As you wade through the many articles, blogs and products promising to  help you lose weight, win that promotion, and every other goal you might have for the new year, I invite you to consider one more resolution: Join me in committing to a Judgment-Free January.

Judgment, the harsh emotional kind, is the root of so much emotional pain. It is the wedge that drives people apart in relationships. And it is the number one obstacle in our ability to follow through on our intentions.

Logical judgments are necessary and useful. We logically judge when it might be better to take a different route around a traffic jam. But emotional judgment is different. In that same traffic jam, emotional judgment happens when we spill outside of ourselves and feel fury at the drivers of the cars ahead of us. Or we let ourselves boil over with panic more appropriate for a life-threatening emergency, as we anticipate the anger or disappointment of those who may be waiting for us. When we judge others, we essentially pour our energy into negative feelings about their “wrongness.”

Emotional judgment is also the way we abandon ourselves. When we pour our energy into feeling that we are “wrong” or “bad,” we stop carrying ourselves. We turn our back on ourselves. This is the way we give up on our whole plan after we indulge during our strict diet, smoke that cheat cigarette, miss an early morning workout, or get passed over one time for a promotion. We throw up our hands and say “I’ve failed, so I’m just going to give up.”

It may feel like a split-second, but that moment of deciding to give up is actually full of feeling-based judgments about our value, our worthiness, and our power. We may tell ourselves that it is weak to deviate from a plan and attribute that one failure to evidence that we are somehow deeply flawed. These thoughts are momentary expressions of frustration or fear. But they are not the longstanding truth.

We are all doing the best we can with the tools we have. We may need more or better tools, but we do not become “bad” or “hopeless” because of a misstep. Tolerance and compassion for our inevitable imperfection is what keeps us visible and in the driver-seat of our life. Compassion allows us to carry our self (not turn our back on ourselves) and be our own leader.

It can take time to notice exactly how you may be confusing your feelings about yourself, with the actual compassionate reality of you. But there is no time like the present to begin and revise it.


Jessica Kiesler
Jessica Kiesler

Jessica is the creator of The VisibleU™ Method. Over the last 20 years she has helped hundreds of busy adults create more balance within, and with others. Jessica received her master’s degree in Applied Psychology from New York University, and completed mediation training at the Columbia University School of Law. She has held numerous clinical roles, managed clinical operations for a national EAP, and advised executives on employee-relations concerns at Fortune 1000 companies.