Mindfulness, mildness and non-judgement
In my first post about Mindfulness I gave an introduction to its basics and how to practice an open and accepting attitude. Today I’ll continue with some more basic principles on how to live and be mindful, in a mild and non-judgmental way.
Mildness and a non-judgemental attitude does not mean we have to like everything or that we need to put our principles aside. It only means that we must be willing to see things as they are. This helps us to tune in to what is here and now and get rid of our do it yourself (DIY) mode. In our daily lives we constantly evaluate what we do, when we do it, how we do it, where we do it and what we are experiencing. We compare it to previous experiences, our own expectations, the expectations of others and to what other people do or don’t do. We wonder whether they are good or bad, fun or boring, sexy or ugly; judging seems to go without saying. We do it so often in our DIY mode that we don’t even notice it anymore. Judgmental thinking prevents us from being fully aware of the present moment. Instead, we end up in a series of thoughts; we think we’re not good enough, smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough, and so on. So often we are strict with ourselves. We live by our own made up rules and expectations, which are impossible to live by, and we feel disappointed when we fail to live by those high expectations. Not only do we judge ourselves, more often we judge another by how they live their lives and how they should act.
By facing a given situation as it is, without automatic negative thoughts, judgements and expectations, we can turn off our DIY mode. But how can this non-judgmental attitude be learned? By starting to become aware of our current judgments about inner and external experiences. When we look at these situations as if from a distance, without our own preconceptions, we can learn to live in the here and now.
Being mild and non-judgemental does not mean we have to like everything or that we have to accept another hurtful behaviour, nor do we have to put our principles aside. It only means that we must be willing to see things as they are, to tune into what is here and now. This way our vision is not clouded by opinions, judgments, fears and desires. Through this you can improve your connection with your inner self and those around you.
If you want to learn to live life with mildness and without judgment, the following exercise can help you practice these basics:
Pay attention to everyday things; practice being mild and non-judgemental by actively directing your attention towards your thoughts during one of the following actions of your choice:
- Brushing teeth
- Getting dressed
- Taking a walk
This way you can train yourself to become more aware of all the internal expectations, rules and judgements you have during your daily routines. Feel free to share anything you have experienced, or questions in a comment below.
More about how to live and be Mindful in next month’s post.