Women’s health expert Emma Cannon on how to stop being judgemental
When we criticise someone, we are also criticising ourselves. People that criticise a lot are usually the most self-critical too. This negativity always comes from a place of lacking and vulnerability. It’s important to break free from this.
Think about how often you criticise others or yourself, either internally or out loud. Don’t seek to judge yourself in this exercise, just observe. The purpose of doing this isn’t to find right or wrong, it is simply to look at the reasons for this behaviour and to try to understand where the need arises from. Where is my insecurity in this dynamic? Where is it hiding? I believe most of our self-criticism, and criticism of others, is actually a strange form of self-protection because it isolates us.
To change this behaviour, we must work to have loving kindness and compassion for ourselves and others. I have always found that writing things down helps me get through difficult issues or dilemmas. You might be practical, for example, and write a list of the pros and cons of a situation. I find writing in an expressive way helps me to understand the emotion behind certain situations. This is not about being more critical, it’s about shifting the focus of your thinking and moving into that of understanding. This is a letter to yourself.
Spend several minutes allowing yourself to be in your most compassionate and kind state. Do not allow judgement or criticism to enter your mind.
When you begin to write, start with an acknowledgment of what you are feeling. Validating feelings is an important part of this process – recognising that the feelings are understood and giving them validity will bring great healing. Finally, when finishing off, remember this is not a list of shoulds and should nots, it is not another way to beat yourself up – it is about finding compassion and kindness.
This exercise is adapted from The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert:
It is not just others’ words that affect us, it is the words that we choose to use that resonate back at us. For instance, if you say ‘that person is ugly and rude’ what you are doing is making those words reflect back at you. The person you are talking to does not immediately think of the person you are talking about, they think of you and the critical words you are using. Here are some pointers:
Emma is an integrated women’s health expert, registered acupuncturist and author emmacannon.co.uk
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