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The 2018 Detox Plan

It’s 2018! Who’s ready for a detox?! No. Not some ridiculous food detox. I’m talking about a judgment detox. One of my spirit gurus, Gabrielle Bernstein, released the book, Judgment Detox yesterday, and I’m so excited to dig in. When I discovered this new, non-judgment way of thinking at the end of college, it was genuinely life-changing. I started taking stock of my judgments and figuring out why I made them. This process changed my entire framework of thinking – I’m not exaggerating.

Of course I still find myself judging all the freaking time. It’s a really great tool for distracting ourselves from our own pain and insecurities. Much like we use food, alcohol, or drugs (that escalated quickly!) to distract ourselves from problems we don’t want to face, we can project our pain and fear onto others so that we might be able to find relief for an instant. Unfortunately – that judgment high is very short-lived.

First off – I want to clarify that I’m differentiating the process of judgment from discernment. Judgment implies that there’s a power dynamic at play between individuals or groups where one group has the power to condemn or criticize another. Typically, judgments are a consequence of feeling insecure, fearful, jealous, or simply being ignorant. Contrarily, discernment involves careful consideration using cognitive skills centered in logic and reasoning. It also involves a good deal of intuition, which does not leave you feeling bad, unlike judgments’ origins. Ideally, we use discernment to make most of our decisions, like who to date, what we want to eat, who we should vote for, and what college to attend.

Judgment establishes a better than/less than paradigm. It creates and perpetuates separation, which is an extremely painful world to live in. Gabby says, “all attack is a call for love,” which rings true to me (and every classic bullying story). We judge to keep our own wounds in the dark and/or project them onto others so that we don’t have to acknowledge them ourselves.

Suppressing these wounds will only make you more miserable because what you resist persists, so says Carl Jung. If you're like most of us, you probably start feeling pretty crappy after judging someone or yourself. Subconsciously you know that it arose from a place of fear, not love. It wasn’t the truth.

In high school, I used gossip as a way to connect with people. Gossiping produced a rush of excitement and felt like a real bonding experience with friends. I didn’t realize that this intoxication was an entirely superficial and transient connection rooted in our mutual dissatisfaction and longing for deeper connection. Later, I’d feel horrible about what had passed, but it took me awhile to understand exactly why.

The more I practice non-judgment, the worse I feel when I slip up and start believing in the judgments I make about myself or others – good or bad. You see, as Gabby says, the goal isn’t to get rid of all our judgments (we can’t), but rather the goal is to stop believing and giving voice to them.

Now, I view my judgments with curiosity. Why did I reactively judge a person or situation? What about this person or situation is a trigger for me? It’s an insightful daily practice. And viewing our own judgments with non-judgmental curiosity is key because when we start feeling guilty about judging ourselves for judging, it becomes a cycle that won’t quit and gets us nowhere.

Most of my judgments are about myself. I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not nice enough. I always seem to be lacking. I feel this way when I browse social media feeds and see everyone else’s fabulous lives and careers. I feel this way at work. I feel this way in social situations. Why? It’s because I put too much stock into being accepted by others. I put immense amounts of pressure on myself to be perfect, which obviously never works out and I end up judging myself even more. Recognizing that my self-judgment stems from a need for approval has released some of that burden and allowed me to live a little more care-free and compassionately.

We need a lot less judgment and a lot more curiosity, compassion, and acceptance in order to start healing our wounds, our relationships, racism, discrimination, the current political climate, etc. Basically everything.

So if you’re not already, I invite you to start taking stock of your judgments and triggers. Use them for good. Heal. Empower yourself. And spread kindness.

512-650-8853  |  Austin TX

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