I found the following information extremely enlightening. It concerns how judgement affects those of us who are emotionally sensitive, the wound it creates and how to step outside of self imposed black/white, wrong/right judgements to ease our emotional intensity.
If you’re emotionally sensitive, it may be that ever since you were a child, people have said or implied there’s something wrong with the way you feel or think. Comments such as these, as well as the mere thought that people are judging you in this way, have probably been such a source of pain for so many years that you’re hypersensitive to any hint of criticism. Although no one likes to be judged negatively, for the emotionally sensitive its agonising. Negative judgements, both actual and imagined, may often lead you to feel shame, and to experience hopeless thoughts as well as to fear rejection.
Even positive judgements, such as saying something is ‘good’, can be problematic, because if one thing is good then a different thing might be ‘bad’. In this way, positive judgements maintain your potential for negative judgements. They strengthen your tendency to make comparisons and see things in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ qualities. Although, for the most part, you may assume that when I talk about judging…I meant making negative judgements, keep in mind that making positive judgements can also contribute to the issue in almost every case.
Letting go of self judgements, other’s judgements of you, and your judgement of others, whether positive or negative, is one way of keeping your emotions at a lower intensity. The point isn’t to have a more positive view of everything, but to stop thinking so much in terms of good versus bad (or any other duality) and just accept that things are what they are. When you replace judgements with facts, you’ll react less to misinterpretations, assumptions, and distortions about events and people.
Judging creates emotion. In addition, any emotion you feel in response to an external event will be intensified if you judge yourself for that event. For example, if you’re getting divorced and you judge yourself as unlovavble or as someone who always messes up the pain of divorce will become worse. If you then judge yourself for being upset, that will add more pain. Increasing your awarenss of your self judgements and better understanding the way you learnd to judge yourself in a particular way can help you reduce this behaviour.
If you were an emotionally sensitive child, maybe you were told you were too dramatic, emotional, needy, weak, manipulative, or attention seeking. You might have been told to stop “being a baby” or “making a big deal out of nothing”. Maybe you were ignored or were considered a burden. Being judged by others when you were a chid can lead you judge yourself in the same way as an adult.
You may blame yourself for all sorts of flaws. For example, you might believe that if you weren’t so lazy you’d have gotten a job by now, even though you put in five applications a day for the past two weeks. But even if you haven’t submitted any applications that doesn’t mean you’re lazy. If you look more closely at the facts, you may realise that your fear of being judged negatively, not laziness, has kept you applying for jobs.
Self judgement and fear of being judged will keep you trapped. Instead of living your life the way you want, you’ll try to live safely, doing what others deem acceptable. You may try to fit into molds that aren’t right for you. There’s no winning in this scenario.
Source : Chapter 6 Letting Go of Judgements in The Emotionally Sensitive Person : Finding Peace When Your Emotions Overwhelm You.
In the rest of the chapter Karyn Hall outlines more specifically how our tendency to judge as emotional sensitives makes our life lonelier and harder.
- Emotions cloud our rational brain and contribute to emotional distress. Eg someone doesn’t call us back and we make up all kinds of reasons why and then get angry and refuse to talk to them ever again.
- Judging often hides the primary feeling we were having. For example often anger is a reaction to fear, fear of being hurt, fear of losing something or someone important to you, fear of being rejected. Focusing on the secondary emotion becomes problematic when we react from here. Our anger may be telling us something that isn’t true in masking our vulnerability.
- Judging often adds to loneliness by creating separation between us and other people, putting a distance between us, blocking out love if someone makes a mistake, causing a cut off that love and understanding and mercy could heal.
- Judging in addition narrows our view. We judge something as bad, react from there often without all the facts, fail to see the positive things in the situation and so damage a relationship.
Keeping an eye on our thinking and reactions as emotional sensitives is very important work. Seeing how and when and where judgements of self and others can block love and relationship will help us feel less emotional intensity and feel more connected and soothed.