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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Stop judging and start living
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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Stop judging and start living

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We tend to make sense of the world using the binary notions of good and bad. Situations, people, events all produce either positive or negative responses in us; that was a good meal, the traffic was bad, I've had a good/bad day. We relentlessly pass judgement throughout our lives, believing that this is somehow making sense of the world.

In truth, these assertions are nothing more than fickle fabrications, skewed to our limited perception of the world and made purely to bolster a fragile ego that is intrinsically fearful. Putting people down and constantly comparing yourself to others is a very damaging mental state to be in. Yet the media and our society serves to fuel our judgemental natures in the interest of capitalism, so we often don't even recognise it as a form of insanity.

Allowing the harsh critic in our heads to pass judgement on everything we encounter in our lives prevents us from seeing the beauty in the world and living life to the full. When we practice acceptance we are freed from the unhappy feelings generated from what is 'bad' and wanting what is 'good' and we learn to love our lives unconditionally.

Obviously, this is easier said than done. We like to believe the voice in our head and place faith in our own convictions, so an attempt to change these ingrained thought processes is difficult. As with all mindfulness practices, the first step is awareness and then creating habits which reinforce a different mindset. There are no magic wands in the wellness world, only realisation and perseverance; however the rewards are no less magical.

Once you become aware of when judgemental thoughts have infiltrated your headspace, then you can develop techniques to withdraw your attention from them, effectively eliminating their only energy source.

Below are three points you may find useful.

Language

Start to notice how loaded certain language is in propelling our judgemental natures. We are encouraged to have an opinion on everything; I like that shop, I hate sushi. Of course there are times when this helpful, if you don't like to eat meat then this is something you must voice when dining out, however we tend to fall into the trap of having to either like or dislike everything single thing we come into contact with.

Bring awareness to your internal dialogue and see how often you swing from positive response to negative responses. It's actually quite exhausting, especially for the brain's finite energy resources. Try to inject your conversations and the way you think with more neutral language and find other ways of expressing yourself other than dictating the things you're in favour of and what you've decided is bad.

People

This is a big one. Whether you do it out loud or in your head with an angelic smile on your face, the fact remains the same. The judgements you pass on people are merely a reflection of your own fears and this negative psyche is damaging you more than anyone else. When you notice yourself judging people, firstly just be aware that you're doing it and sometimes this is enough, but if want to go further then negate the thought by asking yourself what it actually says about you.

This should be an opportunity for self awareness and growth, not an excuse to beat yourself up with the same judgment stick you use on others. It's vital you practice self love here, otherwise you are merely strengthening the judgement 'muscle' in your mind. Be grateful for any awareness and embrace the opportunity to change the focus of your attention.

Media

News and entertainment via the media makes up a big proportion of our lives. It involves us in what's going on globally and is a means of escapism from the real world. The trouble with certain channels/newspapers/magazines is that they instigate strong, divisive opinions on people and events, which reinforces the binary narrative of good vs bad. This creates a mindset which becomes a reality when going about our daily lives and ultimately makes us unhappy. Try to balance what you consume via the media and keep in mind that it is merely a reflection of reality, and sometimes not even that.


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