During my twenties, I had been successful in business, but my personal relationships never seemed to last. In fact, I was divorced for the second time by my thirtieth birthday.
I look back on who I was then -- a people pleaser, a perfectionist who never felt good enough, and a harsh judge with high expectations. Upon leaving my second marriage, I made a decision to cut the people around me a break and stop beating myself up.
To accomplish this seemingly impossible goal, my friend Kim Youngblood suggested I go to The Esalen Institute in Big Sur (where the human potential movement started in the 1960s), take a workshop, and get on the path to self-awareness.
After combing through their catalogue of workshops focusing on everything from yoga to vision painting to dream analysis to relationships, I chose a weeklong session called ‘‘Letting Go and Moving On” with Mary Goldenson.
During this transformational workshop, we were asked to choose our biggest demon, and then talk to it as if it were a person. My demon was ‘‘Judgment.’’ There I was, sitting with Judgment (a pillow propped up on a chair), telling it I was hurt by its harsh assessment of my actions. After all, I was just a human with flaws like everyone else. I was tired of Judgment making me feel inadequate—and, at times, worthless. I tried to convince Judgment I was just different from everyone else – and that if I was understood – I would be loved.
That’s when the light bulb went on. Raising self-esteem, had to start with me. If I accepted myself, others would, too.
In the days that followed, I formed friendships with a few people in the group who encouraged me to open up and share moments in my life that were, until this point, secrets. When they told me their stories, I made myself listen without prejudice and found I liked my new friends, warts and all. Would I be accepted if I came clean?
On the last day of the workshop, I took a chance and spilled everything about my mother abandoning me, my lost childhood, and my failure to love anyone fully. And you know what? I received acceptance. Now I had a chance to do the same for myself. It all came from seeking support from people who were like me—not perfect, and wanting to feel okay about it.
There is so much prejudice in the world and I believe that it comes from judging ourselves. The shift from self-loathing to self-love is the move we all have to make to achieve an awakening. Here’s how you can quiet your inner judge courtesy of transformation catalyst, Christine Kloser:
Trash Talk/Truth Talk
Step 1: Write down any “trash” voices that you hear in your head. For example: I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, etc.
Step 2: Take a few deep breaths and connect with that quiet part inside of you that speaks to you with love and compassion.
Step 3: On a separate piece of paper, write down the positive, loving words you hear. For example: I am a risk taker, I am an inspiration, I am beautiful, etc.
Step 4: Take the first paper that contained your trash thoughts. Wad it up or tear into little pieces and flush it or burn it. Let go and move on.
The trash we tell ourselves projects out in so many ways. We attract the wrong partners, experience bullying, subject ourselves to negative work situations and carry anger, disappointment and resentment that can translate to fatigue and even illness. In striving to quiet your inner judge, you’ll find a path to acceptance and newfound courage to explore who you really are and what you can bring to the world.
Robin Fisher Roffer is a leading brand strategist and reinvention specialist. Founder and CEO of Big Fish Marketing, she is the author of Make A Name For Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs To Create A Personal Brand Strategy For Success, The Fearless Fish Out Of Water: How To Succeed When You’re The Only One Like You, and Reinventing Yourself: 10 Steps To Shifting Your Career Into High Gear. Learn about her Reinvent Yourself! Workshops at http://relevanceinstitute.com/