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Self judgment is like spanking a kid 🎈

3things jordan myska allen personal growth relatefulness stayinlove Feb 15, 2024


My mom gave a lot of parenting advice in the eighties and nineties, when spanking children was still extremely common. She used to tell people that if they wanted a child to stop doing something, it was going to take telling them a least ten times, whether they spanked them or not. So they might as well not spank the kid, since at best it didn’t help, and always brought a bunch of negative side effects along with it (fear, resentment, low self-esteem, damage to the relationship). Learning takes time, “failure”, and repetition.

When she recounted this story the other night, I thought about how self-judgment is like spanking. We often screw up even when we “know better”, like a kid who’s been told not to wear shoes on the bed nine times, but still hasn’t quite learned it. Since we’re convinced that judging ourselves will help us learn, it must have done something like that in the past. But at this point, for most of us, we’re going to have to tell ourselves at least ten times, whether we judge ourselves or not, so we might as well not. At best it doesn’t help, and always brings a bunch of negative side effects along with it.

Sure, easier said than done. As always, this is a call for compassion, not more self-judgment!


With love, Jordan


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