No surer sign of an overdeveloped or out-of-control ego than a judgmental attitude.
Decoding and dismantling these toxic impulses are necessary for living a fulfilling, happy life. Such mental and emotional limitations cripple most people.
This is because any delusion of the ego that distorts The Reality of Things inevitably disconnects you from what is real, including the natural world.
On the Path, your goal is to strive toward a natural, balanced way of living. This is what brings peace and understanding, as well as helps grow your personal power.
Every time you distort reality with a judgement borne of false beliefs, opinions, or emotions, you stray from what is natural, and cut your Self off from the real world.
You can track an individual’s level of personal misery by how judgemental they are. They are “parallel tells” as I like to call them.
Almost invariably, the more an individual thinks on judgmental terms, and casts those judgements, the more they hate life, and fabricate their own personal hells through opinion, beliefs, and traditions just to sustain their existence.
Therefore, knowing how to manage such delusions of the ego are of utmost importance in the course of your self-evolution.
Being judgmental is a sign of extreme weakness, because it displays a lack of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual discipline.
Indeed an act of false judgement is a wholesale failure on the part of the one doing the judging.
Of course, with judgement comes the impulse of energy. No one may cast false judgement without incurring negative karma.
So here we have a compound cycle of negativity that feeds itself. Every act of false judgement deteriorates the mind-body and reinforces the belief that life is terrible and miserable, because they will have to live out the effects of the negative energy that they wrought.
Oftentimes, the most miserable people you encounter in life are the judgmental. These emotionally unstable actions are some of the worst behaviors you can engage in, because they are borne of delusion and poison your Being.
To better understand how to deconstruct judgmental emotions, we must first explore what drives overdeveloped egos.
The Ego’s Need For Reassurance
Ultimately, an overdeveloped ego is one in constant need of pampering and reassurance.
Everything it does needs validation. Everything it has come to associate with is correct and can have no faults. Its identity is pristine and its vices are virtues.
The overdeveloped ego relies on the distortion of reality to perpetuate its existence.
It does this by forcing its worldview and illusions into the outside world.
One means of doing this is by casting judgements.
An unhealthy, toxic individual is constantly casting judgements. They do so in an ongoing silent monologue inside their heads, and occasionally will voice these judgements if their ego believes it is necessary.
These people live in a world of comparison. Everything they look at, everyone they meet, is either a threat to be over-analyzed and judged, or a tool to be used in the furthering of their delusions.
Some, less toxic individuals will only act judgmental if their ego is under direct threat, such as a woman tries to downplay the beauty or style of another woman, or when a man tries to save face by proclaiming that they “at least have x going for them.”
Ultimately, however, judgmental behavior serves to further the ego, and for this reason must be aggressively dealt with.
The ego needs reassurance because it knows it is at fault, and needs multiple sources of constant validation in order to feel that what it does is sound.
At its root, the ego-mind exists to protect the conscious from trauma or perceived hardship. It acts as a buffer between You and Reality.
Our society is unhealthy, and therefore creates unhealthy minds.
Understand that what drives the ego is self-preservation.
It will attempt to sustain and perpetuate itself by any means necessary.
This includes forming an entire false image of your Self, a fake worldview that negates any criticism or flaws, and even false beliefs about other people, just to fit them into a narrative.
The ego thrives off of illusion. There are few places an unhealthy ego won’t go in order to preserve itself.
Knowing this, you must realize that nothing that comes from the ego can be trusted, or is worth preserving.
All of the beliefs and behaviors of your ego exist to do one thing: perpetuate itself.
It will lie to you. It will manipulate you. It will tell you up is down and black is white just to keep your feelings from being hurt.
Indeed, it will warp your world until it has you believing everyone is out to get you, everyone is evil, you’re not worth anything, and that everyone has all of the same hangups, vices, and bad thoughts that you have.
That is the goal.
Egos all work pretty much the same way, and given enough time, most turn into clones of each other. They all work to one end: self-preservation.
In that regard, it is very easy to see what makes them tick, and thereby discern why people behave and think the way they do.
A judgmental person is an open book. Their emotions are clearly on display, because being judgmental almost always is a combination of jealousy and projection.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when a person criticizes another person’s looks, for example, it’s because they are insecure about their own.
Projection is the vehicle of the ego. If you are curious about what makes a particular ego tick, look at it projects. There is the answer.
And remember, the ego will go to insane lengths to reassure itself that it is on the right path. Berating another person to hide its own insecurities is not just being mean for mean’s sake, or mere stupidity. It is a self-preservation tactic.
This is why a judgmental person seems so simultaneously full of themselves and lost like a blind little puppy. They work from a place of delusion, but they must cling to that illusion desperately and with all their might, for it sustains them.
Without the delusional worldview, the house of cards falls, and the ego collapses.
The Relationship Between Jealousy and Projection
If projection is the vehicle of the ego, jealousy is the fuel of that vehicle.
From an esoteric standpoint, one might define jealousy as the inborn reaction of an ego offended by knowledge of its own lack.
Projection and judgment is the inevitable result.
All egos experience jealousy. It is a trigger-response, unavoidable due to the nature of the ego.
Keep in mind, the ego cannot abide being wrong, or accepting threats to existence.
If an ego sees or experiences something that puts any part of its narrative at risk, it will exhibit jealousy. It’s just how they are.
It is also important to understand that unhealthy emotional responses are part of how the ego sustains itself.
An unhealthy ego is never satisfied with peace and balance, and will actively seek out situations that make it “feel” something in order to react.
Which is why those with overdeveloped egos tend to “attract drama wherever they go.”
It’s because they actively cultivate drama. Egos feed off it in order to sustain themselves.
An egoistic mind is both offended and delighted at the prospect of being jealous. Every instance of jealousy is an opportunity to reaffirm and solidify its worldview in the mind of the person carrying it.
Toxic emotions like jealousy and anger are like balm for the ego. It is the ego’s opportunity to proclaim subconsciously, “look! See how useful I am! I made you feel good. I made you feel RIGHT!”
And of course, this is why the ego exists in the first place, to bolster and protect weakened minds.
It is wrong to think that a person who gets jealousy will try to avoid getting jealousy. It is wrong to think angry people avoid situations that anger them.
The situation is almost always the opposite.
Jealous and spiteful types maintain a sort of constant flow of ego-affirming emotional states. The more unhealthy the ego, the more constant the emotional state needs to be affirmed.
In this way do negative “emotions” (ego reactions) feed themselves. They are a self-perpetuating hellworld that the ego requires in order to survive.
The ego must even defend this reality, and deflect, however. Ask a person who is always in some kind of drama, why that is, and they will inevitably proclaim that “drama finds them,” they have “bad luck,” or that the people around them are “toxic.”
Another facet of an unhealthy ego is that it can never own up to anything. It will either deflect until infinity, or trigger an anger response which will force the instigator or questioner to back down in order to not cause a scene.
Jealousy often works like this, because again, we are not dealing with mere emotions. We’re dealing with psychological triggers.
It is rare indeed when you can get a judgmental person to admit that they are being judgmental. That would require the ego to cede power, which is blasphemy.
Much more likely, you will get deflection, gaslighting, anger, and outright defiance, at the prospect of directly admitting to judgmental behavior.
Unhealthy minds need their little world of misery to remain intact. They have to simultaneously feel at the top of their fabricated pecking order, while also being maligned and oppressed at every corner. The balance must be properly maintained.
Jealousy and judgement plays a role in both sides of the scale here. Jealousy gives the ego the chance to “feel offended” and wronged, while judgement allows them to recoup by artificially placing this person or event that wronged them in a fabricated place of lesser stature.
By casting judgement, the ego is saying, “you made me feel something I didn’t like because I can’t process my own emotions. I will now declare you as insignificant, wrong, out of place, or stupid for doing this to me.”
The egotistic mind sees all people and things in a delusional schematic of value. Anything and everything that offends or even lightly inconveniences the ego must, by nature, be wrong.
The jealousy comes first. This is the trigger-response that the ego feels automatically by understanding its own lack and shortcomings, and the result is judgement, the process of placing undue blame on someone or something in order to classify it as unworthy or beneath the ego.
In this way does an unhealthy person perpetuate the idea that they are both God’s gift to humanity and also endlessly persecuted and oppressed.
The unhealthier the ego is, the more obvious these behaviors are in a person.
How to Break The Cycle of Toxic Impulses
Whenever you’re dealing with dismantling the ego and reclaiming your personal power, there’s a general 3-step process.
You must first admit that you engage in the behavior, disconnect / disassociate from the ego response, and ultimately rebuke the behavior itself.
It helps to first internalize two things: you are not your emotions, and just because you “feel” something doesn’t make it right.
We live in a culture that applauds people just for having “their own feelings and opinions.”
That’s nothing to applaud anyone for. That’s a death trap.
Great, wonderful, you have your own fee-fees. This doesn’t make you or anyone else special, and the emotions themselves have absolutely no validation whatsoever.
I’m sure Hitler had plenty of emotional conviction when he setup the gas chambers. I’m pretty certain the rage-fueled emotionally charged terrorists who every day take lives based on false premises are acting based on what they “feel” is right rather than what is actually right.
No, your “emotions” mean nothing. This goes doubly for the negative “emotional response triggers” of the ego.
These aren’t even so much emotions as they are biochemical and psychological impulses.
They don’t have inherent validity. They don’t have inherent worth. And they don’t serve any good purpose, or any proper purpose at all really, other than perpetuating the existence of the ego.
Admitting you engage in these emotional reactions is the first step to disconnecting from them.
You have to, for your own sake, make the distinction between your Self, and your “emotions.”
These are two different things.
Negative emotional responses, like anger, jealousy, mendacity, projection, narcissism, manipulation, lying, etc. are in fact not you.
None of it is you. You are not your emotions to begin with, but you are most certainly not your ego’s emotional trigger reactions.
Stop associating and connecting with these responses. Stop identifying with them.
Realize that your Self is above such nonsense, and that if you are acting in the present, disconnected from the ego, you will not act on such negative emotions, because they are not you and have no control over you.
Disconnection takes time. Meditation and body-mastery are usually the recommended means of dealing with an overly developed ego.
You have to begin training your mind to associate with what is real, instead of what the ego wants you to believe is real.
This process is not something that happens overnight. There are pitfalls inherent when you talk about disassociating with the ego, one of them being a false sense of accomplishment.
For example, it’s common for those who are just beginning to engage in self-reflection to assume that just because they have briefly and slightly acknowledged the problem or the behavior, that they are suddenly on some golden path and have had an awakening.
Often, they are just patting themselves on the back while the ego goes on doing exactly what it’s always been doing.
Sometimes, it’s even a step in the wrong direction, because “progress” in this sense can just be another mask of narcissism and inflated importance.
To get to the core of the problem and disassociate from the ego, you must first come to grips with the inherent wrongness of your behavior.
This is the great hurdle most have problems with. Overcoming it with meditation is the key.
When you learn to associate with the Self, you can turn your awareness inward on your ego, and when this happens, you realize how absurd and horrible your behavior really is.
Healing is often seen as this light and fluffy experience. You’re told it’s all happiness and rainbows, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s an ugly process. Healing is downright painful.
To heal the mind and find an escape from toxic impulses, you have to take responsibility and realize you were allowing those impulses to control your behavior.
You weren’t taking responsibility for your emotions. You were letting the ego call the shots at the expense of everyone around you.
Break the cycle by getting in touch with who you are.
Be present. Be mindful. And most of all, practice meditation and association with your Self.
The Nature of Emotions
It’s also worth noting that you should not ever dwell on the physical stimuli that evoked the emotional response. This is a fool’s errand.
Understand that pain and negativity don’t come from physical events, they come from your emotional responses to events. This is why two different people can endure the exact same event and have two completely different responses or come out “feeling” completely different despite there only being one truth, or one outcome.
That alone should tell you everything you need to know about the nature of emotion as it relates to personal happiness and well-being.
Often, during the pursuit of healing toxic behaviors, people will get caught up in trying to rationalize their ego-based emotional responses based on the physical events or stimuli that caused it.
First of all, emotions are NEVER “caused.”
They are the product of allowing either your Self or the ego internalize energy, which can be sensory input of any kind.
This society teaches us that emotions are out of our control, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
All students of self-mastery know and understand that emotions fall within the purview and control of the Self.
If you are not in control of the Self, and instead governed by your ego, you may assume wrongly that you cannot control your emotional responses, but this is yet another trap of your ego.
Your ego desperately wants you to believe that you cannot control your emotions, for if you could, your ego and its illusions would cease to have any power over you, because you would be able to think and feel for yourself.
The takeaway from this is to know that no event, person, word, or thing can ever “make you feel” an emotion against your will. If you believe this, you don’t have control over your own mind and body and desperately need to begin mindfulness meditation immediately.
An extension of this, is to know that all the illusions and deceptions of the ego exist in part to keep this fact hidden from you.
For example, would you ever wrongly cast judgement on someone out of spite if you could control such behavior?
Of course not, unless you’re simply a terrible person with negative intentions.
Would you ever get angered or upset over a minor bit of unlucky happenstance?
The answer is very obviously no.
Such is the nature of self-mastery and awareness. The second you disassociate with the ego and realize you have the power at all times, the very power sources of the ego crumble.
The ego is self-perpetuating. The only way to overcome it is with the Self, which is outside the ego.
Keep this in mind if you encounter a situation where you are feeling any kind of detrimental emotion.
Who is this emotional state or reaction benefiting? Probably not you, right?
Who wants to feel angry, spiteful, jealous, or lonely on purpose? That’s the point.
These emotional states don’t benefit you, they don’t serve you, they aren’t for you and never were.
They exist for the ego, and were created by it.
Don’t play the game, don’t feed the cycle.
Emotions Can’t Govern Emotions
One final thought on taking back your control from the ego and stopping judgmental behavior, you cannot fix emotional problems with emotions.
What I mean by this is, you cannot fix judgmental behavior by being angry or sad.
You can’t fix feelings of loneliness with feelings of spite and regret.
You can’t fix anger with joy – the anger will still be there when the joy fades.
To “fix” (process) emotions, you have to let them go.
Specifically, you have to release the part of your ego that associates with or is holding onto the emotion for the sake of its identity.
Often, a negative emotional response will be associated with a specific part of an ego’s constructed personality.
Judgmental behavior is often an integral part of an ego’s personal identity facade. Judgement of others is the ultimate indictment of the self, in terms of the ego.
It’s usually used to save face in some kind of way, either out of spite, jealousy, greed, regret, or anger.
Remove the part of you that is spiteful, jealous, greedy, regretful, or angry, and you’ll remove much of the judgmental behavior.
Stop trying to govern your emotional deficits with other emotions. This is how you perpetuate a state of constant confusion, longing, and misery.
Your happiness and contentment will be fleeting if you try and wield emotions like a weapon or band-aid.
Emotions are meant to be felt, processed, and let go of. All at once.
If you hold on to an emotion any longer than the present calls for, it means your ego is using it for something, or the emotion itself came from the ego, and your only experiencing the after-effects.
Toxic impulses are controllable. They can be eradicated. But in order to do so, the three step process must be adhered to.
Admit your judgmental behavior. Disconnect from the part of your ego driving the judgmental behavior. Rebuke the judgemental behavior utterly by declaring your independence of the emotion and vow not to fall into the same cycle again.
This is where healing begins.
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.