Dealing with Harsh Judgment

Good morning. Two search terms stuck out for me today… “dealing with harsh judgment” and “to acknowledge oneself.” I’d like to address each of these, as they can flow, one into the other.

When is the last time you dealt with harsh judgment from another? Perhaps they criticized you directly, or they criticized your work. Either way, the result you are left with can be the same… embarrassment and shame, loss of self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth, defeat…  In short, the feelings you are left with after being harshly judged are not pleasant.

Old Building at the Wedding

I recently had a judgment made of the photos I took at my nephew’s wedding. Although not a harsh criticism, it brought forth all my “stuff.” All but one of the pics were great… nice composition, exposure, and subject matter. Yet, when I emailed them to another family member, the comment I got was, there were “some” good ones, but there were some that were bad.

First of all, permission was not asked to critique the photos. Yet, the comment came from one who is highly judgmental. Even though I know that person is like that, I resented the judgment of something which gave me great pleasure shooting in the first place. They were actually great pics and all the rest of the family members said so, yet I have the judgment of one-out-of-many stuck in my mind, my heart.

It’s the same all over again from earlier years when I was told by the same person that “a real nurse would be an ICU or ER nurse.” This comment was made in response to discussion about my work in State government, where I was working in the Medicaid department and initiated, designed, and operated a program that allowed technology-dependent Medicaid-eoigible children to be cared for at home with private duty nursing services, rather than stay in the hospital ICU. I needed to be a nurse to be doing this type work.

It was ground-breaking work at the time, and served to bring about great medical, developmental, and social gains for the children. And I was reduced to nothingness when that remark was made. Even today it has the power to grab me and send me to that pit of not being good enough. Nothing I do is good enough for this person because they judge everything so harshly. Nothing is just appreciated for what it is, as it is. They always want more…

I know this person is like this, highly critical and judgmental, and still, I am thrown by the unwelcome judgment. It brings up all the feelings from growing up that I am no good, never good enough. My excitement to share of the pictures plunged. I found myself asking other family members what they thought of the photos, if they were liked and appreciated. Everyone I asked told me they were great. Yet, I still am affected by that comment.

What can I do to get beyond the hurt, the lack of confidence, the anger at this person for their highly critical nature? This is where “to acknowledge oneself” comes in. I have to step in and consciously talk to myself, praising my work, in this case the photos. I have to let myself know that I did the best I could, that all but one of the pics I sent were of good photographic quality. I have to remind myself and accept that  no matter what, this person will find fault with me and what I do.

To get back on kilter, I need to acknowledge myself with kindness, caring, gentleness… I need to hold in my heart the knowledge that I am good enough as I am, acknowledge that my efforts are pretty good. I need to stop judging myself, and I need to grieve the loss in my life of someone to praise me, to encourage me and my talents and instead, give those things to myself.

It hurts though, that ever-present criticism. Even as that hurt arises, I remind myself to acknowledge me and my talents, to look at things with a true sense of reality, rather than allowing me to be colored by the constant negative comments. Having done that, I can now apply the principle of compassion to this person who is always negative, for whom nothing is good enough. I feel compassion for one who cannot see the positive around him in his world. He’s missing out on so much…

When have you received harsh judgment recently or in the past? How did that feel for you? Try to identify those feelings in response to the criticism. Consider the source of the harsh judgment  and know that the judgment is not true, not accurate. Acknowledge yourself for all the good that you are. Talk yourself up and believe it. How do you feel after doing those things? Leave a comment and let us know.


Judgment of Others and Ourselves

In our continued quest for sobriety and inner peace, the next topic in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, is judgment, or lack of it.

The kind of judgment to which I refer goes beyond the assessment of a situation to assure our safety. I am talking about the type of judgment that degrades another, that diminishes them. 

“Why do we judge others so harshly for being who they are, if their actions and behaviors feed their spirit and are not harmful to themselves or others?” The verse goes on to ask why we are so judgmental of ourselves for the same reasons.

Do you suppose we judge others so harshly because we are uncomfortable with ourselves, and, in an effort to feel better, we cut someone else down?

We first judge by appearance, so if someone dresses in a way that is out-of-the-norm, we have deemed them unworthy of our liking or consideration. It is said that in the first seven seconds of meeting someone, we have judged them. How do we have a clue what they’re all about in seven seconds?

Ah, perhaps we don’t care what they’re all about. Perhaps, we use that seven seconds to compare them to us, and we size ourselves up to their looks, so we can feel better about ourselves. Is that what we’re doing?

We don’t have to like everyone; that’s not what I’m advocating. But we can find out who they are inside, in their heart, and then let them be themselves without judgment of whether they’re good or bad people.

And what of ourselves, when we judge ourselves harshly? What’s with that? Often, we are harder on ourselves than we are with others. Instead of doing that, could we be kind and gentle, showing ourselves compassion? 

Today, take a minute to notice when you greet others whether you are judging them. Try instead, to see their soul, who they are as a person and reserve judgment. Take several minutes to reflect upon how you judge yourself, and just for today, try to catch yourself, and stop doing it. See how freeing and peaceful that feels?


Why Such Harsh Judgement, Judgment of Others and Ourselves?

The next topic from my book Opening the Gates of the Heart, A Journey of Healing is absence of judgment.

Absence of Judgment

Absence of Judgment

“Why do we judge others so harshly for being who they are, if their actions and behaviors feed their spirit and are not harmful to themselves or others?” This is the verse from the book.

Judgment: an opinion, criticism, or censure. Certainly, we are continually assessing those around us to determine that we are safe in the world. In that capacity, we make a judgment.

That is necessary and yet, that is not what I’m referring to here. I am referring to harsh and critical judgment, the kind that is damaging to another’s soul, the kind that is back-stabbing, putting another down, demeaning of another.

So, I repeat… why do we persist in such harsh judgement judgment of others if what they are doing feeds their spirit and is not harmful to you, others, or themselves?

Is it fear? Fear that they could harm you? Is that well-founded fear? Or, is it merely being critical of another because they are different than you.

Do we criticize because you we are feeling small and “less than?” I know that’s the case for me when I criticize and judge others, and even myself. I am feeling not-so-good inside.

And what about the ways in which we judge ourselves? The way you judge yourself? Are you harsh and critical? Do you have that inner meanie, that voice of shame? Many of us do. That critical part of yourself serves no good, it destroys your spirit, your soul. It degrades you and prevents you from being all you can be.

How do we dispel that voice that criticizes others and then turns that inward against ourselves? Perhaps, one way is by taking note of and appreciation for another individual, showing them respect for their differences. Ah, yesterday’s topic. That includes taking note of your differences, and celebrating them, by the way.

Perhaps, it is nothing more than noticing when we are critical and judgmental. If we shine the light upon our thoughts or words when we are so harsh, we may realize we are doing it more than we think, and, perhaps, we can cease.

Perhaps, it involves looking at ourselves and our habits, and realizing they could be considered strange to an outsider, worthy of critical judgment. When looked at in that light, perhaps we are more tolerant of other’s differences.

I invite you to go forward in your day and notice how you judge yourself and others, and think: why such harsh judgement judgment of others and of myself?