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5 Tips to Not Judge Yourself (and Live More Happily)

by Ali

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We all know that being overly judgemental of others makes us a prize asshat! But what about being excessively judgemental of ourselves? Are you your own worst enemy? Those of us who judge ourselves harshly and unfairly are unduly sabotaging ourselves. 

When we feel judged, we feel ashamed, inadequate, worthless, irrelevant, and not good enough, irrespective of who is doing the judging. We can induce these emotions in ourselves through our internal dialogue. 

This article will outline what self-judgment looks like and how it can be detrimental to your happiness. We will discuss five ways to help you stop judging yourself. 

What is self-judgment? 

I used to be particularly harsh on myself. My internal dialogue bullied my spirit. I frequently told myself I was stupid, boring, annoying, and weird. I splattered myself with cruel words and labels to such an extent that I believed them. 

That’s not even the best part. I was so good at judging myself that I almost encouraged others to jump on the judgment bandwagon. I allowed them to criticize my work and verbalize my every flaw and imperfection. 

When we judge ourselves, we have negative thoughts about ourselves, which we associate with a specific meaning. 

For instance, when I told myself I was boring, the meaning I attributed to this was that no one would want to spend time with me. When I judged myself as scatty, the meaning I associated with this was that my boss would get frustrated with me. 

How judging yourself can be detrimental 

According to this study, judgments are “the process of forming an opinion or reaching a conclusion based on available material.

Self-judgment results from negative thoughts we have about ourselves. If we fail to intercept these types of thoughts and continue with the self-judgment patterns, we risk suffering from negative well-being such as: 

  • Depression. 
  • Anxiety. 
  • Anger issues. 

There’s a difference between speaking to ourselves harshly every now and then and constantly judging ourselves unfairly. 

The thing with judgment is that it is often associated with comparison. For instance, I may feel perfectly fine within myself until I decide to waste time scrolling on social media; seeing other people’s highlight reels may leave me feeling inadequate and prompt me to judge myself as dull.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

Ultimately judging ourselves leaves us feeling unhappy and inadequate

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5 ways to stop judging yourself 

You deserve a happy and fulfilling life. While I fully endorse a realistic level of self-awareness, I encourage you to be kind to yourself and not overly judgemental or critical.

Here are five tips to help you stop judging yourself. 

1. Learn self-acceptance  

Self-acceptance is about embracing our strengths and faults without judgment. 

Remember, we are all different. And often, the areas we see as our faults are deeply ingrained in who we are and aren’t so easy to change. For instance, people with ADHD may struggle to complete tasks on time. 

Instead of beating ourselves up and judging ourselves for our quirks, idiosyncrasies, and neurodevelopmental symptoms, we can learn to accept them. When we find acceptance, we alleviate feelings of frustration and anger. 

2. Practice self-love 

They say you can’t expect others to love you until you love yourself. There’s a lot of truth in this. But loving ourselves is a difficult task. 

There are things you can do to practice self-love. When we practice self-love, we invite kindness and compassion into our lives and allow our body to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which keeps us calm and serene.

Self-love invites peace into our lives, and it’s difficult to be judgemental from a place of peace. 

  • Practice meditation and yoga. 
  • Learn some breathing exercises. 
  • Spend time in nature. 
  • Enjoy a hot bath. 
  • Treat yourself to a massage. 

3. Be your own best friend  

None of us would speak to our best friend as we speak to ourselves. What do you think would happen if we learned to be our own best friends? Suddenly we would defend ourselves and highlight our positive traits. We would back ourselves and instill a solid self-belief giving rise to incredible things. 

Next time you are tempted to listen to the negative judgments, spin the thought around and consider what a good friend would say. 

When you beat yourself up for missing out on a promotion, speak to yourself from the best friend position. “You were brave to put yourself forward; I’m proud of you; it didn’t work out this time, but ask for feedback, improve areas of weakness, and try again.” 

Doesn’t that sound better than “You didn’t get promoted because you are stupid, boring, and destined for failure?” 

More to the point, if you speak to yourself in an encouraging way, you will boost your motivation to grow and develop. Keep judging yourself, and you will struggle to rise up. 

4. Beware of the negativity bias 

Some people are predisposed to a negativity bias, which means they are more inclined to learn from and focus on negative information and influences.

Those with a negative bias are more inclined to judge themselves and others, use unhelpful labeling, and compare and criticize. These negative ways of interpreting and interacting with the world create barriers. Most importantly, these barriers prevent human connection, love, and joy. 

Feeding into the negativity bias is the temptation to over-generalize and indulge in negative thoughts. Allowing one lousy experience to represent your future is a sure fast-track path to unhappiness. 

Being negative is a profoundly complex topic. We’ve published an entire article on overcoming negativity bias, and a guide to stop being negative about yourself

5. Stay true to yourself  

I’ve been most judgemental about myself when I have strayed from my path. If you stay true to yourself and keep living authentically, you will find more self-acceptance and feel less at odds with yourself. 

It is exhausting trying to be somebody we are not. I don’t care for rugby, but when I first met my partner, I pretended to be interested in watching the match. This created several micro issues, including my judging myself as phony and dishonest and worrying that his opinion of me would change if I weren’t the rugby fan he thought I was. 

The more honest you are with yourself and the more authentically you live your life, the less reason you have to judge yourself. 

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Wrapping up 

Judging yourself will only ever result in unhappiness and feelings of inadequacy. You are worth more than this, and you deserve to feel confident, valued, and happy. 

Keep our five tips to stop judging yourself handy for the next time your inner critique gets carried away. 

  • Learn self-acceptance. 
  • Practice self-love.
  • Be your own best friend. 
  • Beware of the negativity bias. 
  • Stay true to yourself. 

How do you tame the judgemental voice in your head? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Ali Hall AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Kindness is my superpower. Dogs and nature are my oxygen. Psychology with Sports science graduate. Scottish born and bred. I’ve worked and traveled all over the world. Find me running long distances on the hills and trails.

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