one of the most basic and first meditations taught to new students is noting one’s last thought before falling asleep and one’s first thought upon wakening. because i’ve been meditating for 25 years, i effortlessly notice my first thought of the day. some days i wake up mentally conversing with a friend. most days i wake with a mantra repeating. on wednesday i woke with self-judgment.
wednesday was a rough day, from the first waking moment. i didn’t fully shake the self-judgment until thursday afternoon, after a reassuring serendipitous email arrived in my inbox, but i managed to judge myself in the midst of the reassurance, because another person externally validating me doesn’t heal self-judgment.
on wednesday, i was extra social. i met c for coffee, spent hours with wife and littlest one, and hung out many more hours with friends that night. i discussed my self-judgment with each of them, trying to vent it, shift it, release it. it stayed with me.
it is with me now, looser and less attached, but presently lurking. a therapist many years ago explained that my guilt is self-judgment in another guise. if i feel guilty it is because i am judging myself for doing or not-doing something. because i prefer the essence of things to their tricky masks, i prefer to bypass guilt and directly confront the self-judgment. my internal judge is my mother. i don’t hear her voice anymore, but i feel it. i feel her demanding disappointment in who and how i am. the truth is, i never tried to be who and how she wanted, because it has always been foreign to my nature. i couldn’t fake or pretend to do or be her version of what was right and good.
i heard myself defend the concept of denial-to-be-happy to a friend last night. i don’t believe in the concept, but my mother does, and i like to practice explaining her perspective of the world so that i may better understand it. i didn’t know it was my internalized mother’s voice judging me on wednesday. i didn’t know until i sat to write today. knowing now, i realize that as i release self-judgment, i also need to forgive her.
we all have an internalized judge voicing approval and disapproval of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. who is yours?