1. Stop Judging: Whether it is people’s actions, the way they dress, the way they look, the words they speak, their occupations, their “social” standing, etc., it is very easy to get caught up and begin judging it all. Have you noticed that when judging you never really feel good inside? You may feel better about yourself at first, but judging always takes it toll and weighs you down. If you can’t stop judging others, and it is challenging, try to reduce it and ask yourself why you are judging “anything” at all.
2. Stop Worrying: We tend to worry when we care about or love someone or something. Worrying comes from fear and the need to be in control. Worrying requires energy and can take over any situation. Have you noticed that you can worry about something for days, and in the end the result did not matter? All you were left with is fatigue. Most of the time, the outcome is always much better than we thought it would be. There is no reason to worry, let it go.
3. Stop Blaming: Taking responsibility for where you are in life is challenging. Sometimes it is easier to feel like a victim. Your ego protects itself from others judging us, or you judging yourself. Blaming others is a part of this mechanism. When blaming, we often fail to look at the root cause of why we may feel the way we do. Don’t blame. Turn that energy inward. Look at how you may have created the situation. What can you learn? What can you do differently?
4. Stop Comparing: Do you want a surefire way to indulge your ego and create suffering? Comparing yourself, your situation, your achievements (successes and failures) and your actions to others. When you compare, you begin feeling that whatever you might have or don’t have is not good enough or better than someone else. Either way, at that point you stop seeing everything for what it is.
5. Stop Competing: Competition can be incredibly fun while at the same time frightening. Fun is the outcome when we are not interested in the results. When we begin caring about the results, when our actions “need” the best results, we then bring the ego into the picture and its ferocious need to compete. When we need to be better than others we set ourselves up for the judgement of others and create separation between us and them. Competing with others in a game is one thing, competing with everyone at life sets us up for suffering.
6. Laugh…a Little or a Lot!: Allow life to unfold in front of you. Let life be! The easiest way to remove the joy in your life is to take life and everything it brings too seriously. When you treat everything seriously, you miss out on all the fun that goes along with this journey. Don’t be afraid to laugh, it does not have to be an on the floor gut busting laugh until you cry episode….though that does help. The ability to laugh at life, especially at yourself is healthy in so many ways.
Comments: Many of you will read this and think, “I know all this.” But it does not go any further than the acknowledgement of the words. While information and knowledge is important, even more important, more powerful, is the intelligent application of that knowledge. This is where most people have difficulty and fall short.
To Stop Judging, Worrying, Blaming, Comparing and Competing is very challenging. We live in a fast paced society and often go through large chunks of our day on auto-pilot; reactive to anything and everything that happens to us. If you don’t take time to stop and reflect on current and past events you will never recognize habits and patterns and self-destructive behavior.
A Task: At the end of your day, before going to sleep take a moment and reflect back on your day. Look at the variety of stimulus that you encountered, more important your reactions to the stimulus. Be honest with yourself and make note of how many times you passed judgement, worried, blamed, compared, competed and lastly how many times did you laugh of your own free will, not because others were?
Consider any of the events of the day. Did you like how they turned out? Were you proud of how you handled the situation? Consider how you could have responded differently.
In hindsight, it is always easy to see missed opportunities and less than ideal choices made. The challenge is to be mindful and present in the moment. Catch yourself before auto-pilot is engaged, before you react in the same manner you have done before.
The goal is to be mindful of and present in the moment so that when you recognize an opportunity, you stop, pause, take a breath (or two) and decide how you will respond to what is in front of you. Initially, you may only recognize these opportunities in hindsight. Stay mindful, you will start to recognize these opportunities as your are reacting and eventually before you react.
You will soon find yourself proud of the choices made and in turn the life you lead. You will see things, events and people for what they are, not what we are led to believe they are.
Enjoy Life as it becomes more interesting, engaging, peaceful and healthy.