As spring approaches, it invokes images of new births and new beginnings. Have you gotten the Spring cleaning bug yet? That urge to get rid of all those items you have collected that no longer serve you? You keep them around just in case you need them. This month I say toss ’em! This month’s newsletter focuses on one item that is certainly best left out on the curb, judgments of ‘ others that can cause us to feel separate or angry or sad. Allow the rain showers to wash judgment away, it makes room for beautiful flowers to blossom.
With Love, Melissa
Are Your Stories Trustworthy? More often than we like to admit, we judge ourselves and others. These judgments cause us pain and, usually, we can’t really know them to be true.
Unlike judging whether your car will fit in that parking space, there is no ultimate truth when judging others, or ourselves. Our judgments can be better described as stories that we invent to explain the unknown. For example, “My father wasn’t around because he didn’t love me.” The judgment, that the father did not love, is simply a story to explain why the father was not there. If we were to ask “how is it known that father didn’t love?”, the answer would likely be “because he was not there.” Of course this does not suffice. The opposite could be just as true. “Father was not there because he did love me.” Perhaps he thought he would be a disappointment or cause harm if he stayed. It is far less hurtful to believe one’s father had poor judgment or self-esteem than to believe he did not love. So why do we cling to our painful stories so desperately? A client of mine has struggled with the concept that he “screws things up.” Knowing that everyone fails at times, that it is part of gaining experience and knowledge and that many things are beyond our control, it is still life changing and scary for him to let go of that story. If parts of your story are painful, think about tossing them out this spring!
Psychoanalyst Carl Jung proclaimed that we all have our dark side, our flaws, our “shadow.” He stated that this shadow is often hidden from our conscious mind and it is healthier to be as aware of our shadow as possible. The fact that we all have faults and are often unaware of these faults should come as no surprise. An interesting part about his theory states that we can get a peak at our own faults in our judgments of others. In other words, as you pass moral judgment on someone else, you are likely tapping into what you subconsciously know is flawed in yourself. We can learn about ourselves from our judgments, before we put them out on the curb with all the other items that we no longer need!
This Month’s Challenge;
Do Some Spring Cleaning
Consider replacing a judgment of what another person “should” or “shouldn’t.” While driving a couple of weeks ago, I found myself judging that a colleague should be more sensitive, more aware and less concerned with prestige. I thought about how it would be more conducive to us working together and certainly more comfortable. Then it dawned on me. She is the perfect lesson to help me to grow and expand my strengths and I need to allow her to learn from me as well. Consider that “It is exactly how it should be.” Challenge yourself to uncover a personal flaw you have been projecting onto others. Question the truthfulness of your stories and ask if they are helpful or harmful. Find a story that is the least hurtful and consider whether it could be true.