Getting to Know Our Judge

 In Better Life, Negative emotions

Last week I was playing the new digital Monopoly with my 15-year-old daughter. She had more money and more property than me. I was feeling a little frustrated and noticed I wasn’t having much fun. Then I thought back to when she was just a little girl and how I would try to let her win. I reminded myself that it wasn’t about winning, it was about spending time together. In that moment, my perspective and energy shifted. 

A couple of days ago, my husband asked our daughter and me if we would watch a video on global warming with him. He was wondering what we thought about the controversial opinions and ideas shared by the speakers. After we listened to these interesting perspectives, I was surprised at the passionate and in-depth response from our daughter. At first, I wanted to challenge her on some of her opinions, but I noticed how my husband was encouraging her to share. I reconsidered my intentions and decided that I should focus on being curious.

I wanted to share these two examples of how I’ve been working on noticing my “Judge Saboteur.” This fascinating concept comes from one of my favorite books on Positive Psychology; Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine. One of the things I love about Shirzad’s approach is how he personifies the survival instinct and negative bias in our brains by calling out 10 different saboteurs. You can learn more about each of them in my previous tip.

Shirzad points out that we all have a judge in our heads. This voice loves to judge ourselves with a style that can range from being loud and obnoxious, yelling that we’re not good enough, to whispering that we need to be right to protect our self-worth. It judges situations, like my frustration at being behind in Monopoly. It judges other people, like when I wanted to challenge my daughter’s thoughts on global warming.

The great news is that noticing our judge and labeling it can take away much of its power. And the more we practice tuning in, the easier it gets. It’s already made a big impact on my life!

Give it a try this week. See if you can notice your judge taking over. Is it mean and nasty? Or sly and sneaky?

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