Unless you’ve spent a significant amount of time with me, you may not know I choose my underwear color based on the chakra needing the most love that day, or that I shoot arrow prayers to God each time a siren blazes by me – prayers for those in need as well as those answering the call of duty.

I have Buddha on my desk and Rumi quoted above my bed. I wear crystals in my bra while sipping wine after yoga, all while wearing the latest Lulu and discussing Katy Perry’s newest song. I tend to think I’m open to many ways of “being”.

For years, I spent my time trying to figure out if I believed in one religion or another, how fit into one box or the other, this social group or that. All the while, I judged my way through every social encounter – not because I liked someone less, but so I could like myself more. What I learned, is that the correct path is the one that brings you closest to the feeling of unlimited love – for yourself, for others and for the world.

So why do we judge and separate?

Judgment itself is not bad – it’s actually useful at times. It’s how we learn about the world from when we are children. Girls notice boys have a penis, parents have wrinkles, and other girls have different dresses or dolls than they do. It’s how we interpret and categorize the world when we are learning to make sense of it, all the while learning who we are. Perhaps some of us continue to judge because it’s how we feel safe and validated, or because we never stopped to think that it could – perhaps should – be different. Perhaps some of us are still learning who we are.

There is one cardinal conflict in this pattern of learning. When we judge others, we actually harshly judge ourselves. It’s because hardwired into the brains of far too many women, and men for that matter, is an answer to the inquiries that whisper…

…“There is something wrong with me”.

…”What I have/am/believe is not good enough”.

…”If I am simply me, I don’t belong, I don’t deserve”.

…”I am not loved”.

For you, dear judger, I send a thousand hugs – one for each judgment you will pass upon yourself today. My wish is this post serves as your wake up call to stop judging and start accepting that all ways and possibilities are true to their own believer.

To support you on this journey, here are three steps for releasing judgment:

Notice what triggers you. Do you examine everyone at the office for the latest fashion faux-pas? Do you eye the person next to your table next and make assumptions about how many calories they’re eating? Chances are these judgments are for one purpose only: to make you feel better about yourself. Your judgment, after all, is not sending them greater love or showing them a new lesson of enlightened living. When you notice the things you tend to critique most in others, you have instant intel on what you critique most inside yourself. It’s reciprocal: what we judge in others, we judge in ourselves as well.

Replace judgment with youthful curiosity and a desire to learn. In other words, check your ego at the door. Judgment cuts access to learning in an attempt to limit and control the experience we have of ourselves and the world around us. Curiosity is neutral territory. When we get curious about the experience we are having or the way another person “is,” we expand our way of thinking. Expanded thinking strengthens our true wisdom. Wisdom comes from inner guidance paired with learning and experience.

Celebrate your “human-ness.” Not only will people feel better around you (hint: silent judging is a huge energetic turnoff) but you will also feel better about yourself. This ease translates to confidence and self-acceptance that radiates and becomes infectiously enjoyable: you are unique! Let’s be honest, deep down we’re all a little quirky, crazy and perfectly imperfect. When you embrace who you are, it sets you free to be the person that you are. And isn’t that what we’re all after? It’s the ability to be ourselves, just as we are, and grow closer to love.