As a society, we like to be victims. I mean, we’re really good at it.

We throw transgressors in prison and call them “criminals” because we feel vindicated and more “safe” with them locked away and cut off from their lives in the outside world. In doing so, we teach them that they ARE bad. They’re criminals! They are destined to screw up. They perpetually deserve punishment.

And if someone believes that they perpetually deserve punishment, they will perpetually do things that warrant punishment.

And then the rest of us wonder why most prisoners commit more crimes once we let them out of jail.

They must be bad people, right?

Every choice has consequences that we may decide are negative or positive. Without judgments, these things are simply facts (i.e. I chose to trust the man/woman I love), and we have the gift of the opportunity to learn from our choices about what works and what doesn’t work WITHOUT creating beliefs about ourselves that may drive us to associate our identity with the judgments – negative or positive- placed on our actions.

If the man I love cheats on me, that is a fact. If I decide that he hurt me, that men cannot be trusted, or that I am not capable of being with a trustworthy man, those are judgments. Sometimes, those judgments become beliefs.

If I believe I am bad, I will consistently act accordingly, and no amount of incarceration will change that.

If I believe I am unworthy of being loved and cherished, I will continuously prevent that kind of relationship from manifesting in my life.

If I believe that I am broke, I will be broke.

Teaching kids from the context of right and wrong is not a supportive life skill. When we teach kids (and adults) that the things they have done are wrong, they learn that they are wrong. Right vs Wrong are judgments, not facts. Consequences are facts, and they are universal.

If you’re reading this, it’s too late. You already live your life based on judgments imposed upon you from birth that you have made into beliefs.

The good news: you can always re-write your beliefs!

So, how have you held yourself prisoner of beliefs that don’t serve you? What punishing beliefs are you ready to give up, today?