Raise your hand if you’ve side-eyed someone Regina George-style in the last month.
Week? Day? We see you. You’re not the only one with betchy opinions.
An onslaught of scary events (political upheaval, apocalyptic weather) has made us all feel unstable, amplifying our instinctual urge to call out those who threaten the norm, says NYC clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, PhD. “Because things seem less predictable,” he says, “we’re assessing more, looking to shut down threats everywhere.” Even that guy who confuses ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ on Facebook can awaken fierce judginess. It’s easy to dismiss these savage instincts as harmless (example, giving stink eye to someone in stilettos at
a concert isn’t hurting anyone). But constantly judging others can create an addictive cycle, says New York Times bestselling author Gabby Bernstein, whose new book is called Judgment Detox. We judge, then judge ourselves for judging, then feel bad, then judge others again, ultimately losing way too much mental energy to a process that makes us feel sh*tty.
The solution, says Gabby, is to heal our relationship with judgment by noticing critical thoughts and replacing them with kindness.
I’m totally here for this plan. I let Gabby into my brain for a day to help me lose the toxic thoughts threatening my sense of peace.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF COSMO’S JUDGIEST EDITOR
I get up five minutes before I have to leave for work. Hair is a mess, face is a tragedy, and I forget my lunch, so I’m truly
in a bad mood (not trying to make excuses for my upcoming judginess, just saying).
Gabby Bernstein: When you begin your day with self-judgment, you end up projecting those insecurities onto others. Instead, try to notice your judgment without judgment. When you realise that you’re critiquing yourself, congratulate yourself for noticing. Positive reinforcement neutralises negative feelings, squashing the urge to transfer them onto someone else.
On my way to work, a friend sends me screenshots of a ridiculous convo he’s having with a girl he’s seeing. A week ago, she said she wanted to slow things down. Now she wants his D. I’m annoyed that he’s putting up with someone who is playing him. *Eye roll*
GB: Just a guess: have you ever been played by someone? Your friend’s situation may remind you of something in your past that made you feel insecure. Exploring this will help you own your mean-girl thoughts rather than feel falsely superior to your friend.
Some tall, hot chefs come
to the office to make us grilled cheese. What could
go wrong? Funny you should ask! When a coworker sits at my table and starts chewing obnoxiously, I silently throw shade at her parents for teaching her to eat like it’s her last freaking meal on earth.
GB: When I have thoughts like these, I repeat a positive affirmation, like ‘I choose to judge nothing
that occurs.’ This mantra can help redirect your focus. This girl is just enjoying her sandwich. Why let that ruin your day?
At dinner with friends, I’m telling them about a very important life problem and the server keeps interrupting. Then he tries to clear my plate before I’m finished. What kind of monster would throw out a ball of burrata? (Yes, cheese is very important to me.)
GB: After recognising what triggers your judginess and using positive mantras, try cultivating compassion. Looking for people’s good qualities helps you feel more love for them. So close your eyes for a second, breathe deep, and reflect on how hardworking this guy is.
I disrobe, lay my little head down, and drift off thinking about a girl from my workout class last week who kept twerking between sets... thanks, but no thanks.
GB: Evening is a great time to take inventory of your day and forgive yourself for all the times you’ve judged. This is the last step of your detox. No matter how many negative thoughts slipped through, tell yourself you did the best you could. And be proud of all the critical thoughts you did catch. In order to let other people off the hook, you first have to let yourself off the hook.
By Danielle Kam