2018 has just started which means many of us are trying to start new patterns and behaviors as a way to improve ourselves. One of the things many of us would like to change about ourselves is our tendency to judge others and ourselves. And someone that is going to help us on that challenging journey is renowned wellness expert, Spirit Junkie app founder and best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein. She will be helping you navigate 2018 with her brand new book Judgment Detox. Her sixth book is all about learning how to be less judgemental through mindfulness as well as performing and sticking to new but simple routines to help elevate your life. We spoke with Bernstein about her new book and how to approach 2018. Reserve a copy of the book here.
How does the Judgment Detox work?
“The Judgment Detox helps you become aware of your judgment and provides spiritual and practice tools for healing it. The healing begins when readers understand the ways that they’ve used judgment to avoid their deep-rooted pain. When we address the root cause behind our judgment we begin to truly heal our perceptions of ourselves and the world. Each step builds upon the next and is simple to apply. The other reason this process works is because it gets you into the habit of auditing your judgment daily.
“This six-step practice offers many promises. Petty resentments will disappear, compassion will replace attack, the energy of resistance will transform into freedom and you’ll feel more peace and happiness than you’ve ever known. I can testify to these results because I’ve lived them.
“I’ve never felt more freedom and joy than I have when writing and practicing these steps.”
The Judgment Detox is an interactive process that calls on spiritual principles from the text A Course in Miracles, Kundalini yoga, the Emotional Freedom Technique (aka Tapping), meditation, prayer and metaphysical teachings. Bernstein demystified these principles to make them easy to commit to and apply in your daily life. Each lesson builds upon the next to support true healing. When you commit to following the process and become willing to let go, judgment, pain and suffering will begin to dissolve.
What are some things that make us prone to judging right now?
“Politics is at the top of the list. The 2016 election made the division more present than ever before. Our divided political views are at an all-time high, and the separation is felt throughout the world. Many people have retreated into their corners and are constantly defending against attacks and attacking back. We’ve forgotten our commonality and we focus on what separates us.
“Social media is another reason we’re more judgmental today than we were years ago. Every time we turn to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook the judgment cycle begins. Social media makes us judge others and judge ourselves. We scroll through images and posts and immediately begin comparing ourselves to others and judging their views and choices. The opportunity to judge is constantly at our fingertips.”
Are all judgments a problem? Can we get rid of judging altogether?
“The goal of the Judgment Detox isn’t to abolish judgment. The goal is to no longer believe in it so that you can return to peace of mind as quickly as possible. By practicing the steps in this book judgments can come and go quickly. That’s the goal. When you no longer rely on judgment as a way of avoiding pain, it will no longer be a habit you turn to. There is also an important distinction between judging and discerning, which I detail in the book.”
Why do you think judgment has become such a default setting, both when dealing with ourselves and with others?
“Judgment is an addiction response to deep-rooted trauma. The first trauma is the separation from love. From a spiritual perspective, choosing fear and separation over love dissociates us from our truth. We become fragmented in this state of separation and lose our connection to our inner being. 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.”
Why is judgment, as you write, really about our own self-judgment?
“We repeat a self-judgmental story on loop all day long. I’m not good enough. Why did I make that mistake? I’m ugly. I’m not smart enough. And so on. All these self-inflicted behaviors are just another form of addiction. We unconsciously choose to judge rather than feel the pain beneath our wounds.”
In your book, you outline a six-step process for the Judgment Detox. You say “being the nonjudgmental witness of your judgment is the first step in this detox.” You also have a great sentence: “The practice of witnessing our darkness is a brave and sacred act of love.” Why is this the first step? Can you talk more about the importance of this?
“In Step 1 you’ll get intimate with your judgment, identify the triggers underneath it and get honest about how it makes you feel. You’ll be guided to uncover the stories from your past that spark your judgmental behavior, and you’ll come to understand how all judgment is a disowned part of your own shadow. 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. And, of course, we can’t take an honest inventory if we’re judging ourselves the whole time! So being gentle with yourself and recognizing that you are doing something courageous in order to heal is essential.”
You also talk about the importance EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or tapping. Can you talk about why this is a key part of the Judgment Detox?
“The practice of EFT asks that you tap on specific energy meridians on your body. When these meridians are stimulated, they tell the amygdala (the part of our brain essential to feeling fear) to calm down. When the amygdala gets the message that it’s safe to relax, a major shift can occur in your emotional state.
“I have created specific scripts to address many of our most common trigger issues. As you tap on the specific meridians you’ll be guided to address certain emotions that come up around your stress. This practice will help you heal the triggers, wounds and traumas that live underneath your judgments. This process alone can have a huge healing effect on your life. I teach EFT in the second step of the Judgment Detox so you can feel significant relief from the get-go.”
So, what do you do when you are surrounded by people or in a situation with friends who are being judgy and gossiping?
“When you live the Judgment Detox practice you’ll feel less and less comfortable when you gossip or say anything negative about someone. The reality is that you will slip up, your ego will get the best of you and you’ll want to justify your anger at times. Accept that this will happen, but have a plan for how you’ll clean it up. It’s fine to fall back into old behavior but try to be aware of it.”
What’s a spiritual running buddy, and how can having one help to ensure a successful Judgment Detox?
“A spiritual running buddy can be someone you meet in a yoga class, a person you know through social media, a lifelong friend or even a spouse. All that’s required from this person is their willingness to support you and receive support as you both venture down your spiritual paths.
“When you practice these principles with your spiritual running buddies, you bring momentum to your practice. When one or more gather in the name of love, miracles arise. The collective consciousness of love elevates your practice and supports your commitment. Maybe you set up a local Judgment Detox book club or even host one online through a Google Hangout. If you have friends and family who are on a spiritual path and want to heal their judgment, invite them along for the ride!”