of lack of accuracy (eg. You having a pimple didnt make you ‘dirty’, neither are they) and then find other aspects of them that are more important/appreciate parts of them that are great and give them a chance to prove that inaccuracy as you hope they would with you. Yeap.
Denise Wine “One sees rightly only with their heart..anything essential is invisible to the eyes ” – The Little Prince
Jeremy Lovelace The diagnosis is 99.9% of the solution.
Sabrina Crockett I often catch myself walking down the street thinking such things and I literally stop in the middle of the street and say in my head or aloud “stop it, don’t be ugly. be a gift to the world, not a burden.” shake my head and keep walking. We can’t always be perfect and we can’t always help our inclinations, but we can practice being the people we want to be. It takes work and effort, but we don’t have to give in to our natural tendencies to judge others. And always remember when your bad thoughts are getting the best of you, you’re only human.
Kathryn Derposaur My best advice is to spend some time people watching, and mentally hand out compliments to people. If at first you judge a woman on her ugly hat, stop yourself and find something you really like about the rest of her appearance. If there’s nothing, make up something about her. Maybe she never, ever forgets birthdays, maybe she’s a pro at crochet, maybe she is a great person to vent your problems to, maybe her casseroles are the bomb. The point is, even if you don’t like her hat, she’s got plenty of other amazing things to her that you may or may not be able to see. Plus, walking around secretly complimenting people feels great. (Being vocal with your compliments feels good too!)
Sarai J. Santamaria Whenever that old habit pops up again I try to smile and send my love to the person or say a sweet ‘hello.’ Usually, I find beauty in everything around me, because I am everything around me and everything around me is me. When I am kind to.others and I feel good thoughts towards others, I also do the same to myself. My spiritual mentor once said “Surround yourself with beauty and beauty will surround you.”
Ann-Louise Simone When you judge others you are actually judging yourself. Because you cannot tolerate certain things and other people you should stop and think what it is that you’re not tolerant of in yourself. So instead of looking outside look inside. When you begin to love your self and accept your own imperfections you’ve taken great strides. This revelation is a sign of real growth, an awareness that propels her to a higher level of consciousness.
Ruwani Weerasinghe When I realise that I’m judging someone based on their appearance, I tell myself to ignore it and never bring it up until I form my own opinion based on their personality and character overall.
Tiarnie Vidler Work on self… Hurt people hurt people…. Judging someone else says more about the person who is judging than the person being judged.. Just being aware and having the willingness to change is a fantastic start…. Blessings xxxx
Kim McCleskey I spent a couple of years going to clubs and making fun of how people danced. One night, I realized that I was not having any fun myself – that my judgement of others was making me self-conscious and unhappy. I started looking at people differently – the people out there dancing were having fun, and it was beautiful. I decided to make myself get out there, ignore the people like me who were making fun of everyone, and enjoy myself. It was scary, because I had been so negative about others, but now I just see happy people dancing and f those who sit on the sidelines passing judgement instead of being happy.
Kim Dodwell always look for something beautiful – like eyes, lashes, smile, then you don’t see the things you might want to judge – I grew up with a g’ma that commented on EVERYONEEE ALLL THE TIIIMMMEE. It was easy to continue that and hard to change…
Karoline Godoy Beauty is more than skin deep. There are many beautiful souls out there who don’t look like what society perceives is ‘beautiful’. I basically just bring the focus back to who they are as a person, I believe its true that when someone says something negative about someone else’s appearance it says more about how that person feels about themselves than anything else.
Grace Mimmo Fitzpatrick When I am confronted by people who challenge my ability to be non-judgemental, I look beyond their packaging and through their years. I see them as a young child adapting to their world – and how their environment and life experiences have shaped them. When I get a glimpse of the workings behind the characters people project themselves to be, I am able to feel compassion – and with that, judgement dissolves.
Kayla Marie Stoffel For every negative comment, come up with at least two positive. It’s so easy to point out the bad as aposed to taking the time to notice the good things. It is human to think negatively of others- it’s almost a protection mechanism to one’s own ego- but it is also human to want to do better. Outweigh the negative with positive and you win.
Nadine Armiger It’s hard to imagine that someone’s appearance is actually going to hurt anyone, so if you find yourself thinking ‘that person looks a bit xyz’ just say ‘who cares?’ breathe it out and let it go.
Nici Finnan I try to personalise them, so I think if that was my friend or family member I’d be mad if someone was being mean. She’s someone’s family or friend so treat others as you’d want you and yours to be treated. I have to remind myself but I do try.
Mele Tamarua i say “thank you for sharing” acknowkedge and pass the thought
Stori Nagel Realize most people who are beautiful have just as many problems if not more than the homely….beautiful people get used for their body, homely people put out because they think no one will love them otherwise. Just understand no one’s life is a cake walk, and if it is….it won’t be for long
Nenuphar Flower Whenever I catch myself being judgemental I stop, breathe and then erase any existing perceptions or ideas of what things mean then look at what I was judging again with a completely blank slate open to accept and perceive fresh what’s in front of me. I think Chopra & Merlin’s idea of perceiving even the exact same thing differently every new time u see it is so important to be implemented in our day to day
Hannah Hogan It happens to me too, like a reflex! When I catch myself doing it, I remind myself that it is not my business or right to judge, send that person a bit of mental love, and replace the negative judgement with a compliment. I also try to shift a potentially judgemental conversation to something more positive – being caught up in that feels pretty lousy too!
Jude Murray Just notice. Be conscious and aware of what’s coming up and be curious about it. Be gentle, don’t judge yourself too. Offer that gentleness to the other person
I absolutely loved these beautiful reminders. Being judgmental is — unfortunately — part of being human, but realising when you’re doing it is a major step towards changing those automatic thoughts. When we start countering those negative thoughts with positive ones, or thanking our inner critic for sharing and then moving on, we can become less judgmental, not only of others, but of ourselves.
Photos by Francesco Ormando.