This 1 Practice Will Make You Stop Judging Yourself

Debby Germino
3 min readOct 27, 2017

So much of what you experience happens in your own mind. You are constantly judging, labeling, comparing, and criticizing. Scientifically, this is called the negativity bias. Your brain was designed to survive and therefore be on the lookout for any dangers that may be a threat. In today’s modern world, this bias becomes more of a hindrance than a help. With the threat of a tiger attack being fairly rare these days, you have to work to overcome that negativity bias in order to experience joy.

The good news is that joy and happiness are always with you.

You just have to accept what is. Here’s an example of what I mean.

The Retreat

Last weekend, I attended a meditation retreat. We spent the entire day meditating. We alternated between sitting meditation and walking meditation. I struggled with the sitting meditation because I found myself continually falling asleep. I would close my eyes, concentrate on my breath and before I knew it, my shoulders were collapsing and my head was bobbing into my chest. I would startle myself awake and chastise myself for “not doing it right”.

I cherished the walking meditation time as I was able to move around and focus my attention where it was “supposed to be”, thereby doing the meditation “correctly”. The next sitting session, the teacher gave some instruction which included a few tips on staying alert and awake. He told us we could practice standing up if it helped. Surely, standing would keep me awake. So I gave that a shot.

Soon I found that I could actually fall asleep standing up. Great! This is going well.

The Instruction That Saved Me

I continued to resist and fight off my sleepiness for most of the afternoon. It wasn’t until we got another instruction from the teacher that something shifted for me.

He told us that part of being present is allowing whatever experience we are having to be there.

Allow it to be.

Whatever is there, accept it.

So as I sat, I began to get sleepy again. But this time I stopped fighting. I felt my shoulders collapse and my head bob and I would drift into a mild dream state and when my neck couldn’t hold my head up any longer, I would jolt awake.

That’s it.

Then I would begin again.

The Epiphany

Instead of criticizing myself, I dropped the judgement and the resistance. I didn’t fight the sleep. I allowed it to be. Nothing changed in the reality of what was happening, yet my experience of it was far more pleasant than it had been. I was now able to practice the meditation unencumbered by my negative mind.

This simple realization felt like an epiphany. Yet expressing it in words seems diminutive. How could such a simple act be so profound?

It is profound because every day your mind is making judgements and altering your sense of reality, usually without even being conscious of it. Waking up and becoming aware of those judgements, opens the door to allowance. As you begin to allow instead of resist, you recognize that so much suffering is created in your own mind.

Accept what is, and watch the resistance fall away.

Now that the resistance is gone, you have given yourself the freedom to respond rather than react. That is the key to living mindfully.

Let go of judgement.

Allow what is.

Respond with intention.

That’s it. No need to overthink.

Simply practice. Begin again. And practice some more.

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Debby Germino

Happiness & Health Improvement Junkie, Meditator, Yogi, Triathlete, Film & TV Editor, Writer/Blogger