I recently received an email from a coworker entitled “Brave Enough?”, outlining a twenty-one day challenge to eliminate negative self-judgment. At first, I was skeptical. Self-judgement is something everyone does, and it is very hard to alter the way you think, especially when it concerns the way you think about yourself. Despite my doubts, but curious about the process, I signed up for the challenge. The day before the challenge started, I received the first email. In this email, I was instructed to sign a pledge that I would follow the challenge, decrease my self judgement and become aware of how I think about myself and the world around me. So, I opened up my journal and began a new chapter called “Twenty-One Days to Eliminate Negative Self-Judgement”. Still unconvinced, I wrote out the pledge, signed and dated it.
As I signed this pledge, an interesting thing happened. I was forced to think about why I was doing this challenge, and to reflect on times when my self-judgment hindered me in some way. I had never really given it a second thought, nor considered the damage I was inflicting upon myself. I tend to judge myself in the simplest ways, like looking in the mirror and finding something wrong with my appearance, or by avoiding speaking up and presenting my goals and ideas by thinking they are silly and worthless and immediately pushing them out of mind. After simply thinking about how I personally self-judge, I was able to become more aware of when, how and why I was judging myself. Before the challenge had even started, I was more aware, and suddenly more compassionate towards myself.
For the next twenty-one days in August, I received daily emails containing motivational messages, advice, and nightly guided meditations to assist me in eliminating self-judgement. The challenge was being conducted by Cynthia Occelli. Cynthia is an author, mother and business woman who dislikes labels. She dropped out of high school and lived on welfare for much of her life. She eventually went back to school and completed her law degree, and now works at helping people find their truth and their potential.
As Cynthia’s emails came in every morning, I set aside time to listen to the audio files and read Cynthia’s message before I did anything else. It helped me start my day more mindful of my thoughts towards myself. My skepticism quickly went away. Day by day, I found myself feeling more confident, being more aware of my thoughts towards myself. I produced better work. My friendships and relationships grew stronger. Most importantly, my relationship with myself grew exponentially stronger. My outward attitude towards myself hasn’t changed; I am still as confident as I was before starting the challenge, but my inner dialogue has completely changed. Doing this challenge did not eliminate my self-judgment. In making me more aware of the dialogue, it has changed the tone. The inner conversation continues, but it is kinder and more gentle.
In beginning the journey to heal myself, I have also noticed that other people’s attitudes towards me have changed. Everyone is suddenly more positive. This has made me realize that in healing ourselves, we heal others. We have the power to connect as human beings and change each other simply by changing our own attitudes towards ourselves. We have the power to heal each other by caring for ourselves.