A teacher tells three children, “I notice a lot of red in your drawing.”

The first child is confident and feels successful in his accomplishments. He thanks the teacher and is proud of his artwork. He may even tell others that his teacher liked his the best.

The second child feels “less than” and hears comments through a filter of judgment and criticism. Tears well in his eyes, and when the teacher walks away, he crumples up his drawing, breaks his red crayon, and throws both away.

The third child experiences life mindfully, observing, acknowledging, without judgment. He hears the teachers words, notices he has used a lot of red and then chooses to leave it that way or add more colors.

The teacher’s words and tone are the same, yet these three children experience the moment in very different ways based on their personal beliefs about themselves and others.

We all have beliefs we developed in childhood. They create the filters through which we experience life. They affect how we hear others, our feelings of being criticized or praised, our relationships, and our sense of worth and self-esteem.

Exploring the root of faulty beliefs, identifying how these filters may distort the messages we receive, challenging them, and finding more rational ways to process the words and actions of others enables us to live without the constant feeling of being judged and criticized.

My name is Kathleen Edelen. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor at Falls Church Wellness Center. My colleagues and I can help you identify your own faulty beliefs and change them. Check us out at fallschurchwellness.com