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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

SUSPEND YOUR JUDGMENT: Door2Challenge January 5th, 2018

Today's challenge is to spend a bit of time noticing the flow of judgments your brain narrates.  Some will be future casts:  "It's so cold; I'm going to be miserable today".  Some are past-bashing:  "I was a terrible partner/mother/field kicker/student".  A lot will be about other people:  "She must not be very smart", "I wouldn't like him", "He just did that to piss me off".

curious or foolish?
Sometimes our judgements are really discernment, aggregated data we use to sort and to understand potential pitfalls. It's not judgmental to have negative thoughts about a person lunging angrily at you.  It's probably more effecient to get the hell out of there, though.

Today practice presuming BENIGN INTENT, the idea that most people are doing the best they can and mean us no harm. Assume we don't have all the information to truly know their motivations and intents.  That scowl may just be their resting face.  The distraction may not be lack of interest in your needs but preoccupation with their own.  The guy who cut in front of you may not have seen you, may be very late to something important, maybe unaware his turn signal isn't working.  It's possible it wasn't a plot to annoy or scare you.  The woman who is keeping you on hold at her cubicle job is just trying to make a living, pay for a place to live, feed her kids.  Sure, her script is stilted, and maybe her accent is hard to understand, but she's more like us than not, trying to get through the day with the least possible suffering entailed.
Youth gang?  Healthy festive teens?

We can easily fall into traps of thinking others are less than or more than we are.  Both traps are bad and keep us wary and separate.   If you've a mind to, go for extra credit toda and try to understand the other to the point that at least some judgments start to fall away.  she how that poor mama loves on her kid, how strong that fat man is, how kind the alcoholic, offering you a half of his sandwich.

Good ol Annie-- ridiculous person, or master of fun?
And listen especially carefully to our own inner dialogue-- your fear weasel that says you can't make it, you're not enough, you don't belong, you'll never amount to a hill o beans, it's too late etc etc etc....

I mean, really? 

See if you can answer those questions without opinions, just with facts.  Like:  Sometimes my brain doesn't work as week as other times.  Or:  I can be aloof when I feel vulnerable and other people may interpret this as snobbishness.  We all have our defender behaviors.  How about for today we just observe them with a keen and kind eye, trying to figure out their function,and instead of acting them outwe just watch them from a little distance.  We can remind ourselves that moods and fears pass and look for the core that connects us.

Possibile activities for this challenge:  have lunch with an other or a conversation with a stranger.  Look for commonalities between you (you can make this into a game-- find three obscure facts about each other you have in common)..

Do a fearless self-inventory of your failings and rewrite it as FACTS about you, HABITS about you, INTENTIONS of these habits.  Dont forget to put in FACTS about your Strengths as well.

I have a Buddhist friend who, when I would say something judgmental about a fellow human ("she lots a hot mess") would gently bring me out of judgment with remarks like :I don't know her story.  I am not better than she or she than me."  My sister in law gave  me a lesson many years ago when I was in my salad days and saw a older bleached blonde woman in a very tight dress with teetery heels.  "Mutton masquerading as lamb", I said rudely.  Bhodi sister said "I love her self-confidence and that she dresses how she wants, not how others tell her she should. "  Great reframe. 

So just for today, watch those judgments spin out, and if you catch them, replace them with a benign or even positive reframe.  Or just let them drift on by and pay attention to what is really happening around you.  You might be surprised what you can learn, setting judgments aside and paying open attention to others. 

The world is a sweeter, safer place when we can corral our judgments and only pull them out when necessary after examining them through the lens of our preconceptions and limited exposures.  Here's a little film about that.

snail and catipilliar

See you tomorrow!


1 comment:

rebecka said...

These posts have been great thanks! The other day I had to explain to my family that I unknowingly furrow my brow, maybe while angry and maybe just when I am thinking. I ask them not to assume, but rather check in with me. Today my step son commented about someone looking at him disapprovingly, and he remembered my brow story and that made home feel better. I told him that same person came up to me to tell me how much he enjoyed seeing him that day. It will be a day to refer to time and time again, when discussing judgements.