Mindfulness Challenge Week 4: External Mindfulness

In Judgement of Others:

Last week we discussed how being hard on yourself can affect your health; this week we are focusing on how being too hard on others can similarly lead to negative health. Often, when we are too hard on ourselves, we are also too hard on others. Why? Well, we typically are judging and measuring others by the standards we set for ourselves. And if those standards are too high for ourselves (leading to the negative self-talk we discussed last week), there is no way others will measure up either.

How Mindfulness Can Help:

Mindfulness is all about non-judgement. Allowing yourself to be present with a moment, an emotion, an experience. If you eat too much and feel guilty, mindfulness tells us to accept that emotion, learn from it, and then move on from it. It also allows for a separation of the thoughts from the person. You are not defined by your thoughts. Thinking a negative thought about yourself or others does not mean that you are a bad person.

So you know that voice in your head that tells you that you are ‘bad’ if you ate a cookie or you ‘ruined’ your diet because you had two servings of dinner? It is the same one that judges others for their behavior. So when we become less harsh, impatient, and judgmental of ourselves, we will also become more kind, patient, and nonjudgmental with others.

Weekly Challenge:

Don’t Be So Hard On Others: External Mindfulness Challenge

Why It’s Important: Just as being too hard on ourselves sets up a vicious cycle of too high expectations for us to meet, being too hard on others can also set too high of expectations for those in our lives to meet. This can create resentment, on your part and others.

Your Challenge: This week’s challenge is once again an internal challenge and tied closely with the challenge last week. Your health coach will follow up with you to see if you have achieved it next time you check-in, so at least attempting these steps is important.

  1. This week when you find yourself making judgments on others, try meeting that criticism with kindness. If your inner critic says, “I can’t believe they are doing (x),” respond with a reminder: “That may not have been my decision, but it is not my life to decide what is the right choice.”
  2. Make a deliberate, conscious effort to recognize the difference between how you feel when caught up in criticism of others, and how you feel when you can let go of it. You might find that once you let go of some of this criticism, you also give up some of the anxiety you feel each day.

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