During Summer School last week with Elena Brower, it was suggested that we do an exercise which involved writing down all the judgements that we might have over the coming days about other people, situations or things. She then asked us to categorise these judgements and recognise how much of our day is taken up by this process and how it affects our life. I embarked on the task with great enthusiasm.

To no surprise I found myself making plenty of judgments about other people which increased when I used social media sites. It even became a bit of a battle in my mind as to whether I should use them anymore. I heard a little voice in my head saying to me things like this “Look at her in that yoga posture, I could never do that!” or “Oh my god, I can’t believe she is doing yoga in her knickers, she isn’t a yogi!”

During my meditation practice I wonder how I can stop this voice. I doubt myself, perhaps I am a fake yogi b*tch. I question how can I make myself better because obviously I am just pretending to be nice. I realise that this time I am judging myself. I remember Elena asking us “What is it that you judge in other people that makes you fear being judged?” From this judgement I make about myself I have my answer, I judge other people as being better than me, or not as good as me because I am scared of not being good enough, I fear not being accepted, I’m afraid of being a fake yogi.

Elena explained to us that we need to catch ourselves in making a judgement before it becomes a process. Cue the lightbulb – I realise I don’t need to stop the voice because it is who I am. It is a product of the life I have lived, my insecure self, the girl who never felt good enough, or worthy of acceptance. I need to accept that this part of me exists but I don’t need to listen to it. In doing so, I can accept myself fully, instead of judging myself on ideals of perfection which don’t exist.

When I stop trying to be perfect I can then understand that in actual fact no-one is perfect, no matter how we present ourselves to the world. This frees me and I can love others without feeling threatened and judgemental. In accepting myself I understand that we are all the same, that we all judge others as part of being human and that more often than not these judgements are fuelled by a longing for acceptance, for love, for a feeling of belonging. If you struggle with judgements in your life, I highly recommend spending some time working through this process, you won’t be disappointed! Furthermore we need to teach our future generation this technique to make sure that they can survive and thrive with love and contentment in our increasingly judgemental world.

Published initially on teach.yoga here