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The Power of Self-Judgment


We make judgments on a daily basis. It’s human nature to make assumptions or develop opinions about things. We make them about other people and whether we realize it or not, we make them about ourselves. The definition is simple. Self-judgments are opinions that we form about ourselves.

“My stomach isn’t flat enough.”

“I’m not smart enough.”

“I don’t deserve to be treated with love or respect.”

“I’m too (insert other random, harsh self-judgment here).”

The mind is a wonderful and powerful thing. It’s amazing how many negative and degrading things we can come up with when thinking about ourselves. We may not always see them as being hurtful but they surely are. Each time you linger on one of these negative thoughts; you’re buying into a lesser, duller version of yourself. Don’t do it!

Once you start giving in to this negative self-talk it can become hard to stop. Your ability to see yourself in a positive light may become clouded. Eventually, you can start to believe these things so much that they can become core beliefs about yourself. What comes next is that you’ll probably unintentionally start paying more attention to the things in your life that provide evidence for these negative thoughts.

Let’s look at an example: “I’m not smart enough.”

We’ve probably all felt this way at some point. It’s a natural thought, right? Now let’s say you have a test that perhaps you studied for, but didn’t do as well as you thought you would. What thoughts usually follow? “What is wrong with me?” “Why didn’t I pass?” “I must be an idiot, I totally studied.” The list can go on. All of this, you can and probably will use to support your theory that you are not smart enough.

In truth, you probably smart enough. You took a test, you sat in an old chair, most likely cramped between classmates and at an uncomfortable temperature, answered a ton of questions, some of which are meant to throw you off and didn’t do as well as you thought. Now, I’m not saying that tests aren’t important and that you should brush off an unsatisfactory grade. What I am saying is that none of those circumstances define you.

One test doesn’t determine how intelligent you are. The shape of your stomach doesn’t define how beautiful you are. And no matter what you’ve been through or what anyone tells you, you absolutely deserve to be treated with love and respect. 

Pay attention to your thoughts. They tend to make themselves known through your actions in the way you treat others and the way you treat yourself. Learn to catch yourself when you starting making negative self-judgments.

If you can, immediately try turning it into a positive one. If you can’t turn it into a positive one, turn it into a realistic one. Instead of “I’m not smart enough,” a more positive thought is “I failed one test. I’ll spend some time figuring out what went wrong, work on it and score higher on the next test.”

Mind over matter.

About the Author

Geralyn Dexter

Geralyn holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida and a MS in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. She is currently working on a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. She enjoys reading, yoga and art. Within the next three years, she hopes to complete her doctorate and transition from practicing therapy in a community setting to having her own private practice.


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