When judgement rules your world.

Let me take you with me into a neighborhood supermarket. We walk through the aisles, peak in other people’s carts, wait in the check-out line letting our gaze wander. “Look how many ready-made meals this mom is buying.” “Don’t they know this stuff is full of preservatives?” “This guy doesn’t have a single vegetable in his cart! Stupid.”

Sound familiar? We all have these little voices in our head: the voices that judge and belittle the people around us; the voices that push us to be ‘better’ than everyone else; the voices that constantly compare ourselves to others and decide who is measuring up.

Those pervasive, nagging, harmless little voices. Wait. Did I say harmless?

What inspired this article was the voice I was listening to one day when I was relaxing on vacation with my husband on the beach. You would think on vacation I’d be laid back, without a care in the world. It turns out this inner driving voice was still talking. I remember clearly that I criticized my husband in my head. The criticism wouldn’t stop. It kept pointing out everything he did that was wrong. On and on it went.

Over time I’ve learned to keep the words inside. It’s really not productive to share every judgmental thought you have out loud. But still, he couldn’t help but notice I was tense and abrupt.

Then I woke up. Wait a minute. This is about me – not him.

I’ve been through scenarios like this a million times, like everyone else probably, and I now know that when I get like that – something is out of order with ME. That’s another reason I keep these thoughts quiet – there’s no reason to hurt your partner when you have a problem with yourself.

When I see someone blaming and calling other people names I always think “oh, she or he hurts so much.” It is never, I repeat, never about the person who is being blamed.

So how do you get out of this grumpy blame spiral? I make a concerted effort to pull back and take a long walk, or run, or do yoga. After a while, my angry self runs out of steam and I get back to normal.

The thing is: that anger needs a place to go to. It needs a solid chance to transform. Otherwise you become a walking pressure cooker. No one, including you, can know when those contents will spill over, and that’s no fun to be around. Plus, anger is liver-related. So there is a lot of punch behind.

It may show up as indigestion, bloating, a hurt stomach or pain on your right side just below your rips.
You may have to experiment a little to find out for yourself if your judgmental thinking dissipates with physical activity or if meditation helps.

What works best for me is a mix of both, and having a tolerant husband. 🙂

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Showing 2 comments
  • Bruce

    Thank you for your personal testimony Tiny. Old habits can creep back slowly, and grow to a point we thought we’d long ago left behind us, to a point where we might hardly recognize ourselves. There must be a reason for how we lose track of our inner life and what we’ve become.

    An explanation for this I might productively explore, is how I react to the daily news (judging very harshly). This process of repeatedly condemning (in thought) public figures I disagree with maybe bleeds over to how I react to people a little closer, merely by habit. It must affect my inner life. I’m not sure how to deal with this because I certainly do disagree with a lot of behaviors I read about in the news. Perhaps I could translate my anger and judgement into constructive behaviors, like writing letters to leadership when it’s really important to me and putting the rest aside. Short of effecting the outcome I want, I can at least be at peace knowing I have done something constructive, rather than merely polluting my inner life with thoughts that separate me from beauty that’s always there for me.

  • Tiny Jaentsch

    There is one quick remedy – Don’t watch the news. They’re toxic. I don’t even own an tv.

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