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Overcoming Self-Judgment

Something surfaced recently in my ongoing process of self-growth and development. I realized how often I unconsciously judge myself and as a result, feel inadequate to meet someone else’s expectations.

As most trauma is unconsciously learned in childhood, I realized that due to the drama going on in my early childhood, I learned to adjust what I was being in the world to the moods of my caretakers. As a result, I developed kind of a radar to monitor what was going on around me at any given time.

Children don’t have the power adults do to handle situations. For example, as an adult, if I don’t like what is happening, I can leave. I can speak up for myself. I can fight back if the situation warrants it.

Children, especially small children, don’t have the same power and therefore have to create ego-defense mechanisms to feel safe in emotionally unsafe situations. When children do this and then forget they created this self-protection mechanism, it results in a myriad of anxiety-based behaviors, which if left untreated carries over into adulthood and then gets unconsciously dragged into their personal and professional relationships.

For me, it limited how close I would allow myself to get to anyone whether a male friend or a female romantic relationship. In my 20s, I would unconsciously pull back as soon as I started to feel vulnerable. I would rationalize (rational lies) why I didn’t date anyone for very long and didn’t marry until my early 30s.

Even after marrying, there was an unconscious wall I had around my heart and only let my wife in just so far. My wife also had many similar traumas in her childhood, and neither of us realized how our unconscious emotional pain was manifesting in our relationship. Neither of us realized how the walls we had built around our hearts affected us, and we both self-sabotaged the relationship in different ways. The relationship consequently ended in divorce.

In my professional life, any new manager became the authority figure in my life…which meant that they assumed the parental archetype in my new reality. Because I unconsciously still didn’t feel safe in the world, my radar stayed on high alert to notify me when they expressed disappointment or anger…at which time I might either get defensive or end up taking more responsibility than was mine to take which limited my professional advancement.

All of this was connected to trapped emotional energy; when I felt and released this energy, everything shifted for me. It was crucial for me to have the realization that I had been taking responsibility for so many things that were not my fault and how emotionally exhausting it had been for me.

It also led to a pattern of self-judgment where when something happened, my programmed tendency was to immediately look within for what I had done wrong. Even if the other person didn’t blame me, I silently blamed myself.

If you also do this, you likely say “I should have” a lot. Any time we say “should,” whether we use that word against ourselves or someone else, that should represents a judgment.

Self-Mastery taught me, "My pain was simply the difference between what is and what I want it to be.”

An easier way to live is to observe what happens in any given moment and feel what we feel from the experience. Many people are uncomfortable with feeling their negatively charged feelings such as anger, sadness, disappointment, hurt, embarrassment and shame. If they are not used to processing their feelings by feeling and releasing them, then they typically have years of repressed emotional pain which can feel overwhelming and cause them to project their blame onto the people they perceive to be the source of their pain.

While this point is slightly off-topic, consider that people who are uncomfortable with history teaching the realities of slavery in the United States or the Holocaust in Germany are reacting the way they are because they have decades of generational pain stored in their subconscious related to these topics.

What they don’t understand is that as long as they have the pain stored within them, it will continue to be reflected back until they heal it.

The sad truth is that we can’t avoid, deny, repress or minimize the effects of repressed emotional energy. Emotional energy is subject to the same laws of physics that any other form of energy is…meaning that it cannot be created or destroyed. It is designed to move and if it gets stuck, it is projected out into our outer reality to let us know that it is there.

When we learn how to maturely process our emotional energy, upon its release…we gain wisdom from the experience.

Life then becomes a process of joy and empowerment instead of living in the same prison of repeating the same experiences again and again and again.

It allows us the freedom to make mistakes, learn from them, release the emotion and joyfully move forward in life.

Remember, anytime you catch yourself saying should whether about yourself or someone else, you are stuck in judgment. Pull yourself out of it by talking about what you feel and why with someone with whom you feel safe, allowing yourself to feel the emotions as deeply as possible and then determining how you would like to see that situation go differently.

Practice it as if it was real until it does become your reality.

When you overcome self-judgment, it opens doorways to opportunities to move forward in life with more freedom and peace.

All you have to do…is accept this as your new reality.



© 2023. All rights reserved.

Jeff Scholl is a Certified Spiritual Life Coach through Holistic Learning Centers and a Board-Certified Holistic Health Practitioner through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.


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