In an effort to interact more positively with myself (and by extension externally with the world) my counselor gave me homework for this week. I am to aim for 10% less judgement. This means judgements on myself, and my judgements on others.
10% doesn’t seem like a lot: it’s hardly even noticeable. Ten cents on the dollar, one coffee out of ten, delete one of every ten emails. But when you actually focus on it, it’s like an elephant in the room. Or one of ten elephants in the room. It seems easy to do less, but you have to be aware of what you are doing to do less of it.
The trick with changing your habits and thinking is that you have to be aware and catch yourself when you fall into your old routine. It’s easy to say you do what you usually do all the time. But to notice when your usual habits are self-defeating and to change that requires effort, poise, and energy. And some ninja powers.
I’ve worked on changing my language from “should,” “must,” and “need” to “would like” and “want.” It’s changing the perception from obligation to invitation. It certainly helps to create more calm and ease in my life, but it’s almost as much effort as being anxious all the time. Obviously, the payoff will be when these new habits are more rote pathways in my thinking. I can approach my life as a series of choices, rather than begrudging expectations of my time.
Having 10% less judgement means I need to calm my inner dialogue as well as my external expectations. This means more self-talking rather than self-listening. It’s more focussing on what I do want and motivating myself that way than negotiating or qualifying my arguments with my inner Napoleon.
I’m tired just thinking about it. At least now I can balance it out with 10 min of quiet.