I’ve been pondering all week, what to write about next. As I wass doing some research into the relationship between stress and digestion for our 1 day retreat this past weekend, I thought perhaps I should share some of those findings with you.

But then I thought, what about the stress around making the “right” food choices?

What about the “being-a-good-girl inner voice”, which in my experience can have a pretty nasty condescending tone? And the judgement that often follow when we don’t make that “right” choice…

 

judgment in the way of change

For some reason, I’ve struggled emotionally in the past week or so with “being good enough”. I think it may be related to a recent opportunity that presented itself and that I’ve been wanting to be part of for a very long time. So when I finally got the chance, of course I was ecstatic, which then followed by self-doubt. Can I actually deliver on what I say that I can? What if I can’t?

Oh the beauty of the turbulence of emotions! I even caught myself thinking that, perhaps I should just throw in the towel and quit and say that I’m no longer interested. If you quit you can’t technically fail, right? This “quitting” pattern is one of my old protective mechanisms for when things get stretched a little toooo far outside that famous comfort zone. So I’m totally aware of the lure of taking the “easy” option out.

Thing is, there’s a distinct difference about quitting without even trying, or to pivot and try something different because what you are currently doing isn’t working.

The fear of the unknown is what’s playing out here, together with some self-judgment, which can all to easily lead to self-sabotage.

Each and everytime we try something new, we can never be certain of the outcome. Well come to think of it, each and every morning we open our eyes we cannot even be certain of what the day will bring… We can have hopes and expectations, but we can never be sure. Hindsight is as they say “a wonderful thing”.

Whether you’re embarking on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth, a new way of eating or even something as simple (yet sometimes challenging) as trying a new recipe, embracing the uncertainty of it actually means that anything is possible!

 

But it is scary. There’s certainly many times in my life I’ve wished for a crystal ball…

 

And then we decide to take the leap anyway, and before we know it, this voice of self-doubt and  judgement creeps in.

Self-reflection can be a wonderful gift to gift yourself. I’ve seen both for myself and with clients the leaps and bounds that happens in a transformational way when we start looking in the mirror and begin to question what we believe, think and do. But… And this is a BIG but, if we bring judgement into the picture, it becomes a big hindrance in the process of change.

 

when judgment gets in the way of change

 

Why? Because when I am busy lambasting my own actions with my own self-righteousness, THIS is where my focus is at. If I’m so busy getting down on myself and my actions, I can’t actually see the reality for what it is.

Maybe the decision I made seemed to be the right one at that particular time, with the information that was available to me. And if it turned out afterwards that it actually wasn’t the wisest move, I am missing a valuable opportunity to learn why it turned out it wasn’t the wisest one, if I’m caught going around in a mental circle of self-ridicule.

Take for example the common thing of having a “bad” food. Perhaps something that’s not the most nutritious thing you could ever ingest. But eating any kind of food doesn’t indicate that we ourselves are “bad” in any way.

Now, if I start judging myself for this one particular food choice and place some of my self worth based on these choices, I completely miss out on the information of how this food actually makes me feel.

Does it make me feel satisfied, or more hungry, or perhaps it may even cause me physical discomfort. Or maybe it turns out I didn’t enjoy the taste as much as I initially thought I would? All vital clues and cues for how I might choose next time I am presented with a choice of having this food or not. But if I’m caught in a spiral of judgement, all I’ll hear is how “bad” I am, and that I should know better, etc. Which will just leave me with guilt, shame and a stress response that my body now also have to digest…

Judgement simply gets in my way of learning from my experiences, experiencing life as it is as well as preventing me from perhaps making a different choice that may serve me better next time.

 

mindful living

 

I love this great poem by Portia Nelson, which I first was introduces to by a client last year, but that we also shared at our recent retreat. It pretty much sums it up.

Autobiography in Five Chapters

I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost…

I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in…it’s a habit

My eyes are open; I know where I am;

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

 

So open your mind, get curious and look at any and all of your experiences as valuable learning opportunities.

And most of all, be kind to yourself.