[This is one of a series of 30-Day Experiments to do this year instead of New Year’s resolutions.]
Have you ever tried to stop being judgmental? Just quit, cold turkey?
I’ve tried, but those judgments keep jumping into my brain, wholly unbidden and unwelcome. “That person is too _______. This person isn’t ______ enough. Oh my, what an unfortunate haircut.” And on and on it goes.
I don’t think I’m alone in that. Nor, to be fair, do I think I am more judgmental than the average bear. It seems to be a very human characteristic. But it is out of alignment with who I want to be and how I want to relate to others. And it’s something I would love to change.
If you can relate, this one is for you.
Your 30-Day Experiment: Use your judgments as a springboard to the positive
The experiment has two simple steps.
Step one: Notice your judgments
As always, the starting point is awareness. Start paying attention to the judgments as they arise. If you’re already tuned in to them, go straight to the next step. But if they are such a habitual part of your mental landscape that you don’t even notice them, try spending a week just noticing first. Bring a sense of light curiosity to it.
Don’t make yourself wrong for having the judgments. Don’t condemn them. Don’t even try to eliminate or replace them. Just use them as a prompt to focus on the positive (step two).
Step two: Shift your perspective
Every time you notice a judgment about something, look at it as a flashing neon sign letting you know it’s time to explore shifting your focus. It’s an opportunity to practice again (and again, and again) noticing what’s positive.
Here are some questions to get the juices flowing.
- What do I appreciate about this person?
- What do I admire about this person?
- What can I notice about this person that is positive? How many positive things can I notice about this person?
- What is positive about this person’s _______ (sense of style, personality, beliefs, appearance, etc.)
- What has this person done that is positive?
- What positive characteristics does this person have?
- Is there a positive way to look at this thing I’m judging?
- Who sees this person in a positive light? Why?
- What is positive about this person’s story?
- What can I imagine this person’s story to be? (This one is for someone you don’t know anything about.)
- How would Love look at this person? What would Love see?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice using judgments as a positive focus prompt.
If you decide to take this 30-Day Experiment on, keep us posted here on how it goes!
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