RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: March 2019

Take the One Day Judgment-Free Challenge

Even though I have been practicing and teaching self-compassion for several years now, it is still extraordinarily hard not to judge myself. I’m more aware of when I do it, but I still do it a lot. It is just so deeply rooted in the way we think. So automatic that it’s hard to catch, even when I’m being mindful of my inner dialogue. And so hard to come up with alternative statements. Let me give you some examples of some that I have been struggling with lately.

One thought I’ve been having difficulty with is that I feel fat, because I really have gained weight since my brother moved in with me. I specialize in eating disorders, so I know that fat is not a feeling. Yet it conveys the way I feel better than any feeling words I can think of. Usually my next thought is, I know I shouldn’t be focused on my appearance, but should is a judgment word, too. So now there are 2 sentences I need to change. And need is borderline judgmental. And on and on it goes. It’s hard to even get a sentence out without having to rephrase it.

The should sentence is easier because I practice reframing should statements with students a lot. It could be something like, I feel guilty and ashamed that I still care about how I look. (I would like to end that sentence with, even though I know better, but that’s judgmental, too.) That’s a lot longer to say in my head  than I feel fat, but it doesn’t make me feel like I’ve already failed.

The feeling fat sentence is harder. Maybe it could something like, I’m ashamed of my body in this moment. I kind of feel ashamed for feeling shame, too, but it’s OK to feel whatever we feel. There is no right answer.

Most of the time it is about shame when we judge ourselves or someone else. We think we–or the other person–is a bad person. Maybe they were mean to someone. Maybe they cheated. Maybe they voted for the other party. But I know I’ve done things that I’m ashamed of, and I try not to think of myself as a bad person. So who am I to say that someone else is a bad person? Who am I to say that I am better than anyone else?

Which brings me to the next sentence that I have difficulty coming up with a compassionate alternative for. And that is, I feel pathetic. Like fat, pathetic isn’t a feeling, either. But when I try to come up with other sentences, it’s something like, I feel like a loser, which is equally judgmental. The closest thing I’ve come up with is something like, I feel embarrassed, humiliated that I did that. That’s still painful to admit, but it’s the truth. Whereas being pathetic is not. Hopefully.

When all else fails, I use my favorite mantra: I’m doing the best that I can. Because I know that’s true. And all you can do is all you can do.

Since taking challenges is the in thing to do these days, I’d like to invite you to take a One Day Judgment-Free Day with me. See if you can spend just one day paying attention to whether you use judgmental language. And when you notice that you have, take a few minutes to think about how to rephrase that sentence. It will be tough, and you may find yourself judging yourself for your judgments, but be compassionate about that, too. We all do it. It doesn’t make us bad people.

If you do take on the challenge, let me go how it goes! I’d loved to hear what it was like for you.

Do I Know You from Somewhere?

soulmate

Our latest book in Remedial Book Club is Wings of Time: Breaking Darkness, by SD Barron. It’s a great book, and she is a local author, so I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a good read. In the book, the 2 main characters, Hallie and Liam, are soulmates. Well, she doesn’t use that word explicitly, but when they kiss for the first time, it feels as though they have missed doing so. As though they had done so in a previous life. If you’ve dated someone in more than one lifetime, that person probably qualifies as a soulmate.

In the biography about Edgar Cayce, There is a River, Cayce says that we will continue to get involved with the same people in our next lives, working out conflicts until we get them right. So he suggests that if you have a problem with your partner now, you might as well get it resolved in this lifetime. If we keep getting involved with the same people in different lifetimes, that also implies we have soulmates. And Cayce was psychic, so he would know.

I looked up what Plato said about soulmates, since he was the first person to talk about them. In his story, Zeus split humans in half because they were a threat to the gods. After that, each human lived in misery, forever searching for their other half. When they find one another, there is an immediate recognition of the other, and they reunite and live happily ever after.

I’ve definitely had the experience of meeting someone who I felt like I already knew. Not just with romantic partners, but with friends and other people, too. Recently I had to call this dietitian that was working with one of my clients (X). The first thing she said to me was, what are we going to do about X? As though we knew each other and had worked together for a while. We laughed and joked a lot in what was supposed to be a consultation between 2 professionals who had never met.

The second time we talked, I told her that I felt as though we already knew each other, and she agreed. We felt like we probably would have been friends if we didn’t live in different states. The last question she asked me before we ended the conversation was what I was dressed up as for Halloween, because it was Halloween that day. Really professional, right? If you know me, then you know that I love dressing up for Halloween. But she doesn’t. Or does she?

So what does that make her? My professional soulmate? Did we work in the same practice together in a former life?  Maybe we have an entire soul neighborhood with the same friends and family and pets but they get spread out all over the world in the next life. Maybe that’s why you can feel that recognition with more than one person.

This is the 5th time I’ve dated my current boyfriend. The first time was 30 years ago when I was taking this 300 level philosophy class. I had dropped my intro philosophy class my first year of college because I thought it was going to be too hard. But the next year I decided I wasn’t going to let philosophy beat me! So I took this esoteric class on Kant and Hume to prove I could do it, and he was in the class because he was a philosophy major.

Our first date was the worst date I’ve ever had. We disagreed about where to eat, what movie to see, what to do, who should walk in front of whom. And yet we still talked and did things together for the rest of that semester. A year later, we dated one summer when we both stayed in Charlottesville, and that went really well. But then he went abroad and we cheated on each other. And then we dated again a year later, shortly after we graduated, and it ended badly. And then again about 15 years ago, and it ended badly. And then we started dating again last year.

I have never dated anyone more than once. I don’t even remain friends or stay in touch with most of my ex’s after the relationship ends. So dating someone 5 times is really unheard of for me. Probably for most people. Especially since it only went well 1 out of the 4 times prior. I’m not sure if I believe in soulmates, but it’s hard to deny that there is something that draws us together over and over. Who knows? Maybe this could be our 100th time if you add up all of our lives. Which would make both of us really slow learners.

If nothing else, it makes for a good story about how we met.