I have been rereading sections of a book from last month’s Spirituality Book Club called Dancing with your Dragon by Shaeri Richards. One section made me realize that when I judge others I am really judging myself. Shaeri shares the story about how she could have so easily gotten into an argument with her husband over whether or not her butt was looking too big. As she wrote about it, this was a no win situation for him, because no matter what he said it was not going to be what she needed to hear. Even if he said of course not dear, she would not believe him. How she heard how he answered this question was all about her, and had very little to do with him.
Shaeri gives the example of seeing this woman “who strongly vibrates the archetype of the “Sex Goddess” walking down the street in tight shorts and a low cut top. Her hips are swinging and every guy with in eyeshot is ogling.” She wrote, “I might be envious of her and comparing my own body to her body. I might judge her for showing off and trying to get attention. I might look for her faults, saying to myself, “her butt is really too big, and her hairstyle looks like the 1980’s.” Whatever faults she found in this “Sex Goddess,” are the very faults she is going to see in herself when attempts to embody the archetype of Sex Goddess in her own life.
It is the attitude and personality of the “Sex Goddess” which makes one sexual and powerful, not one’s butt size, hair, weight, or any other physical features. When we focus on the things, we judge ourselves and give our power away. We create drama and trauma in our own lives. We are the ones who judge our bodies and our features. We are the ones who internalize what society determines as beautiful, normal, sexual, etc. When we reject the ideals of others and stop judging ourselves, then we provide a space for us to tap into the power of the archetype and be the sex god or goddess we want to be at that moment.
How we judge others, provides us with clues as to how we are judging ourselves. Richards uses the example of the sex goddess, however, this self-judging is true of so many things. For example, the Avarice is an archetype who is a scholar, thinker, and investigator. I might see someone speak about something and see others hanging on their every word. I could judge them and critique them for what they contribute. I could argue that their observations are not unique, innovative or earth shaking. However, when I am aware I am critiquing this person, the next time I attempt to be the Avarice in my own life, I will turn that critical eye on myself. I may begin to think I am not worthy because I am not contributing much to the world. If I ask someone to tell me if my words rocked his or her world, then no matter what they say it is wrong. If they say yes, then I might think they are lying to me and challenge them to prove to me how I rocked it. Of course because I know they are lying, no matter what they say I will never believe them. If they say no, then I might want to know why not. I might take it as a confirmation of how little I have to offer to the world. I could withdraw, become reclusive, and get abrasive. Nothing anyone says or does will help, because the problem was not them, it was the Inner Judge who had deemed me incapable.
Those moments when we find ourselves judging others are invaluable. They are gifts we give to ourselves which assist us in our own journey. They provide us with an opportunity to look within and explore why, change what we believe about ourselves, so we can reclaim our power and eliminate the agreements, which keep us in a cycle of self-judgment.