I don’t want to belabor this issue of “don’t think unkind thoughts about anyone,” but it has caused a lively discussion. I’ll share with you the email conversation I had with one reader. She said:
I have a question for you. Do you have any suggestions for what we can do if we catch ourselves having a judgmental or unkind thought about ourselves or others? They slip in too easily sometimes. I agree that it is soooooo much better not to have them at all, but I am not that far yet…”
And I replied:
“Well, the short answer is I don’t know.
I think that we can’t necessarily know ahead of time what we will do/think instead of the usual. That is the risk and the mystery. That’s where you have to trust yourself.
Catch yourself, and do something different. Catch yourself and rejoice. Catch yourself and risk not knowing. Catch yourself and give up. Catch yourself and follow a pre-determined plan – smile, drink water, breathe, love yourself, shimmy, turn in a circle counterclockwise, hum,…”
Another reader said she’d been thinking beaucoup unkind thoughts about her in-laws, and she thought she might try NOT thinking unkind thoughts about them. What, she asked me, would be the benefits? I said, I don’t know. Why don’t you try it and you tell me what the benefits are? She may.
Actually, it’s not a bad idea to have a predetermined plan. What will YOU do when you catch yourself having an unkind thought? Let me know.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the “anyone” that you’re not thinking unkind thoughts about includes your wife/husband/spouse/partner. And it includes yourself.