Judgment is one of the first topics within mindfulness that I like to ask people to pay attention to. It becomes the filter through which you see everything; it frames your reality, and we all do a lot of it.
There are a variety of reasons that cause this behaviour. When you think about popular TV shows and the way the media does everything, this judgmental, cynical framework is everywhere. We’re being trained as a population to demonstrate these qualities a lot and to think that they’re normal.
Today, I want to discuss what’s happening with judgment and why it’s so important to be aware of your judgment and take responsibility for it.
For at least a day, observe what, who, and when you judge along with what triggers your judgments.
Watching your thoughts in this way is fascinating. Whatever you’re thinking about causes you to feel something. So, people think feelings are separate from thought, but they aren’t.
If someone is blocking traffic for a reason you don’t understand, you may think, “Come on, Buddy! You must not be the brightest bulb.” However, you’ll also likely feel impatient or maybe even angry. And those emotions lead to tension in your body.
If you become aware of your mind and take responsibility for it, you’ll create a kind of awakening. You’ll realize that the thoughts you were thinking were creating the tension and impatience you were feeling.
That isn’t to say that you won’t still have moments when you’re triggered.
I’d like you to notice that when you come through those poignant moments of a real flare-up, there is still a lingering emotion that is going to flavor the next many moments of your life. It takes time for all of the adrenaline, anger, and frustration to melt away.
In our earlier traffic example, it makes the rest of your drive home a bit crappy. And when you get home, you kind of import your crappy attitude right in the door with you.
You may drop your keys and have to pick them up, stub your toe on the doorway, drop one of the grocery items, have to clean it up from the floor, and it’s just like, “Grrr!”
But when you start becoming mindful, you can stop yourself before the progression gets to be all that. You can say, “Hey, wait a minute. I don’t want the next several moments to be crappy. This driver isn’t personally trying to make my life harder. We all have moments when we’re unintentionally inconsiderate. This delay isn’t going to affect my day unless I let it.” That person may have a reason for behaving this way, and even if they don’t – why let them ruin your day?
You skip the cascade of ick and get to continue creating the type of day you want.
That’s why it’s hard to go back to any other approach the moment you start being mindful and becoming aware. You realize you have so much more control over your life than you had thought about before.
I invite you to observe what, who, and when you judge along with what triggers your judgments for at least a day. Let me know in the comments what you noticed and how it changed your behavior.
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