What We Can Replace Self-Judgment With
Over cups of coffee, I ask my friend, What does self-kindness look like for you?
I have thoughts. But with the wise souls in my life, I want to know their thoughts. Even more, I want to know their actions: how do they hold themselves with compassion?
My friend smiles. Well, she says, I try to replace judgment with curiosity.
Oh, I think, now that's good.
So, my friend continues, if I'm feeling judgmental, I'll say to myself, Huh. Isn't that interesting?
We sip our coffee. I think how easily I contract into judgment. I judge my face when it's puffy in the morning, my compassion when I don't give money to a person on the street, my belonging when I feel like an outsider at the party.
Could I pause those judging statements and ask curious questions?
What's the pain/sadness/discomfort that's trying to be known? How does this all feel in my body? Or, like a buddy of mine says as she rubs her hands together, That's some juicy material! What shall we do with it?
Is it a practice? I ask my friend. She nods. She's been working on it for years, she says.
Well, I think, I've been working on judgment for years. So, I know I can stick to something for the long-run.
I thank my friend. And I feel that little gust of liberation that comes when someone offers us a wider way to be with ourselves.