Stop Judging – Take Back Your Power! Foundation of Mindfulness #1

At times, we form an opinion or conclude, deliberately or otherwise, only to find out that the story in our head is polluted. By judging, we work hard to build a wall and to protect ourselves and live securely. The problem with this stance in life is that it often prevents us from making meaningful and genuine connections with oneself and others. Although judging is an instinct, you can be aware of it and control your impulses. When you adopt a mindful outlook, you embark on the intelligence and wisdom track. The non-judging approach is the protective gear that will support you against unsound decisions and irrational reactions in life. Releasing judgment is stepping over self-made barriers to see and grasp “things as they are.”

Todd Schorr Art
Todd Schorr Art

The myths and sensationalized stories are good examples of our preconceived judgments. Overall, the side effects of judgments such as fear or condemning bad and good categories in our mental descriptions create prejudices, biases, and stress. The habit of categorizing is useful for filing systems, but when it comes to our life relations and connections at times, it limits our perspective and growth.

Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 3.25.47 PM
Todd Schorr Art

How to remove the obstructive judgemental attitude? 

  • Be mindful- Recognize the judgments that unfold whether you are performing a task or when you are in fight-flight mode. Observe how your mind describes the situation: as mundane, suspicious, energetic, or any other attribute that influences your behavior or reaction to that particular circumstance. For instance, to observe our judgemental mind, practice breathing. Set a time and start paying attention to your breath, and indeed, your oblivious mind will begin harassing you by labeling your practice as boring. Basically, the approach is not to suppress your judgment but to be aware of it.
  • Don’t take it personally – I remember that when our son started high-school, the amazing principal recommended that as the parents of young teenagers, do not take their withdrawn behavior and uncommunicative reactions personally. Instead, be continuously loving, caring, and have a set framework of rules. Don’t snoop; they will eventually talk to you and tell you all about their adventure but on their own time. It was great advice, one that kept the peace. Or, as adults, it happens that you will encounter disagreements. As long as you remember that the conflict is not about you, it helps to detach the “me” connection and give others the benefit of the doubt.
  • Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 3.25.14 PM
    Todd Schorr Art
  • rame – This approach is about not changing the facts but having an open mind to recognize that people have different ways of doing things or different perspectives. Instead of getting angry or miserable, channel your energy to pause and reflect. The challenge is to dive underneath the anger, and your oxygen tank is your ability to reframe. With regular practice, the efforts to reframe a situation become a habit, immensely rewarding, especially when you encounter setbacks. Reframing a problematic situation or dire circumstance allows you to transform the problems into possibilities and remain healthy, composed with a positive mindset.

    Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 3.23.45 PM
    Todd Schorr Art
  • Self-reflection – As soon as you start judging, try to ask yourself whether you have had the same or similar behaviour.

    Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 3.40.43 PM.png
    Todd Schorr Art
  • Don’t blame yourself or others- As much as the blame game is an easy defense mechanism, indeed, it is unproductive and unpleasant. The tendency to distort our self-esteem with blame is inept. Instead, see things as they are, and break away from blaming yourself or others. Again reframe the situation, replace words such as should to could or losses to learning experiences to make a pathway for much better opportunities.
  • Be a friend to yourself – Connect with your strength, intelligence, and love yourself. Dismiss negative thoughts and destructive criticism. When you stop judging, you will distance yourself from gauging others and assume an impartial approach in life. One that helps with mastering your mind.
Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 3.34.53 PM
Todd Schorr Art

Featured image by: Todd Schorr

Trust – Foundation of Mindfulness # 4

“In practising mindfulness, you are practising taking responsibility for being yourself and learning to listen to and trust your own being.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

In a world full of endless choices and challenges, self-doubt is the non-stop humming in the background. The overwhelming feeling from the incoming mixed messages in our head is confusing and debilitating, and exhausting. Feeling stuck or lost happens when our brain cannot make sense of the outside information or process the internal feeling associated with the new context.

Our capacity to feel confident and make decisions based on our authentic self is to shield our brain from the bombardment of mixed messages from the outside world and the numbing of our useless tweets in our head.

It is possible to learn how to trust yourself and start making decisions, yet; you have to accept that emotional vulnerability is part of the formula. Growth and transformation are not possible without the willingness to be exposed to discomfort and anxiety.

You can cultivate trust by shifting your attention from external and pointing it towards yourself. Paying attention to your emotions, experiences, and thoughts with a nonjudgmental attitude builds confidence in yourself and your potential. Gradually, you realize that all the incapacitating walls you have built over the years to defend yourself against challenges are not that daunting. As you learn to trust your inner resources, you grow confidence in your strength, and the threats weaken in whatever might come up.

Ways to increase self-trust

  • Be aware of your thoughts and feelings as much as you are focused on what you are doing – Whenever doubt creeps in, retreat, contemplate and identify the source of the emotions. Do not reject or judge your feelings; being uncertain means that you don’t have enough knowledge. This insight gives you the clarity to charge ahead and learn.
  • Be conscious of signals from your physical body, cravings, pain, or pleasure. As your body continues to perform its function, such as breathing or blood circulation, the concept of trust moves from perception to reality. An abstract idea manifests in the form of a physical system. This realization gives you no reason to doubt your capacity.
  • Make a list of all the qualities you like about yourself. Once you become aware of all your capabilities and virtues, you have created an intimate relationship with your trustworthy self. Rationally, when you are competent, reliable, and sincere, there is no reason not to trust yourself.
  • Recognize those poor choices you have made in the past that do not define your nor set in stone your path and destiny.
  •  Respect your feelings as much as you respect others.
  • Express your views and give input when you do have an opinion.

Like anything, you can establish an intellectual trust with yourself by setting the intention, paying attention and practice. For more information, please refer to mindfulness meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn.