by CASSIE MCINTYRE
How long has it been since you last passed judgment on something or someone? I find it’s sometimes impossible to go through life without making certain assumptions on things. In fact, as humans, it would go against our inner nature to have our minds float freely with no regard to the environment around us.
We constantly judge things. The judgments can often be harmless and necessary but are often harmful and unnecessary. For example, when you’re in the grocery store picking out fruits do you pick up the bruised apples or the other misshaped fruits? Chances are you don’t pick up any type of fruit that looks out of the norm because in our minds, it doesn’t look good. We do this with everything, not just our weekly produce pickup.
We often find ourselves looking and obsessing over material things like clothes and shoes; we look at animals; and we look at other people when our inner commentary takes over and narrates our situation with a list of positives and negatives that are going on in the moment. While this state of mental assessments is unavoidable, in the moment, it’s nothing we cannot meditate on to help better ourselves for the future.
Let’s think about those bruised apples in the grocery store. While judging the ripeness of fruits and vegetables by their exterior is relatively harmless making the same assumptions of a fellow human being or ourselves can have negative long term effects on not only our yoga journey but also our everyday lives.
As a yoga practitioner, it’s important to work on our judgmental mind and take responsibility for our thoughts. Thoughts, like actions, are choices we make moment to moment. In yoga, when we practice difficult postures and doubt ourselves we are making those negative judgments effect our practice to the point where many of us give up. Self-doubt in our yoga practice is not something to be ashamed of. We, as people, need those hesitations to help us overcome tougher challenges in the long run. Hesitations can help us work up to overcoming barriers and push through tough times on and off our mats and help us work through challenges we might often overlook or avoid.
If you find that your judgments are often directed towards yourself I recommend finding the time to write down what you like about yourself and or what you’re good at. If you don’t want to write anything down take five minutes to meditate on what you like about yourself. Forgive yourself for any mistakes and know you can do better tomorrow. Judgements stem from separation. When we judge ourselves we feel separated from our true nature. When we judge others we see them as “other” or not as good as X, Y, and Z.
The ability to see yourself in all people, all beings and all things is the definition of an open heart. Judgment-free self-love is not based on any particular successes or failures.
Maybe what really works is the willingness to remain open-hearted in the real world. To get offline, stop comparing ourselves to others, and treat people how you yourself would like to be treated, with respect, understanding, forgiveness, and love.
Remember it all starts with you.
If we can change our thinking we can eventually change our world.
Cassie McIntyre is a NASM certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and nutritional coach at The Edge Fitness in Bristol.