Judging others is mean, judging yourself is toxic, yet it’s a habit so many of us have fallen into. So much so that Gabrielle Bernstein has wrote a book about it. But just how guilty are you?
She’s a New York Time best selling author, was called a next-generation thought leader by Oprah and has given dozens of inspirational talks around the world, encouraging us all to live our best lives. Which is a far cry from a decade ago, when Gabrielle Bernstein was running a PR company, promoting nightclubs and addicted to drugs. Since turning her ilfe around Gabby has written five books and this month, releases her latest Judgement Detox, a book dedicated helping us discover why we judge ourselves and others.
We caught up with Gabrielle for an exclusive interview about the real effect judgement is having on both our lives and our mental health.
Why do you think judgement has become such a default setting, both when dealing with ourselves and with others?
From a spiritual perspective, choosing fear and separation over love dissociates us from living our truth. We become fragmented in this state of separation and lose our connection to our inner being. In this disconnected state, we inadvertently turn our back on our inner being and become obsessed with an outward projection of who we think we are. Feelings of guilt and sadness wash over us because deep down we know we’ve turned our back on love. But we can’t fully understand our guilt, so we do whatever we can to avoid feeling it. This is how the cycle of judgment becomes an addictive pattern.
For those who don’t believe this attitude can work, what do you say?
In order for this process to work you must be willing to change your behavior. If you don’t believe it you won’t receive it. Like any personal growth process your willingness is required to make it work.
What can people do to start detoxing their attitude towards judgement in the short time?
They can start with Step One and witness their judgment without judgment. Start by getting intimate with your judgment, identify the triggers underneath it and get honest about how it makes you feel. This authentic audit of your behavior is a necessary first step. Without it, you can’t move on to the next phase of healing. The spiritual path to clearing judgment begins with your honest inventory.
What changes did you notice once you changed your attitude?
When I started to witness how my judgmental nature made me feel, right away I could see why my life wasn’t flowing. Judgment made me feel weak, sad and disconnected. It even caused me physical pain. Once I was able to step away from the judgment and witness how it made me feel, I could truly understand how much it was blocking my happiness.
What one change can people make to make a noticeable difference?
One simple thing you can begin to do today is to witness when you’re judging and as quickly as possible change the subject. Or be silent in the midst of other people’s judgment. Your silence is extremely powerful and it begins the process of the Judgment Detox journey.
In terms of your career, do you feel an expectation to always have everything together?
No. In fact I believe it’s very helpful that I don’t. The more I go through personally the more authentic lessons I have to teach. I’ve committed to always exposing the ways I detour into fear and teach the practices I use to return to love. This is why people resonate with my work. I keep it real.
Did the Oprah and The New York Times and millions of other endorsements add pressure to your career?
No. The endorsements simply reflect my love and commitment for what I do. I feel blessed to do this work and I’m proud of my contribution to the world.
When you look back on the old you, can you believe how far you’ve come and what’s the biggest change?
Yes I can believe it. I’ve worked really hard on my spiritual condition and my personal growth. My willingness to change and my bravery to heal are what I admire most about myself. I’m really proud of my personal recovery and I’m not surprised by how far I’ve come.
Do you think social media has fueled our obsession with judgement?
Yes! Social media has put a magnifying glass on our judgmental behavior. The constant chance to compare is at our fingertips daily. This is a big reason why I feel this book is so timely.
How do you get people to understand that a better life may not always be what they initially think?
I like to teach that obstacles are opportunities for growth. So even if you don’t think things are flowing the way you want you can always look for the miracles. You can choose to see the tough stuff as a chance to grow, learn and heal. This shift in perception makes it a lot easier to show up for difficult times.
Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein (Hay House UK) is available now, priced £12.99