Thu, Aug. 05

Column: Self-judgment is poison

Marta Adelsman

Marta Adelsman

Self-judgment is a trap, and we all fall into it — some of us pretty frequently!

When I judge myself, it’s like stabbing myself with a knife. I can feel the pain of it in my solar plexus, and it’s nothing short of violent. I used to do it all the time, and I’ve learned to curb it because it hurts!

So can you, with practice.

The first step toward breaking the habit of self-judgment is to become aware when we’re doing it. We step into an inner space that can watch the mind. Every time we do, we strengthen our inner “observer.” The observer looks at our mind/emotions from a higher point of view.

Secondly, once we can see how the mind behaves, we tell ourselves the self-deprecating thoughts are not true. In case you didn’t catch that, our self-judgmental thoughts are not true! They are simply the ego’s attempts to create a feeding frenzy on its favorite food, which happens to be our drama.

When we watch how the mind creates drama, inciting our emotions against us through its self-flagellating chatter, we have moved into a position of choice. The third step... STOP!

We stop the self-critical thought by choosing to shift our focus onto something else. I usually choose what I see, hear, taste, touch and smell right now. We can give the mind a different job - to enjoy the present moment, without critical comment.

We may need to bring ourselves back to the present moment over and over. Eventually, the mind gets tired of trying to lure us into dwelling on what’s wrong about us. When we take away our inner drama, the ego can’t feed on it and get fat. The judgments waste away.

As we observe and let go of putting ourselves down, our inner suffering decreases, making way for joy.

Dr. Marta Adelsman practices as a Life Coach in Communication and Awareness in the Verde Valley. To contact her, visit

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