We tend to look at ourselves with critical eyes. When we want to change any aspect of our lives or ourselves, we do it from a perspective of not being good enough, obligation, pressure, or because we dislike ourselves. Often, we are judgmental and very strict with ourselves, trying to change things by working harder, sacrificing more, and suffering.
I propose a different plan. Look at yourself with a sense of appreciation. Recognize your value. Observe yourself through loving eyes. Look at what is happening inside you. Just look without judgment, and try to understand who you are, what you think and feel, why you do or don’t do things, or what makes you react. Discover yourself.
We judge reality as well. Pay attention to how many times per day you complain when reality doesn’t fit with the concept you have of it, or things don’t go the way you want. Observe what makes you feel frustration or sadness, what things take you out of balance or put you in a bad mood.
Look at all this material with curiosity and understanding. Don’t be hard on yourself for being where you are or what you consider mistakes, flaws, imperfections, or faults. Be there, totally, without complaining or judging the world around or inside you.
Let’s suppose that you are trying to help someone who is having health problems. You know that they can do more to get better, and you would like this person to take responsibility for their health, but it is not what is happening.
You are supportive, patient, caring, and loving, until a moment when, unexpectedly, you explode for a little thing. At that moment, you tell this person that they have to change their behavior and put more effort into healing, that you are not going to witness this anymore. You speak to this person with an angry tone and are very distant from the Love you feel for her. Something happened within you.
If you look at yourself, you will see what triggered you, why you reacted and created a scene, how much emotion you have accumulated, your fear of losing this person you Love in action, the need to express your feelings, the frustration and powerlessness you have been hiding, and more. If you observe what is going on within you, you will learn so much about yourself and how you go through life. That’s the important thing here. To understand yourself a bit more every day.
If you react, get angry and lose your temper, it is okay. You are human. You can forgive yourself, release whatever happened, apologize if you want to, or let it go and continue with your life. But pay attention, because I can assure you that a similar event will happen to you very soon. If you have learned from the last experience, things may unfold differently. If not, you may end up reacting the same way. Life will give you many opportunities to learn and practice.
Suspending the need to react will offer you time to observe yourself and choose your response. Observe your thoughts rising, your emotions in full action, you showing to yourself what you are experiencing at that exact moment. Why is this important? Because if you can see it, and it is not the experience you want to have, you can do something about it. Once you are aware, you can decide. You have the power to choose.
You can take a breath and observe yourself in any situation you experience. This will allow you to become a different you. You may not have control over the feelings you experience, but you can always choose how you respond to life and its events.
An instant reaction may be something you have learned, a pattern. You can change It with a little bit of awareness and practice. But only if you realize that you have the power to do it. Only if you observe with compassion and understanding what is happening within you, catch yourself when you react, and choose to be more loving, understanding, and patient with yourself and others.
"The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness"
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Judith Costa is a Life and Love Coach, Seminar Leader, Writer and Speaker. She has a Masters degree in Psychology & Psychotherapy and an MBA. She helps her clients to overcome their blocks to Love, to Love themselves and to manifest the relationship they want.