Writing about This Moment Without Judgment yesterday, I was thinking of the practice of letting go of judgment. Back when I started practicing mindfulness, the first thing I noticed was that my mind is swamped with judgment, much of it directed at myself. Recognizing this inner self-judgment was excruciatingly uncomfortable, like sitting with the most awkward and insecure person at a party and listening to them talk non-stop. Yuck.
Sitting with my own thoughts and judgments was hard, but also freeing. As I saw the inner talk, I also began to see how it affected me. I could feel my shoulders tense in response to self-critical thoughts, could feel the heaviness in my chest. I began to see how the judgment could move around, sometimes focusing on me and sometimes on other people, sometimes in the present and other times in the past or future.
Showing up in this moment without judgment means (to me) seeing the judgment that is actually happening and not being owned by it. It's not aspiring to be some wonderful person who doesn't judge anymore. Instead, it's accepting and showing up for myself as I am.
This judging mind is with me. That's actually okay! If I don't recognize it, though, I get confused and think it's me. With recognition, the judging mind is just the crazy person at the party. I hear her, but I don't need to believe what she says.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.