I've realized that I cannot defeat self-judgment with affirmations, visualizations, or any amount of positive self-talk. Here's what I found actually works.

I meant for this post to be about how culture shocked I am after coming back to the first world, but life had other plans for me. On the trip back from Mexico, my skin did not have a good time. Living without air conditioning for six months and then stepping into enclosed air conditioned environments made my lips break out in cold sores. I really felt like hiding and dying. But, instead, I made this video.

This video affected me much the same way as the “Facing a Fear” one a few months ago where I documented myself doing something that terrified me. And yet, this time around, it was easier.

One could conclude that this is because, for me, singing in public is scarier than going out with cold sores because I’ve had to go out with cold sores in the past, whereas singing is more private and optional.

I honestly don’t think that’s why it was easier because to go out in public with a cold sore is a very different thing from making a video, posting it to YouTube, and showing that cold sore to the world (making it more permanent instead of just silently waiting for it to go away).

I have realized that self-judgement is like a plant: it grows when nourished, and it withers when it is starved.

And the only thing that self-judgment needs to survive is action. To get stronger, my inner critic needs me to believe her and act on her advice. Each time I go against her advice, it’s like I deny her a dose of her worst addiction: control. Her grip on me weakens.

The truth is, you can’t think yourself into being courageous. You can’t do enough affirmations to be brave. You can’t sit in a corner and visualize happiness, creativity, joy, love. You have to take action. Talking, thinking, feeling—this is not enough.

Only in action can we suspend our self-judgment and build self-respect.

When we act out of self-judgment and fear, we imagine what we’ve avoided. Those imaginings are delusions. They’re not real. If all we do is follow self-judgment and fear, we will drown ourselves in those illusions. Taking action is a way to return to reality, to get a grasp on what’s real as opposed to what’s in our heads.

I’ve found that self-judgment is a kind of prejudice. And prejudice only thrives when we have two-dimensional labels of people, instead of real experiences of them.

Experience yourself. Set yourself free. Step into the unknown, boldly. Make yourself three-dimensional, so that those little labels can just fall away. Don’t hold yourself back until it “feels right” either. Making those videos would never have “felt right.” It felt horrible. But, afterwards, it felt really good. And the second one felt better than the first.

I think, sometimes, we have to force ourselves to do what’s loving and brave so many times that, eventually, it “feels right” only because it’s become a habit. Don’t wait for courage to “feel right.” It won’t. I honestly believe that the next video that I make will be just as authentic, just as courageous, just as inspiring, and it will be even easier for me to make.

I’m making radical authenticity and courage a habit, and like any habit, it will get easier over time. Will you join me? It’s always best to do these things together. Together, we can unite in love, and leave judgment where it belongs (doing tasks like evaluating the freshness of food, following traffic signals, and paying taxes).

Thank you for reading, my friend. Until next time! Please leave me a comment below to let me know what this post has stirred in your heart. I always appreciate hearing your experiences. ♥

 

(Photo by Sophia D Photography)

My Battle With Self-Judgment

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Comments (6)

  • July 18, 2015 at 2:59 am
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    “Experience yourself. Set yourself free. Step into the unknown, boldly.”

    beautiful message and beautiful woman. thank you for being brave, vironika, because we all need what you have to say.

    Reply
    • July 21, 2015 at 11:40 am
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      Thank you for your kind words, April. I appreciate your support! And I know that you see me so clearly because that courage is so well-cultivated within you too.

      Reply
  • July 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm
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    “The truth is, you can’t think yourself into being courageous. You can’t do enough affirmations to be brave. You can’t sit in a corner and visualize happiness, creativity, joy, love. You have to take action.”

    That really resonates for me. Taking action against any fear is the only way through.

    Thanks for sharing, Vironika.

    Reply
    • July 27, 2015 at 2:01 pm
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      You are so welcome, Alison! I am glad this resonates for you. It’s funny how we all try to take the easy way first, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but for me, courage in action was definitely Plan C!

      Reply
  • August 10, 2015 at 5:51 am
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    This is a fasicinating one, what i would like to follow from you is….” i’m making radical authenticity and courage a habit”….. One of the precious quotes from Bruce Lee, the former actor is ….” do not pray for and wait for an easier situations, but pray for the strength to bear them when it comes…so courage, action, authenticity are strong words i learned your article, thank you so much Vironika.

    Reply
    • August 10, 2015 at 12:03 pm
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      That is an amazing quote! Wow. Thank you for sharing! I am glad to have fascinated you 🙂

      Reply

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