What if I told you that there is one thing that we, human beings, do, that ruins our lives? What if I told you that all over the world, people suffer from one phenomenon that destroys relationships, friendships, parenthood, and our perception of self? What if I told you that this is something that you are suffering from, too?
Before I tell you what this phenomenon is, let me show you how it ruins your life experience.
You know those times when you stand in front of the mirror, reminiscing on the past, endlessly engaged with how things once were? When you’re standing there, actively resenting who you are today?
You know these times when your partner doesn’t make your coffee just right, and you feel unseen, unheard, and disconnected because “how is it possible that after all these years he doesn’t know how I link my coffee?”
You know these times when your friend is late, and you’re telling yourself he or she must be so selfish and couldn’t care less about you? And even more so if they’d been late before? You’re sitting there wondering why is it that no one appreciates you enough to make it on time?
You know these times when your child throws out something you did for them, something you put your mind and heart to, and they just don’t care about it? And you’re left wondering what you did that even your children don’t love you?
If you are familiar with these thoughts, let me tell you that you are not alone. The more people I talk to, the more I allow myself the openness to feel their pure pain, the clearer I see that our internal dialogue is the sole-proprietor of our suffering.
In a word, I would like to call it “judgment.”
Why Do People Judge?
Our brains are marvelous machines. But, like almost any other operating system, they’re buggy… You see, when human beings just started walking on the face of this planet, our brain only had one job, and that is to make sure that we survive. Our ancient brain, which we still share with the reptilians, hasn’t evolved since, and it is still responsible for our survival instinct.
Back in the day, we only had one second to decide whether we were in danger, or whether we were safe. Is the lion sleeping? Is it awake and hungry? If we didn’t make that decision within a millisecond, we wouldn’t have been here, talking about it today.
That part of the brain is still here, with us, governing our fight-flight-freeze mechanism. It is supposed to work well with our frontal lobe, the emotional brain that developed with time and differentiates us from all other creatures upon this planet. But here’s the thing – it doesn’t. There’s a bug.
Our emotional brain is about values, beliefs, desires. It is about love, connection, and attachment. Whenever we tell ourselves that there is the slightest danger to any of these, our ancient brain kicks in with bright red lights and loud sirens, activating our fight-flight-freeze response.
And more often than not – we fight. We fight with ourselves; we fight with our partners; we fight with our children. We live in a world that taught us that the only way to avoid pain is by causing further pain. And that’s what we have been doing since the days of yore.
So What is it About Judgment?
Your life can look differently. It doesn’t have to be this constant fight.
Here’s how it works:
Something happens –> you have a thought about it –> a feeling arises; your feelings are not related to what happened, they are related to what you told yourself about what happened.
You react in direct correlation to your internal dialogue, not to what happened.
Your friend’s bus runs late. It’s not that he or she doesn’t love you.
You’re out of sugar. It’s not that your partner doesn’t care for you.
Your son didn’t like that origami boat you made. It’s not that he doesn’t love you or he’s a spoiled brat.
The things you tell yourself don’t represent what happened.
Can We Stop Judging?
If you’re now sitting there, reading these words, and hating your brain for what it does to you – don’t. If it weren’t for your brain, you wouldn’t be here.
You can’t stop judging, as long as your brain is made up of these two parts, judgment will always be a part of your life. But there is one thing that you can do, a simple thing to make your life beautiful: you can stop believing that your judgments are the ultimate truth.
The moment you divorce the idea that you know everything, you will gain the power to live life with curiosity: you will be able to ask, instead of living according to your assumptions. You will be able to keep the attachment and strengthen the connection with everyone around you. You will be able to love yourself for who you are.
The less we tell ourselves that we know, the more open we are to life, to the world, and our fellow human beings.
The more open we are – the happier we are.
How Do We Do That?
Learning how to listen to our judgments while remaining connected through curiosity is a process, but it is the most worthy process. Taking the first step on this path will allow you to live a beautiful life, to parent your children through love and connection, and to enjoy every day with your partner.
This is what I do with the members of Positive Parenting VIP, the membership group where we translate our judgments to needs and feelings and learn how to communicate positively and effectively with the ones we love most.
If you’re done with fights and power struggles, disconnection, and pain, follow this link and tell me how I can support YOU.
And feel free to join my Facebook group, where I share many tips to living a beautiful life and enjoying every moment of parenthood.
I hope to meet you soon 🙂
*Image credit goes to Riccardo.