Recognizing the judgments we all pass on ourselves, says Bonnie Friedman in the March Shambhala Sun, is the first step to freedom.
A person’s verdict has a life of its own, a rhythm of its own, an endurance of its own in the way bureaucracies have an endurance of their own. Whether we feel good about what we do or whether we always connect with what’s wrong with our work, we feel we’re being quite rational. This is a key aspect of our verdict; it wraps itself in reason. There is always a potent justification for why a person whose verdict is “I’m not good enough” is, at any particular time, sure he or she is warranted in feeling that way. The verdict exists before any action we take. It goes looking for reasons to incarnate itself, and when it finds one—and can’t it usually?—out it springs. This is why it’s not at all obvious to us when we are being captivated by our verdict.
Illustration: Seth Smith