The question from a reader in last week’s Notes caused a great discussion. I’ll repeat the question, and then I’ll share some of your responses. Thank you for those replies.
The original question, in part, read:
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?”
My reply, also in part, was:
Catch yourself, and just do something different. Catch yourself and rejoice. Catch yourself and follow a pre-determined plan – smile, drink water, breathe, love yourself, shimmy, turn in a circle counterclockwise, hum,…
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.”
You did let me know! Thanks.
One reader said:
I like this practice to try to avoid negative thoughts. As for me, I have been trying, and what I find myself doing when I catch myself with a negative thought is to say “Ommmm…..” Also, thanks for reminding us to include ourselves in this and to refrain from thinking unkind thoughts about ourselves. I’ll try this as well….
Another had this useful comment:
I appreciate the discussion about “do not think unkind thoughts” and especially liked the question of what to do once they pop up. I was reminded of an incident with my adult children over the Christmas holiday when two were talking and the conversation went all negative and unkind. One said to the other, “let’s get out of this neighborhood.” I like that phrase and find it helpful to me now when an unkind thought appears.
One reader offered this insight:
I am an ordained minister, and as such I thought highly of myself, thought that I was a kind and caring person. This discussion has humbled me. As I pay attention to my thoughts, I find that unkind ones crop up more than I realized. So I’ve been catching myself, and as you suggested, I’ve been rejoicing that I caught myself. Then I forgive myself, and then I change my unkind thought to one more positive. With perseverance I may become the kind and caring person I thought I was.
So glad to see the question about what to do to redirect thoughts when they are judgmental. This is something that I’ve been working on for a while, and I’ve found a technique that helps, depending on how authentically and sincerely I am able to do it, which still varies. Repeated applications can actually reduce judgmental thoughts, or so it is working for me.
The technique is to bless the person in something you can truthfully say about them, or something you wish for them. Often it is a positive aspect of whatever I am judging them on. For example, if I have a judging thought about someone’s clothes, like a young female student with 3 inches of cleavage showing, I will shift to “I bless you in your sense of style” or “I bless you in your beauty.”
Please forgive the cockeyed appearance of my site. The company that I used to create my site, and which hosts my site, has made some changes, and one result of their changes is that my site became cockeyed. Hopefully my helper can fix it. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my little blurb about living on the Iron Range.