Fear festers in dark and isolation. The moment you expose fear to examination in the light, you begin to dissipate its power. Nowhere is this more true than when fear shows up as its relentless ugly cousin, judging.
When I talk about judging or judgment, I’m not referring to having good or bad discernment. I’m talking about judging yourself, other people, and situations in dualistic terms such as good or bad, right or wrong, okay or not okay. When we judge things by such simplistic, restrictive polarities, we limit our options, get stuck, and block ourselves from the highest good. When we can neutralize the judge, we get unstuck, expand our possibilities, and increase our ability to grow and move forward.
When a ship at sea changes course by just one degree, one hundred miles later it is in completely different—potentially smoother—waters than it would have been without that small modification in direction. Internal shifts are even more profound. It is downright miraculous how even a small change in your perception can dramatically expand your perspective.
As human beings, many of us have a robust judging dialogue running in our heads much of the time: This is good for me. That would be bad for you. I was bad to do that. You were good to do that. You were bad to say no. I was good to say yes.
We’re not talking about torturing ourselves over real danger or life-and-death situations here. We’re talking about how much you spent on that blouse. Why you ate that second piece of pie at dinner. Why you tend to become impatient with your youngest child. Why you keep gaining weight. Why, no matter how hard you try, your mother-in-law can find the flaw in anything you do. Why despite his promise to do so, your husband never remembers to put the trash out on Wednesday nights. Judging is a prison of our own making.
We obsess until we’ve turned something inconsequential into a huge, paralyzing, misery-making melodrama. The solution is quite simple: just say no. Next time your brother-in-law or the voice in your head wants to play the blame game with you, just say no! Demonstrate greater creativity and suggest a game of curiosity instead.
Start with a question like this: If I am mistaken about his motivation, what might really be going on? If this isn’t about me, what are three other potential explanations that have nothing to do with me? And if one of those is the real explanation, what role do I choose to play in this situation?
Because whether it’s the voice in your head or the one coming from your older sister, you don’t have to play any role. You can listen politely and say, “I appreciate you sharing that. Let me ponder it and get back to you.” Then go about your business. You do not have to engage in every potential disagreement you’re invited to. Newsflash: in your life, you are the great decider.
Once you get the knack, you’re going to love the feeling of trading judging for curiosity. It’s not a forced march, a different set of rules you must follow to be a “better” person. It’s a gift of grace accepted freely and with gratitude, an honor and a privilege filled with joy and wonder. By discovering possibilities you never imagined, you open the door wide and go bounding through to endless opportunities.
Sometimes, despite copious curiosity, there is no clear, 100-percent-verifiable answer. In those situations, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer taught me to ask, “Which thought moves me forward?” For example, I can’t prove or disprove to a 100 percent certainty the presence of an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Life Force in which everything is sourced and empowered. I find believing in such a Force expands my opportunities and moves me forward in loving, wise, powerful ways, whereas believing life is random and meaningless leaves me depressed and stuck. For me, it’s an easy choice: I choose being fully alive.
Given that judging is a prison of our own making, here is an added bonus, your so-called get-out-of-jail-free card: 95 percent of the time, other people do things for their own reasons. It has nothing to do with me. Even when it looks like it’s directed at me, even when they tell me it’s all my fault, there’s a 95-percent chance it still has little or nothing to do with me. The corollary is also true: even when I think it’s all your fault, most likely it’s not. It’s probably mostly about me. We each carry around so many assumptions, filters and lenses from our cultures, families, past disappointments, and future fears that it’s nearly impossible for any one of us to be the sole cause of anything in someone else’s life.
So if it’s not about me, instead of making myself crazy with destructive head chatter, how about investing my energy in being curious about what it might really be about. Better yet, how about releasing you with love, light, and respect to figure that out for yourself? Meanwhile, I can choose to do the same. Focus my energy on my own life, learn my next lesson, figure out what my next opportunity might be, and keep moving myself forward on my own path. Because, as we learned in exploring respect, I’m here to be the best me I can be. What you choose to make of your own life is completely up to you.
Becoming conscious and claiming your personal power to neutralize the judge will yield immeasurable benefits. You will literally be able to redefine your world, because there is no absolute reality, only the story you tell yourself about what is happening and what it means. Every being, encounter, and experience that comes my way is filtered through a conglomeration of lenses that results in my unique perceptions. These lenses cause me to see my world in a certain way. They are influenced by my unique and complex mix of myriad factors: the family, cultural, and societal norms I was taught; my physical and mental abilities; my personality and natural talents; my birth order; the patterns I deduced from all my past experiences; and the assumptions I’ve presumed concerning what’s likely and possible in the future.
I create my reality in each moment by choosing what I will think, believe, feel, and do based on what my lenses allow. I can choose to look through the lens of fear and remain weighed down and self-imprisoned, or I can choose the lens of love and embrace a life of freedom and flow. No outside event or situation, no other person can dictate my attitude. In my life, I AM THE GREAT DECIDER!
Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2018 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.
What readers say about
the impact of Deborah’s book
“My library is filled with self-help books, stories of personal transformation, and books about coaching, leadership, and psychology. ‘Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!’ combines elements of all of these genres and will lead you on a personal journey to self-understanding, self-acceptance, and self-love. Lest you think that sounds ‘self-ish,’ let me assure you that, as Deborah explains very effectively in her ‘Lesson of the Oxygen Mask’ in part I, chapter 2, those qualities are essential for every aspect of your life, including your relationships with others. The best gift that you can give yourself—and others—is the gift of self-love, which leads to an authentic life of truly expressing yourself in all that you do. This work and the Discovery Framework that she so eloquently describes are powerful and transformational. Deborah is a guide with ultimate credibility—not only has she mastered coaching skills, but she’s wise and intuitive, she’s been on this path herself, and she freely and generously desires to share the wisdom she’s learned on that journey. Through her book, we all now have her words and wisdom available any time we want a guide to living an authentic life filled with love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude.” Liz Phillips Fisch, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP, M.Ed., Vice President, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)
“With a theme like ‘When you fall in love with yourself, everything else falls into place’ how can you go wrong? That’s what I felt as I opened up and absorbed myself into the pages of Deborah’s book. The book was a constant and gentle reminder of how to love ourselves first, and be compassionate at all times so that we can show up as our best selves in the world. The vast amount of tools and insights further deepened my understanding and appreciation for the importance of TRUE self-love. We’re so busy taking care of others, we often neglect ourselves. And in her book, Deborah continues to bring home the point that if we aren’t good to ourselves, we cannot be good to anyone else. This book showed me how and it will show you too.” Kim Clausen
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What clients say about
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“I knew Deborah before she became a Professional Life Coach. I’ve been amazed at how she has changed her life. When I decided it was time to begin making decisions about the next phase of my life, I knew immediately that Deborah was the person I wanted to work with. Her personal and professional experiences help her guide clients through coaching in a way that is individualized and delightfully eye-opening. Her warmth and sensitivity are immediately apparent, even over the phone. With gentle encouragement and permission, she will guide you through an examination of your life, including difficult experiences. She will help you gain insight from your past choices and then explore possibilities for moving forward in less encumbered ways. When you work with Deborah, your life will take on new meaning and your potential will be limitless!” Chris
“The work I did with Deborah continues to change my life. While I have learned many valuable lessons from her, the greatest was the deep insight that is available to me when I listen to and learn from my own inner wisdom. Her intuition, discernment and encouragement have taught me to trust my own intuition—creating new paths and possibilities for my life. One of Deborah’s great gifts is helping others respect and connect with their inner guidance and through that connection, to form a deeper, more meaningful bond with the collective wisdom and energy of all.” Ryan