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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. July's Theme: "Creating Your Own Reality"
Volume 4 Issue 5 ISSN# 1708-3265
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The Judge in my Head
by Toria Betson

There is a judge who lives inside my head.

She's neither wise, fair, nor compassionate.

I've always been sensitive to the judgmental thoughts of others. I could sense and feel them to the core of my being. When I was younger, I told myself I didn't care. The looks or criticisms others gave me just made me defiant; they were wrong, and 'I would show them'! It seems I was always on the defensive.

Age brought with it a degree of wisdom. I let go of the belief that I was fighting the world. But, once I stopped fighting back, I felt vulnerable. The sensitivity I denied, all those years, came to the forefront in a big way. If someone were to look down at my well-worn shoes, and raise an eyebrow, I no longer became overwhelmed with anger toward them for judging me, I would just plain feel awful. Then, I would feel down for hours, because I allowed myself to feel awful about it.

Because of this, I had a heck of a time just going out in public. Trying to stay shielded, all the time, wasn't always easy, and it just didn't feel 'right'.

Many books I've read say changing your reality begins with changing yourself, that like attracts like. If the people around me are judging me, then they are mirroring something that is in myself; there is a lesson there, which I need to learn.

I grew up with a tremendous amount of criticism, and hearing constant judgments made about others, so it was something I was acutely aware of (in others), and hearing it never failed to make me feel ill at ease. I started listening to my own thoughts, and discovered I could be just as judgmental as those around me. It was a huge shock! I guess I never wanted to see myself that way, so I didn't. It was painful to recognize that I did this to others, especially when I did it to my precious children!

Once I started focusing on this problem, I realized what a huge percentage of my thoughts were taken up with criticism. It was as though every thing and every one had to be judged, in order to categorize and sort the incoming information.

It is important to be able to compare and contrast, to analyze, and sort, but there is a difference between discernment and the kind of judgment that is unhealthy. We can learn to analyze objectively. We can separate the action from the person doing the action.

One particularly nasty manifestation of this kind of judgment is gossip. I've long disliked gossip, yet it's taken me years to stop gossiping, and occasionally I still find myself slipping with my family.

I've spent years curing myself of the judge in my head which critiques others. I'm becoming the kind of person inside, that I want to be, and I do believe it's changing my outer reality. I'm finding that I meet with more smiles. Sure, there are still people out there judging, but I no longer take it personally. I return their looks with genuine compassion. After all, I've been there. Perhaps I'm just viewing the world in a new way, but in doing so, my world has become what I put into it.

Now it's time to stop judging myself.

Have you ever stopped, and listened to yourself think? How often is there a voice saying, "you won't do well" or "you know you'll never have that?"

I think it's harder to hear the judge judging yourself, than it is to hear it judging others. It can seem a very quiet voice. Often I feel it before I hear it. I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach, my shoulders tense, and my jaw feels like there are butterflies in it. Then the feelings of guilt and shame kick in.

When I get those feelings, I have to recognize they came from somewhere, from some originating thought. I used to pass them off as anxiety, but by witnessing my own thought and feeling processes as an objective observer, and by digging deep, I've discovered most, if not all, of my anxiety has it's roots in self-criticism! This discovery was another real shocker to me.

The realization came one day, when I was unsuccessfully trying to make myself sit down and write. I bellowed out loud to the higher powers, "Please help me get past this writer's block!" I then fell to my knees, and tears poured out for at least a couple of hours. I started visualizing relevant scenes from my life. To make a long story short, I have been replaying the same, tired, old, self-critical movie in my head, from the time I was a child, and with the same, tired, old, outcome.

Anxiety came because I had been judging myself as 'incapable, lazy, a procrastinator' The self-criticism became paralyzing. There was an inner voice telling me I had no business writing; I was never any good at it. I still hear those judgments, but as soon as I do, I replace them with the kind of thoughts I want to have, such as, 'so what if I'm not perfect or a great writer, (shrug) if something I write inspires just one person, it's worth it!'

Criticizing myself can become a catch-22, a vicious circle of judging self for judging. It's all too easy to get angry with myself for having those feelings, or for 'failing' and judging myself again. But I'm learning to treat myself with the same compassion and objectivity I try to treat others with.

Once I realize I have judged myself, I try to detach. I then allow myself to hear what the judge has said. When I catch the judge in my head being unfair, I can choose to correct her.

The judge is still in my head, but she's become a quieter voice. I listen to her, I acknowledge the feelings she inspires, shrug my shoulders, and then completely let the thoughts go. This leaves room for new thoughts, the thoughts and beliefs I want to have.

Victoria Betson has been a student of 'all things metaphysical' since her childhood, in the 60's. She lives, creates, and gardens, in her home in the woods, with her husband of almost 20 years, and their two children.

Toria began as an artist, tarot reader, and psychic. Through the process of healing her self, and with the help of her spirit guides and the universe, she found her life taking an unexpected path, that of a spiritual "healer". Word of mouth has allowed her to distantly assist others from around the world, through shamanic journeys, energy healings, and tarot readings. http://www.geocities.com/toriastarot/.

Toria also writes blogs for www.HealthyNewAge.com and some of her other articles may be found at www.saskworld.com.

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