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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Judgements - And How They Hurt Yourself

To judge can be a good thing and help us make decisions. Most of the time, the mind is occupied by a constant flow of judgements, which is about a productive a the system idling process of my computer. Except while it occupies my mind, it is also harming my ability to approach the world with an open and curious mind...

Judgements: Usually they let us know where we stand with things. They reflect our own opinions and help weigh a current situation in terms of our "pre-set" opinions. In a dangerous situation it saves us time and might save our life. But truthfully, how often are we in a situation where every second counts. I myself have only been there once, when a robber pressed a 10 inch-bladed knife on my chest. My judgement was instantaneous, not to go after the can of pepper spray in my fanny pack and instead hand it over to the thief and let him walk away with it. Now THAT is, when judgements are extremely helpful. But most of the time - in 99.9 per cent, they turn into a limiting crutch that keeps us from making the best out of a moment, out of life. Judgements are often handed down, internalized opinions of loved ones around us. They were the price of admission to being part of a group. Sometime, we might use judgements about someone in order to elevate our selves. Often we judge simply because we want to exchange "knowing" for the discomfort of the unknown. To "know" gives us the sense of security and power.

During my spiritually based coaching training I heard that we could free up hours in our days, once we stopped judging other people. Wow, now that´s what I would call a great time management tool. I started putting this statement to the test. Sure enough, many of my thoughts turned out to be a judgement and not helpful at all. So, after the first step of catching myself with judgemental thoughts, I started the habit of releasing them by acknowledging their presence and sending them on their way again. Nice! I did not have to spend any further time and energy on these thoughts, not to mention hours after hours that I saved by not having to share my thoughts and encounters with my husband or my girlfriends (which would be gossip).

What a relief that was. Over time my whole life changed somewhat. And I like it a lot. I still get a lot of these thoughts at times, but I don´t nurse them or elaborate on them. I actually encourage my husband to point it out, in case I do start getting into it, which happens occasionally. Every time I catch myself when doing it, I first notice that sensationalizing feeling in my body. Pretty soon the image of a spider in her web approaching her unsuspecting victim appears in my mind. I like that reminder and at that point I catch on to what is happening and start retreating from my judgements with a smile. It feels so great not to have to do that, not to have to be the person who has bad thoughts about others and is envious of what others are or have. It has been said that we can´t decide what thoughts pop into our head, but that we can decide what to do with these thoughts. How true! In my experience, these first thoughts change over time according to where we choose to take our thoughts most of the time.

Now, THAT is good news!!

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