Keep the Chocolate, Skip the Judgment.
Remember way back to that vaguely familiar feeling you had on New Year’s Day? I know, it might take some focus. For me, this feels like a year ago.
How did you ring in 2019? Did you have high hopes in a New Year’s Resolution that felt shiny and hopeful? Perhaps you wanted to start saving more money, lose some weight, or learn Italian. Where are you with these resolutions today? Have you managed to stick with them? Are you flirting with the idea of giving it another go? Or, like me, did you abandon them about three weeks in when boredom set in and you needed to shake things up again? (read: return to the old familiar ways).
Guess what? Whatever your response—wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of personal goals and fulfillment is exactly where you’re meant to be, in my book at least. Why? Because your journey is just that…yours.
Tara Mohr says it beautifully, “Where we think we need more self-discipline, we usually need more self-love.”
Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, or the first day of Lent, a 40-day season in the traditional Catholic Liturgical calendar. During this season, many people commit to a form of fasting or “giving up” something they normally tend to rely on or enjoy. The usual suspects are sugar, alcohol, social media, swearing, or some form of junk food. One year I gave up wine only to adopt a new found fascination with beer, which in turn jacked up my digestion and created a constant craving for all things salty. This made me highly bloated and lasted only a week. Also, I missed the point entirely…or did I?
Call me unspiritual, weak, or a lush. Whatever. I can handle it. What I can’t handle is the violent judgment we inflict on ourselves and our good intentions the minute we fall short of the, often fear-based, strict expectations we place on ourselves.
Make no mistake, seasons of fasting or going without can be helpful. Though I am no poster child for this spiritual practice, I do believe it to be a powerful tradition that ultimately helps create greater balance and clarity in our lives. However, finding yet another opportunity to lather up in the shame shower of “not enough” ultimately separates us from a higher, loving, spiritual pursuit.
Now if I chose to give something up for Lent or other spiritual reasons, I make sure to check the motive and most importantly, the way I relate to myself in the process. After all, these seasons are meant to create more connection with ourselves and Higher Power, not more distance.
Whether you consider yourself spiritual or not, I’d like to invite you into a 40-day season of mindful awareness. Basically, what you will be mindful of during this season is the self-judgment you have on a daily basis (and we all have it).
Hear me out: I’m challenging you to be a neutral observer of your harsh inner critic not try to fix anything. We all need discernment as we move through our days. This is not the self-judgment I’m referring to.
Perhaps your self-judgment is so engrained you don’t even notice it. That’s okay. The first step in any healing journey is always awareness. So, our work is to wake up to the inner dialog and resulting treatment of ourselves on a daily basis.
Not only will this improve our overall self-worth and emotional experience, it will transform your relationships with others. Typically, if we practice heavy judgment towards ourselves, we do the same with others.
To support this season of mindful-awareness and greater compassion, I’m leaving you with a short reflection from May Cause Miracles by Gabby Bernstein. It’s meant to encourage you and remind you it’s not all up to you over the next 40-days. Take a screen shot of it and read it aloud once or twice a day. Then, allow yourself to simply sit with it for a minute or two.
I surrender. Today I turn over all the fearful projections that I have placed upon myself. I release all self-doubt and attack today. In this moment, I choose to let it all go. I am willing to be guided to new projections. I am willing to love myself again. Inner Guide, please take the steering wheel and show me how to truly surrender my fear so I can wholeheartedly love myself again.
So go ahead, keep your chocolate. I say we skip the judgement instead…
Love & Gratitude,