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Why Judgements Hurt – Part One

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Author and Healing Medium, Annemiek Douw, discusses how criticism and judgement originate, the purpose of judging ourselves and others, how we can soften them.

As babies we are born feeling Unity, we are whole. Everything is in place. We experience this feeling as Souls before we incarnate and then we come to Earth with this feeling intact. And since as newborns we are just Souls in a human body, that ‘I am connected with All’ feeling lingers on.

Growing up in a physical world, there comes a time when we have to learn to distinguish: this is me and that’s not me, it’s you. In order to notice the difference, we need ‘proof’. We need arguments to support our observations. So we start to look for differences instead of the things we have in common with each other in order to separate ourselves from the rest of the world.

In the beginning that can mean we see that we ourselves are curly haired and others are, for instance, bald. That doesn’t have to be a problem, as long as we don’t draw conclusions about the fact that some people are bald. As long it’s just a neutral observation.

It does become a problem when we not only see differences but also have judgements about them. When we decide that it’s somehow better to have curls than to be bald. That’s when the problems start…

Opinion vs Judgement

Judgements are opinions that we believe are The Truth. So holding that judgement inevitably means that we are right and the other must therefore be wrong. When we judge we don’t realise that it’s purely subjective. It’s just a matter of preference.

Instead of observing a neutral fact like his car is a red station wagon we think he drives a loud coloured car that’s too big. So in a way, we make it hierarchical: somehow we place ourselves above the other person and make ourselves the top dog, we make our opinion more important than his, making him the underdog as if what we think is the measuring stick for the rest of the world instead of just our personal preference.   


Judging starts while growing up, when our parents say: ‘don’t do this’ or the opposite ‘good girl/ good boy’, and teach you which behaviours they approve of and which they don’t. Of course they need to teach you these things, but the trick is to remember that not everything they teach you is objective.

Yes, it’s better not to grab the recently used iron because you can burn yourself. But not objective, and therefore bruising to your soul is when you giggle a lot and your mother suffers from migraines and shuts you up quite frequently because she needs silence. Then you may conclude that giggling is somehow wrong and therefore adapt your behaviour in every situation. You just stop giggling altogether. Even when it’s not necessary. You learn how to behave in a way that stops Mum getting angry with you, and you separate yourself from who you really are.

We have all learnt to do that in one way or another, most often to avoid losing our parents’ love. We could sense the disappointment when we did something they didn’t like and we wanted them to like and love us, so we adapted.

And when we had adapted often enough, we started to believe that this was the new normal. Then we changed our way of thinking as well, because otherwise we would have had a problem with ourselves. You can’t think one thing and do the other without feeling a little uneasy, so we told ourselves that ‘giggling was wrong’ (or whatever we had taught ourselves) and after a while that was our new truth, our new belief. And we lived accordingly. Damaged. An adapted version of our beautiful selves.


When we judge, we do something that is based on the same principle: we try to create a situation in which everything is well balanced, since imbalance feels a bit unpleasant. This is called congruency, moulding our world or beliefs until everything fits in nicely without any disturbances. So we start to adapt the reality and make it into our own version.

Diminish the Insecurity

An intercultural example: when someone looks different to us, say he’s from another continent, and we can’t read his facial expressions very well simply because we haven’t had a lot of experience reading those kinds of faces, it can make us feel somewhat uneasy and a little insecure (for a real life example of cross-cultural misunderstanding, click here). Perhaps we misunderstand what he means or wonder if a certain frown means something else in his country. We just don’t know, and the insecurity we feel can lead us to want to do something to diminish it. We don’t want to feel insecure so our minds start making up ways to improve our situation.

One way of solving this problem is to formulate a judgement about him, thereby making him less important. Then we might feel better about ourselves and the insecurity decreases. So when we think that this man’s nose is too big or his eyebrows look like those of a criminal, we might feel better about ourselves because we, of course, are not criminals. We are not even linked to being one, so we must be a better person.

Instead of connecting from heart to heart and finding out what we have in common, we are now separated.

Judging Yourself

Still, when we judge ourselves something else happens. Then, we separate ourselves from part of us. For instance when your brother is angry with you because you broke up with your girlfriend and he sympathises with the girlfriend, you have two options. The first is to politely tell him it’s none of his business to interfere with your love life, that you are the one that had the relationship and are therefore the only one who can make the decision. In my opinion this is the healthiest choice.

The second option is to get insecure because when you make a decision like that it’s natural to have slightly mixed feelings: the relationship wasn’t all bad but you still felt you needed to move on, you needed to let go.

Your brother’s reaction might appeal to the insecurity you’ve always had when you have to make an important decision and suddenly you doubt yourself and your intuition. You ask yourself, ‘What rational arguments do I have for splitting up?’ and you’ll find that your reasons aren’t all rational, that it’s merely a feeling based on a lot of things that you can’t put into words. You just felt, “enough is enough!”

And that’s frightening, because you can’t defend a feeling to your brother so his anger might make you feel insecure. You wonder, “Did I do the right thing?” And from that to, “I always make mistakes and can’t do anything right” is just a small step. Then you start judging yourself for something that you supposedly did wrong, while in fact you didn’t do anything of the sort. You just got insecure and tried to diminish that feeling. That’s all.

And since you can’t change your brother, it’s easier to judge yourself, talk yourself down and adapt. And thus become an adapted version of your beautiful self.


Of course there’s a solution to all of this. If we just could see that it’s all about wanting acceptance and wanting to be loved, about trying to avoid rejection and tending towards doing things that make us feel as good as possible about ourselves, the solution appears:

People’s responses to you only mirror what happens inside of you.

They either confirm, acknowledge or verify a feeling you already had thereby making you aware of a part of you that you weren’t actually conscious of. So they strengthen what you already felt.

Or they hurt. They sting a little and show you that there are still some places within you that may need to heal. It really doesn’t say anything about being right or wrong; it just shows an incongruent part within you and therefore gives you an opportunity to grow.

Softening the Hurt and Leaving the Cycle

Working in the higher layers of the aura, I came across the layer that deals with Duality. It’s about having strong beliefs and preferences – which often result in judgements. Then I realised that if you judge yourself or another, the quickest way to do something about it is, the moment you find yourself thinking something ‘negative’ to tell yourself:

‘That’s a judgement’

Period. Nothing more. It’s that simple!

Because when you judge yourself for judging, the problem only becomes bigger. Then you have to deal with two judgements, the original one and the one you have about judging. Of course that doesn’t make life any easier.

So you just tell yourself: ‘Wow, that’s a judgement’, followed by ‘So apparently I would have preferred something else….’

Nothing More, Nothing Less

That way, you give words to the unpleasant feeling that made you judge in the first place, and you formulate it in such a loving, neutral way, that the anger you feel about realising you were judgmental instantly disappears. You just confirm to yourself that you would have preferred something to be different in what you saw happening. Without trying to change the world (and thus putting your problem on someone else’s plate) the problem is solved, because just by saying “I would have preferred something else”, the unease disappears and you feel calm and quiet again. And you have healed a part of you into the bargain.

Next Blog – Judgements Part 2:

What happens on an emotional, psychological and energetic level when you judge or are judged, and what happens on world level?

Reading more?

Are you interested in judgements,the duality layer of the aura and what it means to heal yourself in that layer of your Soul ? My new book 21 Layers of the Soul: Healing the Karmic Ties with Friends, Lovers, Family and Enemies describes this layer and explores these questions in depth. 21 Layers of the Soul is out now. Alternatively, the Dutch version is available hereYou can also book a healing with Annemiek via Skype.

Annemiek Douw – photography by Peter Nugteren www.prents-and-more.nl

ANNEMIEK DOUW, MSc is a management coach, energetic therapist, lightworker, medium, trainer and author. Coming from an unlikely background in engineering, Annemiek has always been interested in how people think and grow at a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. In her work within the government and business sectors, she began to see how illness comes into people’s lives, often making it unpredictable and seemingly out of control. This influenced her to start exploring bioenergetics and other alternative therapies, eventually leading her to complete a 3-year course at the Natural Medicine Academy South-Netherlands to become a paranormal therapist. In 1998 she dedicated herself to this work full-time. She later fell ill herself for an extended period of time, which allowed her to gain first-hand insight into the human experience of illness, and to learn how the soul is an internal compass that continuously guides. Probing more deeply into how this compass works, Annemiek discovered 21 layers of the soul that influence our ability to grow and to heal in our bodies, minds and relationships. This discovery became the foundation of her unique healing style, and today Annemiek helps clients heal at many levels, and teaches them how to read this compass for themselves. Wanting to share this unprecedented work with a wider audience, she published the Dutch language book De ziel in het licht van haar hogere auralagen in 2011. The English translation of this book is coming in autumn 2013, under the title 21 Layers of the Soul: Healing the Karmic Ties with Friends, Lovers, Family and Enemies.

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