Friday, October 28, 2011

Do something Friday

The other day, I got a few questions about the definition of mindfulness.  Particularly, the "without judging your behaviors" part.

I'd like to take a few minutes (and have you spend some time this weekend) thinking about judgment.

Obviously, I am encouraging you to pay attention to what you are doing.  Autopilot behaviors tend to be very consistent -- which is great if they're working for you...but not so great if they aren't...because they are repeated without much thought being put into them.

Judgment, though, is an interesting thing because it locks that behavior up and reinforces the story you've created around it.  Stories are not necessarily "the truth", they are the slant with which we see things.  For example, my story used to be that I don't like coffee.  Well...I didn't....until I actually tried it.  And then I did.  Now my story is "I love coffee".  Another story of mine is that "I am a sweets eater".  If I believe that about myself, I am going to seek out sweets of all kinds because that behavior is consistent with who I believe myself to be -- and I prompt myself to act accordingly.

Judging behaviors means saying being a sweets eater is "bad".  There are a couple problems with this but the biggest one is that it is hard for humans to hold the concept of the "behavior is bad" in their head.  They like to jump to "I am bad because I participate in this behavior".  I am pretty sure most of you talk negatively to yourself enough that you don't really need any reinforcement in that area.

If judgmental attitudes made one skinny -- what size should you be?

So if is makes you feel bad, doesn't help you lose weight, and reinforces a skewed view of yourself, how is judgement helpful?

It's not.

All it's doing is taking your eye off the prize -- awareness.  You're not stopping before the cake on your plate is gone because you're good, you're stopping because you noticed that it isn't tasting good to you and you choose not to waste those calories on the last few bites.  It doesn't make you a better person -- only a more aware person.  It won't guarantee you lose weight -- it just provides an opportunity to cut back on calories that aren't adding any value to your eating experience -- and when you leave those out, you don't feel feel liberated!

Is that a little more clear?

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