For the last 6 years, I have set an intention to be less judgmental of myself and others. I’ve learned through my yoga practice how to become aware of my attachments and aversions, and shift my attention and focus to what I instead want to have more of in my life.
So many of my thoughts – and your thoughts – have been subconsciously wired in through observing people and all types of news, entertainment, and social media. Consciously choosing what you want to integrate into your brain and body requires presence of mind – something that seems quite scarce in the busy, complex reality of modern living.
The root of judgments largely arises out of comparisons and unmet expectations. They are not like these other people; he is not doing what I wanted him to do; I am not performing as well as I should; etc.
A judgment names a gap in performance that, when recognized and unaddressed, causes disappointment or frustration or stress. Not only are the judgments and resulting negative emotions unnecessary, but they also cause undue stress and anxiety and – perhaps more importantly – disconnection in the relationships in your life that are so crucial for fulfillment, connection, and well-being – at home, at work, and in our community.
Quick note of distinction: a judgment is negative and is different from discernment. Here, I am talking about judgements.
In June, I completed a six-week course that finally answered the request at the heart of my long-held intention: providing me with the tools to stop negatively judging myself, others, and circumstances. Well, not 100%, but at least 80%! In its place I now activate my wiser, more sage self and employ discernment. More on this in August.
The result is I am not experiencing the self-inflicted criticism that came from self-judgement, nor am I negatively judging others causing painful separation…. nor am I feeling as much stress or anxiety as life unfolds with unexpected twists and turns. Instead, I am feeling happier, more accepting, and more in the flow. I am more resilient and creative and more collaborative. All qualities I need, and really what we ALL need in today’s rapidly transforming world!
Want to know more? Over the past couple weeks, I’ve shared a selection of the practices I have learned in this course – and again this week I’m sharing another practice, with a focus on removing judgement to reduce your stress and boost your happiness and productivity. Stay tuned for next week’s more detailed introduction to this new “operating system” I’ve learned – and how you can take the same six-week course I took at no cost to you.
2 Minute “Reps” to Remove Judgment from Your Observations*
Read over these instructions, then close your eyes and move through the steps on your own.
With your mind’s attention, scan your body and notice which of your senses commands the most attention: is it something you are hearing? Or a physical tension or sensation anywhere on your body? A smell or something else? Focus on that dominant sensation and label it now, in the moment that your attention is on that sensation. If your attention stays with that same sensation, label it again…. and again…. until your focus moves to another point of attention. Then label that next sensation.
For example, if you feel soreness in your elbow, you might label it: soreness, elbow, soreness, elbow… until your attention moves to the aroma of coffee floating on the air from another room, in which case you might label it: coffee, smell, coffee, smell. Continue to label that until your attention moves to, perhaps a sound of distant fire engine: siren, loud, siren, louder, siren, softer, siren.
When your mind starts to describe the sensation further or get lost in story, let those details go and come back to the simplest single word descriptive label. For example, if the sore elbow reminds you of how you hit it on the bannister while walking down the stairs and your dog tripped you under your feet and that darn dog… then you drop that story and come back to… elbow, elbow, elbow. And if the aroma of coffee makes your mind wander to the fact that you used the last coffee filter this morning and why didn’t your partner buy them at the store, then you drop that and come back to… coffee, aroma, coffee. And so on.
Continue to practice following your attention to the most dominant sensation, then label it, and in each moment checking the next sensation and label it.
Set your timer for 1 minute or 2 minutes to practice this. And once the timer sounds, take two or three easy breaths, noticing the rise and fall of your chest or stomach.
This practice, in the moment, is focused on your senses and labeling them in the simplest way. It is also teaching your mind to NOT get caught up in story or negative experience or judgement or blaming or re-hashing old hurts. Thus, you are literally re-writing your brain to let go of judgment – a practice that will serve you in all situations, in all the roles you play in your life.
Once you have finished this practice, take a final full and deep breath and resume your regular activity.
This practice is one of hundreds from the course I’ve been telling you about these past few weeks. Be sure you read next week’s email when I introduce you to a more detailed description of the course and the operating system it teaches you. Can’t wait to see if you’ll be interested in joining the first offering of this free course!
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS ERIN?
As Erin and her family continue their year of nomadic life, they will be exploring different states in the U.S. and also (as restrictions lift) different countries. In July, Erin will be staying with family in the state of Iowa.