Several days ago, I decided to take up a suggestion from the book, The Seven Levels of Intimacy, and attempt to go twenty-four hours without judging anything--that's right, ANYTHING--either good or bad. I knew it would definitely be a challenge, but I considered myself a relatively non-judgmental person. How bad could it be? Well, pretty bad actually(Warning: Judgment!). The first day was horrible (see the judgment?). Ok, let's back up. The first day was . . .the first day. See, this is harder than it looks on the surface. A number of insights have surfaced for me from this challenge already, and I want to share them with you.
One of the first things I decided was that swearing off judgment is like swearing off chocolate or bread and pasta or (insert your favorite poison here--and I use the word deliberately). All of a sudden, all you can think about is chocolate or pasta. The first day for me was truly eye-opening, and perhaps I-opening, too, as I realized just how much I judged. I judged my thoughts, my actions, things that happened or didn't happen, other people. Landmines everywhere. What a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day! Or, was it? First lesson in non-judgment: check!
I was mentally and emotionally exhausted from Day 1, and waited a day before wading back into judgment-free waters. On Day 2, I woke up and my first thought, the very first one!, was a judgment. I could have chosen to throw in the towel on the day right then and there, but decided to persevere. It was on Day 2 that I realized just how much I judged my own emotions. I felt very sad on Day 1 and Day 2. I don't like feeling sad. In fact, I dislike it very much. Sad, I have concluded over the years, is bad. Wow! I wondered on Day 2 just how much I have judged my own emotions over the years. I'm afraid to even guess. Recovering control freak that I am, I can only imagine how I have attempted to control my emotions over the years through judging them. Hmmmmm. Judging as a means of control. Second major lesson in non-judgment: check!
I also realized on Day 2 that there is such a thing as anticipatory judging. You might think anticipatory judging is the same thing as worrying, but it's not. With anticipatory judging, you are not worried about the upcoming event or situation. You know you can handle it. You've just already decided how it will be, or, to be more precise, how your experience of it will be. In this case, I had decided as I was getting ready for work that an anticipated situation would be bad--something I wouldn't like. When I realized that I had made this judgment, I was able to release it, and consciously made a choice to allow the experience to be whatever it needed to be. In other words, I became open. I-open. I hopped in shower, and when I checked the time on my phone as I was drying off, there was a text message. The anticipated event which I had predetermined would be bad had been called off while I was in the shower. Hmmmmmmm. Openness as a means of control. So counter-intuitive. Third major lesson in non-judgment: check!
I have more insights to share, but I think I will save them for tomorrow's post. I have a few strategies to share as well. Thanks for dropping by! Thoughts, anyone?