Here is a common human experience: We have a feeling or emotion. We don’t like it or judge ourselves for said feeling or emotion.
I can’t tell you how many times I have gone through failure and rejection and then beat myself up because I am taking it so hard.
“I shouldn’t be this sad”
“It’s not that big of a deal”
“I should be over this”
“It shouldn’t bother me”
“I should be more positive”
Anybody been there? We place so much judgment on how we think and feel. We are a judging species and although we will never NOT judge we can help ourselves out.
In his book “Wherever You Go There You Are,” Jon Kabat-Zinn describes what it might be like to not judge. “Imagine how it might feel to suspend all your judging and instead to let each moment be just as it is, without attempting to evaluate it as “good” or “bad”. This would be a true sillness, a true liberation” (page 55-56). This is what Mindfulness is all about and what we mainly try to accomplish in a more formal meditation practice. In reality what we see is that the judgment that we ADD to an experience is often what makes things WORSE. We must use Mindfulness and this concept of Non Judgment when it comes to evaluating our experience in failure and rejection.
Now, I will be very clear that dropping the judgment doesn’t necessarily CHANGE our experience. It certainly will not make what you are feeling go away. That’s not the point. What we are trying to do is change how we are RELATING to our experience. That’s ultimately what we are trying to do with all of this (processing, feeling, accepting etc). I would much rather relate to my experience of rejection with kindness and compassion as opposed to more judgment. This can drastically alter how we navigate and heal.
One thing that can massively help here is validation. The best thing you can do in tough moments is pause and validate yourself. This is tough because our society as a whole SUCKS at validating. How many times have you opened up to someone and shared your experience only to then be judged and invalidated? My recommendation is to be really careful going to other people in this moment. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is SELF VALIDATION.
As you can see with my above example statements, judgment uses a lot of “Should” or “Shouldn’t”. In Cognitive Behavior Therapy “Should Statements” can be categorized as a Cognitive Distortion or faulty way of thinking. Simply put, SHOULD is the enemy. Our experience is valid. Being rejected, dismissed or failing is hard. The emotional experience you have when it comes is ENTIRELY your own and all of it is valid. Stop “SHOULDING” yourself. We have to stop placing expectations on how we should or should not feel. How we feel is how we feel. There is no RIGHT or WRONG way to feel when we have been rejected or we have failed. How we ACT or BEHAVE with regards to how we feel is a different story but we must start with validating our feelings.
How do you validate to help facilitate non judgment? Use some phrases:
“How I feel is valid.”
“I feel this and its OK”
“It is OK to feel this way”
This goes right in hand with all of the previous principles. Can you see how much kindness and grace we need when facing Failure and Rejection???
This in itself is going to be new territory for many. Take it slow, keep it simple and more often than not we need repetition. Right now, I am having to validate my feelings every single day. I’m not doing it wrong, it doesn’t mean i am bad at validating it just means I am human and this is hard. I guarantee if we keep at this “Dropping the Judgment” our experience AND how we relate to our experience will change.