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Typically, when we recognize that we judge others at times, we realize that we’re doing it to ourselves as well.  And the degree to which we judge others is usually just a portion of the dose we turn inward.

We cause ourselves a significant amount of pain, lower our energy and limit our potential with judgment. Each time we reach higher, we can hear that voice in the background reminding us of all our shortcomings. Transforming judgment into observation leads to living without regrets…no regret for judging someone else or ourselves.

When we discover how to become the observer instead of the judge, we can learn from noticing what we say and do. We can see what works and where we need to adjust our thoughts, responses or actions. It allows us to give ourselves permission to experiment, leaving behind what doesn’t work and adding in new behaviors and approaches that support us in achieving our goals.

In the past, our judge or inner critic was there to keep us safe and living in the familiar. Inside this box, we think we know what to expect and how to react. Our soul, however, knows we have a bigger game to play than the one called safe.

As an experiment, the next time the judge shows up tell it to  shut up and take a seat in the corner. Just for awhile. Allow us to really listen to the person we were judging if it is an external judgment. Or if it is the inner critic holding us back, then give yourself permission to consider taking a risk.

This week, for example, I attended my first Toastmasters event. At one point during the table topics discussion, the moderator asked if I would like to try giving the 2-3 minute impromptu response to a question posed off the cuff. For half a second, the critic jumped in warning me I might get the answer wrong, not be able to come up with something to say or make a fool of myself. The observer answered for me and accepted the moderator’s challenge. It was a stretch. It wasn’t completely comfortable but I actually had fun. I took the risk and had the reward of a new experience plus some added confidence in my speaking abilities.

What is your relationship with judgment? In what ways, if any, is it costing you? How might you interact differently with yourself and others if you took on the role of observer instead? Spend a few days giving your judge a vacation, knowing that it will always be there to provide you with a quick check in to make sure you calculate what is involved…but once you’ve assessed, in most cases the reality is that jumping in and taking action instead of sitting in the corner with the judge is what will get you into action living your dreams.

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