While we can learn to control the intensity of our emotional experience, we cannot control the emotions themselves. Judging our thoughts and feelings as either “good” or “bad”, can be both emotionally and physically damaging because it locks us in the cycle of shame. We end up determining our inherent “goodness” or “badness” based on our innate thoughts and feelings. Labeling our automatic thoughts and feelings as “bad” sends the message to ourselves that who we are as we are is “bad”. We create an impossible bind in which he have to be perfect rather than human – we are expecting the impossible from ourselves and will inevitably fall short.

Another way in which we exercise this good/bad split is in our perceptions of others. People find it difficult and uncomfortable to hold two seemingly opposing feelings toward someone at the same time, and the tendency is to label others as either “good” or “bad”. Consequently, we end up vilifying someone we love in order to feel justified in our anger toward them or rationalizing a loved one’s actions that anger us, in order to forbid ourselves from being angry. Feelings are worthy without justification. One of the vital components to a healthy relationship with ourselves is to notice without judging: notice our feelings and thoughts without judgment of them because when we judge our feelings and thoughts, we are judging ourselves. Consider trying the following mantra throughout your day: “notice not judge”.