(6 min read)

Most of us have watched or at least have heard of the NBC T.V. singing competition show – The Voice. You know, the one where four celebrity judges start the season sitting back to the stage in their big Queen-Anne-like chairs. I love the design of the show; the concept is to bend an ear to the talent first, THEN declare to the world their choice by eagerly slamming their button versus other singing competition shows where contestants may be visually judged as they are singing. The judges cannot view the person and toy in concentration with sly glances at the other celebrity judges conniving when and if to make a move. The performance is enjoyed for the talent, “Yo, this human being can sing,” versus a potential first impression: “Dang, that kid is young” or “She is what 60” or … [insert judgment comment here] and THEN the afterthought of “Oh damn, the singing is aiiiiiight!”

Blake and Kelly snicker with hands hovering … then whammy, and they both whiplash a 180 in their red-amusement-park-ride chair, expecting the high-pitched, two-octaves above a C performer to be a “female.” Yet it results in an unveiling of a 40-year-old male, father of two, and, oh yeah, he is a mechanic who sides as a competitive power-lifter. OMG – I had to add the last part of the sentence just to crack myself up: piss my pants, laughing out loud rolling on the floor on that one.

Zooming through my DVR episodes this week, I began reflecting on how The Voice concept would enhance the love of our land. Man, oh man do we humans judge our physical appearance. Not only do we judge each other, but we also do a damn good job of self-judgment. We are masters at it. Skin tone/color, our size, hair length, ear dimensions, stubby toes to the length of a nose. It is absolutely ridiculous. But we ALL do it.

Coaching virtually is more challenging than coaching in person. Sure, I am known to make a client stand up during our sessions and do an exercise with me or to send me a picture of themselves on the scale, but when coaching virtually, you do not see someone’s vessel/container/body in full very often. SO… I am always looking for keywords for judgment of self or others, and when they pop up, I like to dissect the reasons behind the words and use a few visualizations in the process…

An example might be when a client compares their body size to that of another. Let’s take an overweight female complaining she didn’t work out this week, and it is the fault of the “skinny” chic at the gym. It might go something like this: “Well, I hate working out because all those skinny-ass beotches parade around in their short shorts, and I feel like crap before the class even starts. They probably have nothing else to do but work out all day, and I have a job!” Trust me, judgment comments such as this are not that uncommon.

I first and foremost, always acknowledge anyone’s feelings – they own them, and I am not on this planet to minimize the feelings! It is my job to be objective; bring forth the data; the two sides to every story approach, OR sometimes it feels like the five sides to every story approach, and come up with solutions … I love it. I, of course, push my clients outside their comfort zone to test waters, such as why they might be avoiding exercise altogether like in this example – it is most likely a deep-seated-something-else-rather not who else is a member at the gym.

I will walk through my “blindfold” method (remind her that if you couldn’t see her, would you still exercise) or the “outside the movie” method (you don’t have the whole skinny bitch’s story). So I might respond with these:

“If you couldn’t see the person you are judging, would you still go to the gym to work out?” Then I will pounce in with, “You do not know her whole story. Is she a recovery anorexic who has finally kept on the 25# through dedicated workouts, and the only way she can stick to it is to meet her trainer every single day? Or perhaps she has lost 100#, or maybe she comes to the gym to avoid the dumbass jerk husband who physically abuses her.”  It is a bit of The Voice approach. Everyone in a Zumba class with blindfolds on. HMMMM. NO ONE could see each other – I bet the classes would be full!

Another way I will use visualization is when a client judges their own body size with a comment such as “Well, I am 75# over-weight, so I am not hanging out with Mr. Meathead slamming his 100# dumbbells on the rack.” I use the “unzip” visualization method here. We cannot see what our organs or plumbing look like on the inside, regardless of the container we live in. A thin model or “meathead” might both avoid the doc because they feel they are visual epitomes of health, yet if we “unzipped” them and took a peek inside, we might see slimy plaque swimming around their heart vessels because they both guzzle saturated fats or smoke their guts out.

I also hear this one, “I am maintaining my healthy weight, and my blood work isn’t that bad, so until it shifts a bit south, a few sweets here and there and a glass or two of wine each night isn’t bad.” This is like saying George Burns lived to be 100, and he smoked and drank, so who cares if I do. Really?!! I then ask the person to visualize themselves even healthier and, more importantly, to process how their healthy or unhealthy choices will affect the future odds of those that might have to care for them. Increase your odds of being healthier in the future to lessen the burden of your family to and friends. I call this the “unselfish” method.

Seriously – let’s “The Voice” for even just a week:

  • Starting to judge someone? Pretend you just put a blindfold put on – the “blindfold” method. Enter into a non-judgment of their Earthly vessel/container. Whether a person is from the Middle East, has spiked-green hair, bad complexion, or housed in a small, medium or large frame, pretend you cannot see them. Are they smart, funny, and been all over the world?

  • If you start judging others, put into play the “outside the movie” method and remember you don’t know their whole story as they do not know yours. Conversely, if you start judging yourself, reflect on YOUR WHOLE story…the positives FIRST not just the areas of improvement. Perhaps you are poking at others when you are actually pissed off or frustrated with yourself?
  • Finally, “unzip” method. What might your insides look like or perhaps remember the skinny bitch or meathead might not be quite as healthy as you are perceiving them to be?
  • Don’t forget the “unselfish” method this week when you put off wellness – your health IS NOT just about you. It is about those around you as well.

I absolutely am not praying the world goes blind, and I suspect most of us do not have Superman xray-visioned abilities, so we can’t truly see how healthy we are on the inside… however, can we, for just one week, take The Voice seated-back-to concept with first a listen and then a learning approach BEFORE the visual sets in, and try to lessen our judgment of ourselves and others as we share just a glimpse of appreciation and love before we label the small, medium or large vessel? Yes, Yes!

“This is The Voice” …que music, Carson.

PS: if you put any of my above methods into play and want to share your story, email me at:

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Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC
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