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  • Writer's pictureflorian hoefling

So who's fault is it...? what a relieving feeling!

Someone to blame that is responsible for the feelings I have, the problem that occurred or the loss that happened.


Or maybe not.

As, of course, the most common culprit we blame is us. Then the voice in our heads keeps on spinning and does not stop judging us.

We might also be the kind of person that immediately finds faults within others (of course the colleague/wife/boss....) or that blames the circumstances (of course corona...).

Immediate short term emotional relieve.

Of maybe not.

However no matter who we put the blame on, it will in any case create negative emotions: anger, regret, shame, anxiety, worry, stress (not a real emotion right?).

Of course, this negative feeling might also trigger responses that eventually result in great achievements and successes.

"The voice pushed me towards..."

But are the negative emotions ROI positive?

In “Mental Fitness” this vicious, head spinning, death spiral of self-judgement or negativity has a precise name.

It is called “the judge”!

The creepy and judging voice that circles in our head.

How to deal with “the judge”?

When I first heard about “the judge” it was instantly clear to me that I have a big judging voice in my head, which sometimes gets out of order. It is not a very aggressive voice, but it is a constant ever present nagging voice which is self-perpetuating. Some people experience very subtle voices, others talk about sad voices. And then I typically rather blame myself and possibly others. The circumstances I rarely blame.

A first great premise about the judge in the “Mental Fitness” concept is: “the judge is by no means good for you”. Of course some will argue the voice is pushing towards achievement. But then again, what is the price you pay? I like the assumption that the voice is not good at all. From my experience when I have the feeling of serenity, calm and laser focus, I am able to achive even more.

So how to deal with the voice?

When I started to agree to the first premise, I started to label the voice in my head as “the judge”. By this I had the feeling to personalized the voice and I was able to separate the voice from my own identity.

“Hey judge, stop now, I do not believe you.”

My second approach how to deal with my judge is to interrupt this judgment-pattern. What I try to do, as soon as I realize that the judge wants to take over, I immediately do a mindfulness practice – a pattern interrupt.

Only a short one, to focus on my breath or another bodily sensation. Often only this small pattern interrupt leads to the necessary space between myself and the judging thought.

“Between stimulus and response lies a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.“ (Victor Frankl)

My final go to strategy is to use blameless discernment or trying to objectivize the situation. The more I try to objectively assess a critical situation without blaming or shaming the quicker I get into proactivity and actual problem resolving.

And if I am lucky, I can quickly see the gift or opportunity that lies in the initially negativity causing situation.

Exactly this last part might be the key to weakening the judge substantially as it will probably never really go away.

And what happens next?

We might end up co-living with a small judge.

Let's use this interaction productively: it will be a constant reminder that it’s the journey we should thrive for, not its destination.

If you want to get a good touch and feel about the concept and also it’s potential, I highly recommend you watch the TED talk of Shirzad:

If you are interested to get a first emotional experience of the concept, I highly recommend you take the saboteur test:

I am sure you will have a high resonance with the results.

For the coaches among you, I highly recommend you do the FREE six weeks program lead by Shirzad. Check out:

Photo credit: Metin Seyrek and BECC

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