Harmful Judging

This is one of "22 virus definitions" (thought-mistakes that cause ineffectiveness and unnecessary negative emotions).

You have to make judgments all day long. You couldn't function without exercising your judgment. But this same skill can be harmful if it isn't done carefully. You already know judging others can harm them, but we're concerned here with the kind of judgment that harms you. It weakens you in some way or demoralizes you.

For example, let's say you have just started a business. You need to make four appointments per day to succeed. But you just don't get around to getting on the phone, and you're starting to feel frustrated and disappointed in yourself. These are negative emotions. What will you always do from now on when you feel any negative emotions? The antivirus for your mind of course!

What do you do when your computer starts malfunctioning? It starts moving slowly or doing something strange, so you do a virus scan. First find out if you have something in your hard drive that is interfering with your computer.

Same with your own mind. When you feel a negative emotion, it might be caused by a mind-virus (a thought-mistake). So go through the simple process of writing down what you're thinking and then looking at those thoughts and finding the mistakes. When you find a thought-mistake, the moment you recognize it as a mistake, you will feel better. Your determination will come back. Your motivation will resurface.

So you're not making four calls a day. You feel demoralized. So you write down your thoughts:

1. I don't have enough time.

2. I have no self-discipline.

3. I'm a loser.

These are your reasons for the setback. These are your explanations of your failure to make those calls. Number 3 is harmful judging. On other lists it is called "labeling" or "mislabeling." You are judging yourself harshly and it makes you feel bad. The thought, "I'm a loser," makes you feel like a loser. Does that help? Will that help you make your four calls a day? No. In fact, it will make it harder for you to make those calls! You are harming yourself with your judging.

Once you realize this, you will naturally be more wary of thinking this thought in the future, and maybe you'll catch yourself thinking it and have a little argument in your head about it. And every time you do, this thought has less power. It will have less authority over you. When it occurs to you, it will be easier for you to dismiss it.

And I should say here that once you have dismissed a thought, you will not necessarily be cured of ever thinking that thought again. The mind has habits. But by noticing the thought and recognizing it as a mistake, that thought will not so easily bring you down in the future. It has been discredited. It will be easier to dismiss in the future.

If you do not examine your thoughts like this, however, you could try for years to force yourself to make those calls, while still habitually thinking you are a loser when you fail. Your path would be harder, and it would be more likely to make your thought a reality.

Don't take the long road full of suffering. Root out your thought-mistakes and get back to work feeling good.

See the complete list of definitions: The 22 Virus Definitions.

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