Why Your Understanding of Your “Judge” is Wrong

Do you ever…

  1. Beat yourself up over past mistakes or current shortcomings?
  2. Focus on what is wrong with others instead of what is right?
  3. Insist a circumstance or situation is “bad” instead of looking for the opportunity?

How does your Judge show up? Your judge is that inner voice, an inner critic that says things like – it’s never enough, you could do better or could be so much more. Or maybe your Judge is even more brutal and tells you that you’re an idiot, a failure, or will never be like (insert someone’s name here whom you admire or wish you were).

Many high performers and high achievers, including CEOs, claim that they thrive from their Judge and:

  • without it pushing them, they will grow complacent or be lazy
  • without punishing them for mistakes, they won’t learn from them and instead repeat mistakes
  • without being scared about bad future outcomes, they won’t work hard to prevent them
  • without judging others, they will lose their objectivity and not protect their self-interest
  • without the judge making them feel bad about negative outcomes, they won’t do anything to change the situation

Do you relate to any of these thoughts?

Our judge can show up in three different ways and finds fault with ourselves, others and circumstances. When we are unhappy about something, it is because our Judge has been activated. And then a series of other negative emotions typically follow and might include – shame, guilt, anxiety, regret or anger. These are some of the lowest and most undesirable of emotions and they all manifest from the Judge. We all have this universal saboteur and it can be sneaky in terms of how it shows up.

So, if you are content, at peace, feeling fulfilled and happy most of the time – congratulations, your Judge is being kept at bay! And, if you are feeling more stress than you’d like, struggle to maintain your happiness, feel like you’re on a hamster wheel of overwhelm or have relationships that are strained – it’s because your Judge is on overdrive. Our judge focuses upon what is wrong instead of what might be right or just as true.

If you are high-performing and believe your success is generated by your Judge, ask yourself, are you happy? Our judge can certainly give us an edge to perform and achieve success, though this practice is not sustainable. In fact, what’s wrong with the Judge is it has the opposite impact on long-term success and happiness. And when not discredited or dis-empowered, can lead to burnout.

What to do? This is where the application of both Positive Intelligence(PQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) becomes critical. And with practice, can unleash your greater potential by improving performance, relationships and your well-being. How to do it?

The foundation involves 5 strategies, one of which is empathy and one of my favorite’s to use for self and with others. And, it’s key to master, beginning with self, because we can only go so deep to truly empathize with others only after we’ve done so with ourselves.

Challenge Time: When your judge rears its head, what would be the most compassionate thing you could say to yourself or to others? Like Jim Carrey smacking himself silly in the movie “Me, Myself, and Irene,” self-brutality won’t get you where you want to go. Neither will criticizing others or victimizing over a negative situation.

Empathy is a strong skill worth mastering for both PQ and EQ and in this blog, you have some options for further exploration. One is the empathy 101 checklist that appears alongside this blog (simply opt-in to receive). And a second option is to listen to the podcast featured in the link under the “Cool Tools” section, I share more the 3 Rs of empathy.

The Judge no longer serves our needs. Back in cave people days, the judge used exaggerated reacting as a survival strategy. Our brains have not evolved as quickly to keep up with the pace of contemporary threats that are now more psychological instead of physical. The good news is we can do some re-wiring of our brains to learn new skills that serve us better while unleashing greater potential.

Let’s quiet your Judge and leverage your strengths so they are serving you and others. Next month we’ll dive into a different saboteur (based upon popular request, so stay tuned). In the meantime, if you’d like to ask some questions and unwrap how Positive Intelligence could transform your life or your organization, click the green button below to schedule a complimentary strategy session. Or ask me about taking the PQ assessment to find out where you’re being held back.

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