Judge Judy tells me to stay in my lane. Don’t talk about anything important unless you have the credentials after your name. Who are you to talk about setting boundaries, imposter syndrome, or doughnut economics?
I didn’t listen to my judge saboteur. I let my voice of inner wisdom, my Leader Within, speak louder than my judge’s voice. How did that happen?
We’ve talked about the Judge saboteur before. It’s the universal saboteur found across all cultures. We judge ourselves, we judge others, we judge situations. Our internal judge is typically harsh and critical. Most of us would never treat another person the way our Judge saboteur treats us yet we carry out its imperious demands simply because we want to silence that inner voice. The challenge: the Judge’s voice never quiets down on its own. You need to see it, recognize it, and make peace with it.
The Judge makes its home in the amygdala, where we house our fight or flight response. Recognizing the Judge means transitioning your thoughts from your amygdala to your pre-frontal cortex, where executive decision-making take place. More on how to make that transition in a moment.
Consider that saboteurs, including the Judge, are contagious. Even if you are not aware you are in judgement mode, you project that energy to others. They feel it which, in turn, triggers their saboteurs and gets you into a spiral from which it takes time to exit. A better option, as explained by Shirzad Chamine in Positive Intelligence, is to choose discernment instead.
We can choose to look at ourselves, others, and situations differently, through the eyes of discernment. In the spirit of curiosity and openness, we become more positive. The discernment lens lets us learn more and progress to resolving a challenge. In contrast, the Judge feels gleeful when we stay stuck in a challenge so the Judge can say, I told you so.
Dinner with Friends
Let’s say your friend shows up late to dinner again. The Judge sees it as flakiness, incompetence, or a power play. Discernment views the friend and situation with compassion. Your friend is just as imperfect as you! Discernment asks what happened with genuine curiosity. Maybe something happened at work, home, or on the way to meet you. When you approach a discussion open-endedly, you display different energy (positive not negative) altogether. This energy fuels propulsion to better outcomes.
Changing the Dialogue
We transition to our Leader Within by recognizing when the Judge shows up. In coaching, I usually start with asking clients to notice when it appears. Chances are that patterns will emerge. You learn by identifying when the Judge strikes the gavel.
From there, release the thought. Don’t turn that judgement inward! Just as in the example above, you are imperfect. It means the Judge saboteur will appear even when you do the work. The difference lies in how you choose to respond to it. A Course in Miracles suggests saying the following:
I am willing to see things differently.
Finally, resolve to do better. Choose a course of action that aligns with your values. It’s what creates resonance, that is, alignment of mind, body, heart, and spirit.