During one of her recent healing sessions, one of my private clients was telling me about the book The Four Agreements, sharing what she’d gotten from it about something she called “The Inner Judge.”
You know, that voice in your head that says, “You’re not good enough,” and “You messed that up,” or whatever your personal Inner Judge picks on.
(Unless you’re fortunate enough or evolved enough not to have an Inner Judge. Bless you.)
To be honest, as ubiquitous as the book is, I’ve managed to not read The Four Agreements so far, so I don’t even know if “Inner Judge” is Don Miguel Ruiz’s term or my client’s. Nonetheless, that conversation was apparently so important that the next thing I knew, my guides started downloading a bunch of insights about the Inner Judge into my mind right in the middle of my client’s session.
The truth about your Inner Judge
It’s easy to think of the Inner Judge as “Private Enemy #1.” After all, you’re trying to learn to love and accept your whole self, right? And yet here’s this voice in the back of your head – or sometimes very loudly in the front of your head – that’s telling you all of the things that you’re doing wrong.
But here’s the insight that came through with my client: Only when we stop resisting the Inner Judge – when we stop trying to banish it and start accepting it as a part of us – can we begin to see how it helps us. The Inner Judge is not a risk or a threat to our well-being; the Inner Judge is a source of support.
Your Inner Judge shows you where you need to shine more light on yourself. She shows you where you are not in full acceptance of something that’s really awesome about you. When you’re able to see that, you can love your Inner Judge. And dare I say, feel gratitude for your Inner Judge?
Here’s an example: The client I mentioned was judging herself for watching TV during the day when she “should be” working on her business, in her view of things. Other people in the same industry seem to be hardworking and constantly busy, so if she had time to relax then she must be doing something wrong. Mind you, she told me when I asked that she is exactly where she wants to be in her business; all of her goals were on target or surpassed. And yet, the Inner Judge held court every time she watched TV.
What if we go with the idea that this client’s Inner Judge was shining the light on a positive aspect of herself that she needed to love more? What could it be? I suggested that she needed to love the part of herself that was committed to her self-care. She recognizes the importance of downtime and enjoyment and doesn’t need to judge herself for that. Also, she clearly possesses on some level the wisdom that working hard and working smart aren’t the same thing; if she was already happy with what she was achieving, then why work harder when she could be having fun instead?
How can you use these insights to stop the urge to judge yourself? I suggest talking to your Inner Judge…
…which means first you have to notice when you’re judging yourself. This might take practice in being mindful of your inner self-talk.
When you notice the scolding of the Inner Judge, say something like this:
“Thank you for bringing my attention to this. I love you for being so attentive, because now I can love myself even more. ”
See if you can discern what it is that your Inner Judge was bringing to your attention. What positive quality about yourself do you need to love more? If the answer doesn’t come right away, give it time; it might take hours or days, but the answer will appear.
What do you most judge yourself for?
As you think about it now, what positive quality might that judgement be shining a light on?
Thanks for sharing!
Awesome article, Chris! For those of us who “Should” all over ourselves (!!!) as you so perfectly put it, this was great, and I’m committed to embracing my Inner Judge. THIS should be very interesting! xxoo
Thanks, Andi! I can’t take credit for that line about “shoulding” all over yourself. It came from someone else – maybe my IET instructor.
Thanks, Elizabeth! I hope it serves you well.
Did anyone else notice that all of the photos I picked for this article involve disembodied hands? What do you think THAT’S about??
I love this reframe. In this light, the inner judge for anyone who has criticized their body is actually wanting them to love and appreciate the amazing gift of the body. Such a lovely and gentle thought. I love it!
Yes, yes, YES! I love how you applied that, Becca! Something I needed to read for myself. 😉
Very thoughtful and insightful article. I like how you gave an example with watching tv and the inner judge making her feel guilty about it. We have to have give ourselves permission to have downtime (playtime) in order to do our genius work that allows us to shine, because when we shine others shine too and benefit from the work we are putting out into the world. My inner judge normally comes out when I do something the voice in my head that the only reason I feel this fear is because I am doing something that really matters.
“…when we shine others shine too…”
The most beautiful thing I’ve read all day. Thank you, Kwavi!