Something I’ve noticed over the years in the spiritual- or self-development realm, is how easily the path can lead us to self-criticism. This usually leads to nowhere, except possibly to more feelings of shame, and more judging of ourselves and in turn others as well.
Non-judgement is often talked about as one of the most important attitudes in mindfulness practice. But thinking about adopting a non-judgemental approach can make us feel inadequate if at that moment we feel far from it.
Whenever we think that we ”should” feel anything other than what we are feeling right now, we are often on the fast track to self-shame, judgement and criticism.
So here comes a reminder that in mindfulness practice there are no ”shoulds”. If there is anything to strive for, it’s to not judge our judging. This is the actual meaning of ”non-judgement”: to notice when we are being judgemental and to not judge ourselves for it.
Also, here is another, even more important reminder. Love and kindness are the antidotes to judgement.
This is the journey we are on. A call for love.
Here is a suggestion on how to work with these challenging emotions and thoughts.
We practice expanding our awareness of what we are feeling and thinking. This is the foundation of mindfulness practice.
This is the only way we will know when we have stepped into a state of self-judgement or criticism. In time we might learn to recognise the first or early signs of it happening. We might begin to recognise when it tends to happen, and what tends to cause it. When we get more intimate with ourselves in this way, we begin to get to know our common feelings and emotions better.
Next, we practice meeting those feelings with compassion and kindness.
We honour the place that we are at right now.
We practice being loving and kind to that part of ourselves.
We extend our love to these parts of us. They often carry our deepest wounds. It is also where the biggest opportunity for healing likely is.
If love or kindness feels too much of a stretch at that moment, see if you can meet your feelings with a little bit of curiosity. Feel where in the body you can sense the feeling the most? Get a little closer to it. See if you can even try to talk to it?
Why is it here?
Is there something it wants?
Is there something it is asking for?
Does it have something to say to you?
Can it show you something? Can you listen, even for just a brief moment?
See if you could extend love, kindness, or even simply some curious attention, to whatever is arising.
You are not here to remove or improve parts of you that you deem unwanted or unworthy. You are worthy and whole even on the days when you feel fragmented or broken.
We are all constantly in the process of change, just like all of nature and every living thing in this world.
Remember and connect to the place in you, where all of you is equally loved.