Managing the Inner Judge
More specifically, it is any comment or statement that triggers an internal state of feeling diminished. Obviously, this can impact on your confidence and ability to act in the world.
The inner judge’s voice guides your life, consciously and unconsciously, through opinions, advice, warnings, suggestions, beliefs, evaluations, and admonishments about all aspects of your behaviour and your inner life.
The inner judge’s function is to maintain the status quo in two ways: it keeps you away from
what it considers to be dangerous or unmanageable parts of yourself; and, it directs you toward whatever ideals it feels will make you an acceptable, successful person.
Self-judgement is based on the accumulation of all the knowledge you believe you need to be successful, safe, supported, recognised, and loved in the world. Comparison is a very close cousin of self-judgement. It is useful for improving many aspects of our world. However, comparison can become self-destructive when it becomes constant comparison to others at the expense of your own truth and experience.
Positive judgement can make you aware of how your are self-critical but it cannot root out your original convictions about your worth. Turning negative judgements into positive ones can make you feel better but it doesn’t not change the underlying dynamic of (often negative) self-judgement in the first place.
Once you know deeply that you have inherent value and are fully accepting of yourself, then you will begin to free yourself from the need for positive judgement and approval, from others or from your inner judge. Your true inner guide arises spontaneously through contact with and awareness of your own life; this guide responds to the truth of who you are and what is needed.
Four characteristics of Inner Judgement
- A judgement always touches on something you believe is true about you.
- Because you believe there is some truth in a judgement, it generates self rejection rather than self defence.
- If the the content of a judgement is in fact true not just believed to be true it will be even harder to recognise and respond to the attack implicit in the judgement.
- It does not matter if the content of a judgement is true; what’s important is that it attacks you: It undermines your effectiveness, capacity and sense of self.
Useful tips to defend against and diffuse the power of inner judgement
Each strategy detailed below will work better in different situations and some may even seem
counter-intuitive but all weaken the power of the inner judge. Defending is the practice of
actively disengaging the inner judge, which is supported by activating your vital survival strength and intelligence. Its aim of to interrupt, in the moment, your engagement with the attack in order to stop it. Such shifts change your sense of yourself and your relationship to the judgement so the attack is no longer effective.
- Aggression: No! Stop! Shut up!
- Indignation: How dare you speak to me that way!
- Truth: That hurts me or it scares me when you talk that way.
- Humour: I only let bullies say that to me!
- Agreement: You’re right I don’t know what I’m doing.
- Exaggeration: Yes, I’m the most stupid person in the whole country.
- Exposing the judge: Who cares what you think? Who are you to judge me?
- Surrender: Now you’ve made me feel guilty.
- Disinterest: Thanks for the advice. I’ll have to think about it.
- Changing the subject: Have you ever seen such a great shirt?
- Compassion: If I’m really acting that way, it must be painful for you.
- Breathe and Sense: Breathe but do not support the attack internally or externally.
- Active visualisation: Picture in your mind taking some action that halts the attack.
So why not try some of these next time you hear a negative inner judge voice saying you can't do something?