Don’t believe everything you think Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 10:21
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What kind of person do you always catch yourself silently criticising? Is it someone who breaks promises? Those who are slow to catch a joke? Or how about people with weight problems?

Natalie Ledwell from ‘Mind Movies’ says that sometimes even the best of us judge others in ways we’d hate to be judged ourselves. Why do we do this? Is it out of habit? Or is it an unconscious behaviour?

Psychologists will probably call it a form of projection. This is a kind of unconscious defensive mechanism where our unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world. For example, someone who is angry may constantly accuse other people of being angry.

So, how do you let go of the need to judge others and yourself? Natalie says it’s actually easier than you might think. You simply have to be aware of your thoughts. It will make it easier for you to discover where your frustrations are coming from and why you are so quick to judge someone or someone’s situation.

According to Natalie the second thing you have to do is to focus on the positive. Sure, if you look hard enough, you can find something wrong with everything you’re looking at. Neale Donald Walsch says that there is also something right with everything. “There remains, then, only one question: What are you going to look at? What are you choosing to notice?”

It is only when you stop focusing on your frustration that you can start appreciating other people’s qualities. According to life coach Martha Beck, the support of others, especially like-minded people, are very important. She says that there is only one way of finding like-minded people: live in absolute integrity. Honesty wards off people who don’t like your true self and attracts those who do.

That is why Deepak Chopra says that the first tenet of unhappiness is not knowing your true identity.

So, to be happy you need to know who you are. You are not your thoughts. Although it is recommended that you become aware of your thoughts, you shouldn’t necessarily believe everything you think.

In her book, ‘Big fat lies women tell themselves’, Amy Ahlers says it is vital that you identify the critical, catty, judgmental voice in your head as your inner critic; a big fat liar who tries to keep you in your comfort zone.

The critic says stuff such as: Who are you to think you can do this? You’ll make a fool of yourself. Listen to me. I’ll keep you safe. I got your back, girlfriend.

Of course it’s the exact same critic who jumps right in to point out other people’s irritating habits. And, just maybe, our lightning-quick judgement here has something to do with control. Mike Dooley says that “one of the greatest gifts you could ever give someone who gets on your nerves is the freedom to learn their own lessons, at their own pace”.

Okay, so say you get it right to give this gift to others, can you give it to yourself? Amy offers some tips on ditching your inner critic. She says you have to identify your critic’s top ten places and situations where she likes to show up and criticize. Once you know, you can be on the lookout for her there. By the way, she probably lives inside your mirror.

Next you can try to draw a picture of your inner critic so that you can have a mental image of the voice that tortures you. It even helps giving her a name. Mine is called miss Rottenmeier.

Then notice what makes her louder and what diminishes her power. Remember that she’s constantly collecting evidence to prove to you that you’re not good enough and neither are those near and dear to you.

Miss Rottenmeier colludes with me to project my indigestible emotions onto others. Actually she specialises in hurtling me back into past embarrassments, disappointments and failures before flinging me into a fearful future.

But listen, girlfriend, there’s this thing I’ve found out about miss Rottenmeier. The one place she cannot be is in the present moment. Her power lies in chasing me through that moment on the way to somewhere else. In doing so, I miss the moment and end up feeling that life has passed me by.

Because it did. Or rather – I did. I wasn’t there.

I guess a Rottenmeierless life happens to me only when I happen to life.

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