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. 

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