On Saturday, on the way home from the gym, David said, “Maybe you could coach me a little. There’s something bothering me and I know it shouldn’t, but it does.”
He went on to share some thoughts and feelings he was having about other people, and then he said, “I know I’m judging them and it’s terrible.”
David thinks what a lot of us think: that if we think "bad thoughts" and feel "bad feelings," then we are bad. And so as he judges others, he judges himself a whole lot more.
And that's always what keeps us stuck.
Because when we judge ourselves for what we are thinking, then we stuff the thoughts away and they stay hidden away in our brain, making us feel bad.
You are supposed to have thoughts that create negative emotion for you—even negative emotions like judgment and jealousy and defensiveness and anger. You are supposed to be having thoughts and you are supposed to be having all the emotions they create. That’s why you are here on earth.
But you are also here to choose.
After you have a thought, you get to choose if you want to keep thinking it. But you have to get curious about your thoughts in order to make that choice—not just hide from them and tell yourself that it shouldn't bother you.
When David thinks his judgmental thoughts mean he’s bad, he can’t wonder why he’s choosing to think them in the first place. And figuring that out—why you are choosing to think the way you are—is the best way to be able to start thinking something else.
Instead of condemning yourself, get curious, “Look at me judging them. I wonder why I’m doing that.”
Examining why we are choosing to think the way we are can allow us the space to make a different choice. But we can only do that when we're not judging ourselves for having the thoughts in the first place.
You aren’t bad.
You are a person making choices—choosing thoughts.
And the more curious you can be about those thoughts, the more ability you have to choose differently.
Managing your mind isn't about never feeling bothered. It's realizing that your own thought is the only thing that can bother you. And then being super curious about why.
P.S. If your self-judgment makes curiosity feel impossible, sign up for a free coaching session and I'll show you how you can see things differently.
Also, in a few weeks, I'm doing a podcast featuring listener questions. If you have a question that you want me to answer, you can record your question by clicking here!