I’m Diana Swillinger, and you’re listening to the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 41 ‘Tis the Season to Stop Judging.
DIANA: Hey. Hey. What’s up, everybody? It’s Christmas week. Merry Christmas. I love Christmas. I’ve always loved Christmas. I hope you do, too. I hope you’re having a fantastic holiday season. No matter what’s going on, it’s probably totally not what you expected, and it can still be amazing. I hope that is the case for you today. And as I was writing the notes for this podcast, I was sitting in front of my Christmas tree in a cozy chair in my living room. I have it turned facing directly at the tree, and I was sitting there with my coffee. It’s pretty much going to be my favorite spot. We put up our tree late, so it’s only been up a few days, but, uh, it’ll be my favorite spot for at least three weeks. I won’t take the tree down for at least three weeks, so it’ll be here in January. That’s all right. And I always love our tree. It gets jam packed with ornaments. Our friends Tony and Tanya got us a tree this year because we always go to the tree lot with them, get, um, a tree. And we went pretty early this year, like, at least a week and a half before Christmas. It’s early for us, and they always have trees.
This year, they were nearly sold out, so they ended up going 2 hours north of here for something else a few days later. And they’re like, there’s a tree lot that has trees, and they got us a tree. So it was a little narrow on the top, but not a problem because I have four kids, and we have tons of huge popsicle, stick, homemade ornaments that they’ve made from over the years, and lots of fun ornaments that just fill up the tree. So I have memories of the kids when they were little. We have ornaments that we’ve purchased to remember special times or special people. And so what always happens when I sit in front of the tree with all these amazing ornaments is I get kind of sentimental. Like, sometimes I’m not that emotional. I’m pretty matter of fact and stuff, but sometimes I’m sentimental, especially Christmas when it comes to relatives. So if you’ve listened to my podcast on Grieving, well, you know that I say we need to let grief be physically processed in our bodies, right? Usually it happens when I sit alone in front of the tree. It’s so much easier to let it happen there for some reason when all the memories are in my face. So I also just tend to wake up early. And I get a lot of time to grieve at Christmas because the silent mornings in front of the tree with no one around are, uh, my favorite. Like, I don’t even need my alarm clock.
Once the tree’s up, my body, like, changes. It’s wake up time and 5536, and I am up and ready to go sit by the tree. I grab that coffee and I hang out there. And I think what I’ve noticed is my time in front of the tree each year has kind of turned into like an annual grieving retreat. Like those morning at times that half an hour, hour. It’s a little retreat. And I do some grieving. When I look at the sailboat ornament it reminds me of my dad. I look at the Grover ornament it reminds me of my sister. And then, um, like I said, there’s all the ornaments my kids have made, uh, that have pictures, like full size four x six pictures of them dressed in Nativity scene outfits and then Popsicle sticks around it, making it look like a manger.
They’re huge and awesome. And so I grieve them being little, I guess. And this year, I’m also grieving not spending time with my mom and stepdad. I mean, he’s in really good health, but he’s had health circumstances that put him in a higher risk group with COVID So virtual it is. And while I do a little grieving in front of the tree, it’s also just beautiful and comforting. And it doesn’t feel so uncomfortable to do a little of that sentiment because it’s mixed in with joy. The joy of Christmas and all the new memories that we’re creating and the family times we still do get to have. Like, my kids are home and this Christmas is going to have a lot of joy. So both it’s possible. It’s possible to grieve and have some joy at the same time, right? And it’s normal. So I’m totally talking a lot about Christmas. Let’s just keep going with it. And I’m going to talk about my thoughts about judgment at Christmas. And you might be wondering how I’m going to relate judging people or judging ourselves to Christmas. But we’ll get there.
So self judgment is mostly what I’m going to talk about, and that is often at the core of anything I’m talking about when I’m coaching women, we just tend to be so hard on ourselves. Also. I mean, I’m not going to talk about our judgment of other people so much today, but if you find yourself to be judgmental of others almost all the time, we can trace it back to you having judgment of yourself. I’m sure I’ll just cover that on a future episode because today I’m just going to stay on the self judgment part. I just hear it from women all the time. Things like I want to stop the negative self talk in my head. That’s one of the top requests of my clients. Also, they tell me I’m not enough, I’m not doing enough, or I’m tired of always putting myself down. When I started my coaching business, one of the things I did a lot, and especially before COVID is I’d go speak at women’s events, at churches. And the topic I am most often asked to speak on is stopping the negative thought loop in our brains. And that, my friends, is the self judgment. It’s tearing yourself down. It’s blaming you. It’s saying you aren’t good enough. It’s a nasty shame cycle. And let me tell you, it doesn’t serve you. It doesn’t help you in any way. And for sure, it does not inspire you to be a better person.
At least not in a sustainable way. I mean, sometimes the good old hey, self, you really suck and you need to get it in gear. It might help you in the moment. It might inspire you in a moment to get up and make some positive progress in your life. But it’s not sustainable. And what you’re actually doing is adding more self judgment statements to the pile. Like, you think it helps in the moment, but your brain is making a mental catalog of all the times you beat up on yourself. It’s listening. And when you tell yourself over and over again that you’re not good enough, when your brain hears over and over again that it’s not enough, your brain’s going to believe you. It’s going to believe you if you keep telling it, even though it’s lies. And then you just create this constant underlayer of shame as you try to go about your life. I don’t think anything I’m saying is surprising you yet. I think a lot of you have, uh, lived with this and experienced it because it’s just what we do. But it keeps us from showing up as the best version of ourselves. Shame keeps us plain small in hiding. Now, if there are any of you listening who think you don’t have this problem, you actually do. We all do. We all spend time judging ourselves sometimes we do. It really subtle.
Okay? So those of you who think maybe you don’t have this problem, think of a thought like, I need to get better at this. It sounds like a great thought, right? But what is it really saying if you think I need to get better at this? It’s actually a subtle way of you telling yourself I’m not good enough at this. And then when we think that, we tend to feel inadequate. It’s sneaky, it’s subtle. But I’m telling you, we all do it. We all have some form of self judgment, but we can take steps to reduce it and spend less time feeling the things like shame and inadequacy that come from these kind of thoughts, and I think Christmas is the perfect time to do it. All right. Tis the season to stop judging you. I’m not going to relay the whole story about Christ coming to Earth. There is really a lot wrapped up in that, and I’m not going to get into it today.
But what I do want to look at right now is the self judgment we do. And I want to highlight why Christmas is telling us not to. There has been a big shift when Christ came to Earth to do what he did for us. This was a huge shift from old to new. It was a shift from a society of laws and expectations to living in freedom. It was a shift from living under judgment to living with mercy. And I think some of us didn’t get this memo, and a lot of us, maybe we kind of got the memo, but we’re just choosing not to believe it because we think it doesn’t apply to us. But I want to tell you, if you think it doesn’t apply to you, you’re wrong. Jesus coming is God’s promise of mercy instead of judgment. It’s God declaring he does not condemn you. And God does not think or say that you screwed up. He does not judge and decide that you’re lazy. God doesn’t think you’re a bad mom or a bad wife or a bad friend. He does not say that you are not enough. I’m telling you, the Creator of the universe does not shame you or trash talk you, and neither should you. Tis the season to stop judging you. Follow God’s lead. His lead is grace and mercy for everyone. And it does include you, I think, when we think it doesn’t include us, like, I’m the one person that is not worthy of all the grace and mercy. I’m the one person that’s falling short. I’m the one person that God’s wrong about. That’s not true. You aren’t the one special person that God’s grace cannot cover. You aren’t. It’s a weird way of actually, like, elevating yourself as being too much or too big for God’s grace and mercy to cover. I’m sorry, but it’s just not the case.
You are not that one person. And if you’ve been thinking that, you’re wrong. So what I hope for you this Christmas is that you will welcome mercy and grace from God and also accept it from Him for yourself. But also you get to give it to you. And that might be one of the most important steps in this process. Model after God and you give yourself grace and mercy just like he did. Now, if you’ve been someone who’s judged yourself a lot in the past, I don’t want you to judge yourself for that either. The past is over. No judging yourself for things you’ve done in the past. Remember last week’s podcast, Just Say that was the part where I judged me sometimes it’s fine. Okay. But let’s talk about today. What will you do today? For those of you who like when I give some possible thoughts that you can try thinking for yourself, I have some for you to try. Okay? If you are wanting to extend grace and mercy to yourself, here are some new thoughts you could try. Because your brain is going to keep telling you that you suck. Your brain’s going to keep telling you you’re not enough. Your brain’s going to keep telling you you’re lazy or you screwed up. What you don’t want to do is believe those thoughts. Entertain them, pick them up, hold them, think about them, and start looking for evidence to prove them true. Don’t do that. When the brain offers you a thought that you’re not good enough, just say not. M going to believe that one. Diana says it’s not true. God says it’s not true, and I’m deciding it’s not true. I’m going to think something different. So here are the ones you can try. I’m learning to judge me less or M. I’m ready to start judging me less. Remember, you just get to see which one sounds like it works for you, and you pick or take these ones I’m offering you and change them. Okay, here’s another one. I think I’m done being mean to me. How about, God gives me grace, and I’m learning to give me grace, too? Another thing you can do I used to do this a lot when I was coming out of feeling shame on a regular basis and being so judgmental of me, it seemed almost too hard to just believe it for myself.
So I went to God, and I would pray out loud or in my journal or silently. Lord, teach me how to be nice to me or God. I want to be better at loving me like you do. Please help me. I’m ready to stop judging me, but I need some help. Please help me figure this out. Let Christmas be the great example of God’s unconditional love. Apply it to you first. Learn how to stop judging. You love yourself. Oh, my gosh, you guys. It’s so much easier to apply it to everyone else in your life. When you start with you and you love you. When you start with you and you have compassion for you. When you start with you and you give yourself mercy and grace, it’s so much easier to extend it to everybody else. This is the perfect place to start. I hope you will enjoy this beautiful season and the celebration of Jesus coming to lavish each of us with forgiveness, mercy, grace, and love. Accept the gift and be nice to you. All right, you all have a very Merry Christmas. That’s it for today. I’ll catch you next week. Take care, you.
As an advanced, certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources. Or a free coaching call.