5 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Succumb to Negative Self-Judgment
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Stress Management Coaching
You are familiar with the concept of self-judgment, right?
Self-judgment occurs when people form an opinion about themselves. The opinion--or opinions--may be based upon thoughts you have about yourself.
In most instances, self-judgment is negative and overly critical. It often prevents us from seeing ourselves in a positive light.
Unfortunately, this can impact every area of our lives, mentally, emotionally, and even physically.
Self-judgment can also have a negative effect on your personal and professional lives. It can even show up in your relationships.
Everyone holds judgments about themselves. So it can help everyone to conduct a thorough analysis of the self-judgment you carry around and work on ridding yourself of the negative chatter in your head once and for all.
This self-analysis can be done by asking yourself questions. The questions will help uncover the roots of the judgment. When that is done, you can take steps to minimize the effect of self-judgment and improve your overall quality of life.
Ask yourself these five questions to get to the root of your self-judgment and eliminate it from your life.
1) What are the judgments you hold about yourself?
Start with identifying the judging thoughts you have about yourself. It is important to map out exactly what judgments you carry with you.
This can be a tedious process but you should not rush through it even if it is painful at first. Using the process of self-reflection, you can uncover what harmful thoughts and feelings you have about yourself.
By extension, you will also see what judgments you have attached to those thoughts.
This particular question can help you go beyond a surface-level feeling of “I always feel bad about myself.” It can help you understand the deeper idea driving that feeling (i.e., “I have nothing to offer others, I am not smart, I am not attractive, etc.).
2) What events might be tied to the judgments you hold about yourself?
As you dive into understanding your self-judgment, another piece of information that you need is knowing where the judgments came from.
Often there are events in the past that are connected to your judging thoughts or feelings. The judgments you have attached to yourself may be tied to those events.
Having this understanding can help you know where to start when trying to address those judgments. You want to uproot them for good and not just treat surface issues.
3) From whom do these judgments stem?
If there were any people who are connected to the judgments you hold it is also valuable to recognize them.
Knowing this furthers your understanding of the root of your judgments about yourself. And it may inform how you behave now if a particular individual is linked to the judgments you hold. It is possible that they could also be a trigger.
Knowing this can equip you to remove them from your life if possible or to remove yourself from their presence. You need to take steps to make sure that they no longer trigger you to think and feel in that manner.
4) What do your judgments keep you from doing?
Understanding the way in which your judgments limit you can also be invaluable.
You cannot see how much your thinking can be holding you back and limiting you until you face it. This means taking a step back to look at the bigger picture.
Really look at how your judgments impact your relationships and decision-making.
Do you pass up opportunities as a result of these negative self-judgments about yourself or your abilities?
Are you guarded in your personal relationships?
You need to understand exactly how your judgments are keeping you limited. They may be holding you back from being the awesome person you were meant to be.
5) How would your life improve if you did not judge yourself in this way?
This question is important to ask. Consider how your life would change for the better if the judgments you currently hold did not exist.
Considering this allows you to focus on the value that can be added to your life if you pursue the elimination of those judgments. This can offer the motivation you need to work through the cause of the judgments.
It could also propel you to get rid of them so you can have a more fulfilled and productive life.
Asking yourself these questions is a good place to start to better understand your negative self-judgments. When you have all this information, you can also understand how your judgments are impacting your life. Then you can take action so that your self-judgments no longer act as a barrier in your life. And they will no longer be able to hold you back in life.
Be all that you can be. Embrace the good about yourself. Be aware of your limitations and shortcomings, but don't let them dictate your life and the choices you make.
Until next time.