Nurture Newsletter – August 2022

Nurture Newsletter – August 2022

“I Feel Judged.”

Judgement can be a difficult topic to write honestly about as a therapist as one of the core conditions of the counselling practice is non-judgement. Counsellors, by our nature want to offer a safe space for people to share-all, without feeling judged. Turning the mirror on myself and my own judgements tends to first bring self-judgement & opens the door to the good old “Not good enough” voice… because surely I “should” know better, with all my awareness, skills & practice!!! Yet I can still come to conclusions based on theory or based on prior knowledge of a person or situation, rather than staying fully present and curious to the reality of now. Also, I can do the opposite and fail to discern, avoid the red flags and perhaps give the benefit of the doubt based on empathy. But judgement is said to be “the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.” I find this definition dissatisfying for this piece in particular, as it does not describe the conclusions that are come to without careful consideration. I am sure we have all witnessed, experienced and participated in these kinds of judgements. It is so easy to sum up a situation, quickly move on & not actually consider the human beings behind the narrative… because as humans, we very often love to “know”. To “know” offers an answer, offers us authority over a situation and brings the conclusion, but often fails to consider the kaleidoscope of lenses that each situation could possibly be seen through. When we hold the possibility for these lenses to exist, we remain open to learn new possibilities and can provide safe spaces for open discourse to occur.

“Judgement separates us!”

As social beings, every relationship is an opportunity for feeling safe and connected or protective and defensive. Within each relationship are also many opportunities for attunement or misattunement. When we feel seen, heard and understood, we feel safe & secure. If we feel ignored, judged, our opinions are reacted to, or a reaction is caused within us, a perceived lack of safety has presented itself. These fractures in the relationship cause a very natural human response as our nervous system assesses for threat. If the threat feels big enough, or a series of threats have been experienced, the relationship will have difficulty surviving. If the fracture is noticed and acknowledged, reparation can occur as the safety and connection can be restored in the understanding of each other. The difficulty is, our nervous system responds before we consciously do. It senses the threat and can bring us in many directions before we have had time to catch up.

These may look like:

(1) Fight: defensiveness, arguing, stating our case, dismissing the other, pushing our agenda, being opinionated, aggressiveness

(2) Flight: moving away from the other, feeling our pace pick up, faster speech, agitation, avoidance, keeping busy

(3) Fawn: becoming doe-eyed, numbing, appeasing, people-pleasing

(4) Freeze: Unable to respond, feeling flooded by sensation, feeling a sense of shock

(5) Shutdown: collapsing in on oneself, giving up, hopelessness, helplessness, uselessness, there is no point, I cannot be seen or heard, “No matter what I say or do, it won’t change their opinion of me”.

(6) Presence & curiosity: Actually stating either to ourselves or to the other “I feel judged right now”, “What did I say that caused that reaction?” “What just happened there?” “Did I say something that you don’t agree with?” “I’m interested to hear your take on it?” Being curious about the sensations you are feeling in the presence of the moment, noticing your breath, being present to your senses, being present to the other and the environment, just notice using your senses.

Again, all of these reactions are normal human responses and do not deserve shame, guilt or judgement. When we are aware of what is happening we can choose to support ourselves back to the safety and connection within ourselves and within the relationship. Also, slowing down the pace of sharing within relationships offers a chance to regulate our nervous systems in real time, re-attune to each other and support each other to share our very valuable insights. 

“Are we willing to be changed by what we hear

or are we trying to defend our position,

in order to be proven right?”

Judgement seeks to reaffirm our position, using evidence to support our bias and disregarding that which does not. Therefore, the most important aspect of stepping back from judgement is actually being willing to hear that which we may not want to. This can generate feelings of vulnerability as we move into a receptive position. I know! Who has time for more vulnerability these days?!!! It’s much quicker & easier to jump to judgement and it can feel so good to be self-righteous!!! While I jest, the reality is, life and humans are much more complex and nuanced. Relationships require us to slow down, to be willing to listen, to ask for context, to clarify the meaning and take the time with each other because we will not survive in a world of judgement and the disconnection that it brings. We only become threats to each other when we treat each other in this dehumanizing way. So a great place to start is being willing to hear your judgement compassionately. There is absolutely no point in beating ourselves up for being human. It will not make any of us less human, nor does it contribute to our life in any way. 

“Compassion time!”

So let’s begin by opening our hearts to our own vulnerability of being judged and being the judge.

Can I take you back to a time in your life when you felt judged?

Is there a person or group who you feel judged you? 

What are the thoughts associated?

What do you believe about yourself based on these thoughts?

What do you feel as you remember this?

Where do you embody this feeling?

Can you describe that sensation?

Can you bring compassion from your heart to sit with this feeling, to tend to it as if it was a wound being nursed?

How does it feel to nurture yourself in this way?

Only if it feels right, can you send compassion from your heart to the others in this scenario?

Now let’s come from the other side.

Who is the person or group you are judging most at the moment?

What is it about them that you cannot accept?

What would make them acceptable in your eyes?

What would that give you?

How does that make you feel to sit with that which you are seeking?

Where do you embody this feeling?

Can you describe that sensation?

Can you bring compassion from your heart to sit with this feeling, to tend to it as if it was a wound being nursed?

How does it feel to nurture yourself in this way?

What do you believe about yourself or the others based on that feeling?

Only if it feels right, can you send compassion from your heart to the others in this scenario?

Take your time to journal and reflect on your experience. I hope this has helped to open up this topic for you. I have included resources below to help move through the discomfort of the emotions that can arise when reflecting on such topics. Thank you for reading and for doing your part to reduce unnecessary judgement in our world because when we nurture one, we nurture all, there is a massive ripple effect.

Take care,  


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