Three Ways to Love More and Judge Less

By Jennifer Olson

In the days following the last presidential election, there was a great deal of judgement, fear, despair and sadness floating around our environments. As the battles continue, people feel inundated with negativity, resistance, anger and uncertainty. The holidays have offered a bit of reprieve for some yet with the inauguration around the corner, many are feeling trepidation as they consider the future. Those feelings combined with the traditional stress during this season of shopping, holiday parties, family gatherings, and feeling the loss of loved ones sets many people up to experience the holidays through a lens of sadness, fear, anger, judgement and overwhelm.

“We do not see the world as it is, we see it as we are” – Anais Nin

I know these feelings all too well. In the past, this was my standard way of operating. As someone who was compelled to “fix” things and help people, I spent my days looking for what was broken. I was constantly scanning for what was wrong in my life. As you can imagine, this brought in a lot of negativity. Yet, I was seen in a positive light. People around me perceived me as a solution-oriented problem solver. I saw myself in the same light and considered myself a “positive” person. As I found more and more problems to solve, I noticed something interesting. I was so caught up in what needed to be fixed that I missed what was right. I missed the joy and happiness around me. And I was miserable.

Judgement and fear are completely natural human conditions. They are the body’s way of keeping us safe. So they’re important to our survival. They’re the filters that are used to decide whether it’s time to fight, flee or hide. However, being in this state for a prolonged period of time leads to …

…….overwhelm

……………burn out

…………………despair

……………………apathy

……………………………illness and disease.

So how do we escape the darkness that is dragging some of us down?

The antidotes are simple in words but not in practice. The antidote to judgement is gratitude. The antidote to fear is love.

So what are three simple steps we can take today to release some of the ickiness and bring in more light?

  1. Be fully present. When we’re in our bodies and fully in the ‘now’, our mind stops spinning and allows us to just be in the moment. Allow yourself to feel your body, breathe deeply, focus on what you hear, see, taste and smell. Be curious, allow thoughts to come in then gently float away out of your brain. Notice everything around you. Enjoy just being in the moment.
  2. “Frame” your day. For many, we focus on what’s going wrong or the challenges. Instead, use the questions below to start, end or re-frame your day:
    • What is going or went well today?
    • What mistakes did I make? What did I learn from them?
    • What are the 3 things I am most grateful for today?
  3. Practice self-love. Self-care and self-love is a practice. You can’t be there for others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. This includes getting a good night’s sleep, moving your body, providing nourishing food or just time and space to recharge. Give the gift of love to yourself and those who love you. Enjoy some well-deserved time just for yourself!

Practicing these three steps will shift your holidays from one of challenge, disappointment and frustration to an exercise in capturing joy. Enjoy the season!

It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into doing it.

It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.

– Mother Theresa

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