Spiritual teacher Gabrielle Bernstein is the best-selling author of The Universe Has Your Back, Spirit Junkie, and more. Now, she’s tackling the topic of judgment in Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back From Living a Better Life.
Her main thesis in the book is that because of fear, all of us struggle with judgment, which separates us from our true nature, which is love. “I cannot overstate this: Judgment is the number one reason we feel blocked, sad, and alone,” she says, especially in a social media-driven culture that emphasizes measures of social status like aesthetics, numbers of followers, and comparison after comparison. To help, she lays out a six-step process to move past judging yourself and others, based on spiritual principles from Kundalini yoga, EFT (tapping), and more. The first step is to witness your own judgment without judgment, which she starts to explain in the excerpt, below.
Judgment Detox: Witness Your Judgment Without Judgment
This is a beautiful practice. What is asked is that you become more conscious of the ways you separate yourself from others and the world. This step requires an honest inventory of your thoughts, words, and actions. When you look closely at the ways you judge, you may be tempted to judge yourself.
Let’s take that off the table now by accepting that we all judge all the time! We live in a world filled with judgment and no one is a saint. Therefore, let’s accept that we’re all in it together. I know that makes me feel better.
Whenever I judge myself for judging, I try to remember that I’m not alone. I remember that judgment is a pervasive addiction. When I witness my judgment without judgment I can be proud of my willingness to heal and grow. I can applaud myself for stepping out of the darkness and turning on the light. I honor myself for the traumas that led me to be so defensive in the first place. After all, why would I feel the need to judge if I felt safe and complete? It’s the dark beliefs within me that lead me to judge.
I use judgment to take the focus off my own feelings of inadequacy and I project those feelings onto someone else to feel relief. But instead of bringing me the relief I desire, projecting my judgment onto others severs my connection with my truth. After the projection, I’m left feeling
disconnected, fearful, and alone. I feel separate from others and unsafe in my perception of the world. The aftermath of judgment is a dark and scary place that offers me no relief.
Real relief comes when I am brave enough to witness the judgment and call it by its name: fear. The root cause of all judgment is the fear of not being good enough, not being worthy of love, and not being safe. When we become brave enough to look at the judgment and fear, we can begin to heal.
I’ve made a major commitment as a spiritual teacher to show up for the world with love and grace. This doesn’t come easily to me. I often feel wounded, offended, and defensive. But in order to show up for my readers and for myself, I’ve become a master at witnessing my judgment.
This step in the Judgment Detox is the most crucial of the practice. Without your honesty and willingness to look at the darkness you can never step into the light.
From JUDGMENT DETOX by Gabrielle Bernstein. Copyright © 2018 by Gabrielle Bernstein, Inc. Reprinted by permission of North Star Way, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
(Featured Photo: Tessa Rampersad via Unsplash)