Mindfulness Helps Human Beings Judge Less

To judge means to form an opinion or conclusion about something. If you are a human being, you’ve developed the judgment skill. This skill can be beneficial and also really hurtful. Over the years of practicing mindfulness, I’ve created a new relationship with this skill that feels and works better for me. You can read about how it affected the relationship with my husband here. I now can say I honestly judge myself and others A LOT less. Below is an example of how I once upon a time lived with judgment: (actual judgments in italics)

The Setting and Characters:

Downtown Milwaukee Public Library Infant and Toddler Story Time (circa 2007-2008). We, a group of mainly white-bodied new mothers and babies, would gather and sit in a circle with babies on laps while the teacher read stories and sang songs with us.

The Plot:

All would enter quietly because that is a library’s number 1 behavior expectation. They would patiently wait in the circle formation for the teacher to enter and the crazy mother with the two babies (1 older and Latino and one younger and white). Upon the arrival of the crazy mom, the older boy would run laps around the circle for fun while the younger one would stare at him in what appeared to be envy. All the other babies remained quiet and still in said laps.


The Spiraling Judgment in the Crazy Mom’s Head:

What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing? What am I supposed to be doing? What the actual hell is wrong with my children? Why can’t he sit down like all the rest? Are my kids bad? Please just sit down, you are making me look like a bad mom. Why are you doing this to me? They think I’m a bad mom, that I don’t know what I’m doing. It must be nice to have a perfect life and a perfect family, and perfect children who do all the right things at 6 months of age…

Time to pause.

Can you follow the spiraling train of judgmental thoughts?

Can you relate to this?

Do you notice how it starts with judging myself, then my son, and finally towards these women I never shared more than three sentences with?

The (First) Solution:

After six months of this personal hell brought on ONLY by me, I decided to join the local gym, drop my sons off in the daycare where they would be taken care of while running around, and I could elevate my heart rate for excellent mental health care.

The Mindfulness Solution (that I have and will continue to practice every single day until I’m no longer breathing):

After years of practicing mindfulness: paying attention purposefully to what’s happening right now, with curiosity and kindness (NOT JUDGEMENT), I can catch the critical voice much quicker. I hear her start in on me and quickly readjust before it spreads to others. Here is what my thoughts sound like now (in bold):

Hey, this feels uncomfortable right now, and that’s okay. Take a breath, and remember it’s only temporary. You’re a good mom, and he’s a good kid. He loves to move around, and that’s normal! Do what you can right now, and when you get home and can think more clearly, you can brainstorm other ways of engaging with your boys in meaningful ways for all of you.

What Does This Mean For You?

If and when you are ready to start a mindfulness practice, please do not hesitate to contact me. Here is an excellent Forbes Article to take a look at discussing mindfulness and utilizing it effectively.

In the next several weeks I plan on recording a 5-10 minute mindfulness practice for you to try on at your leisure.

Comment below if you’d like to hear one! I’ll send it straight to your inbox!

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