Ok. This is going to be a tough subject, but it’s important. While I like to blog about things like compassion, love, forgiveness and understanding, we can’t really get into those things until we do something really important: FACE OUR OWN SHIT.
Sorry for the vulgarity, but it’s really the only way to describe my next challenge for all of you. So here’s the deal:
You are not right. You are not wrong. You just are. The same goes for everyone in the world. What they do is not right or wrong. It just is. The sooner that you understand this, the better. Stop beating up on other people because you don’t agree with how they live. If you find yourself judging others, ask yourself, “Why am I judging this person?” If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll quickly learn that the answer to that question is usually simple.
Here are the most likely answers:
- Because my parents/family/society programmed me to think something is undesirable, or
- Because I might have these tendencies for which I feel shame because of #1.
When I was 17, I experienced an awakening of sorts. Some might call this rebellion, but I call it breaking free of the sickness of the programming from my childhood. Throughout my life, I had been judging people harshly for the pettiest of things they couldn’t control. As a child, I was taught how to be racist, who was better than whom in society, and I knew exactly where I fell in what I believed was the caste system of our little town. As a kid, I didn’t realize that the whole program was nothing but an illusion based on fears and insecurities and lies – creating disordered and dysfunctional thinking. All of that was put on me. As a teenager, I started questioning these voices in my head, forging my own path, making my own decisions, and practicing the psychology of talking back to the negativity. This allowed me to take back myself and free my mind from its prison.
Your brain is not like a rock – it’s a river. You CAN reprogram it. You CAN, through daily practice, learn to recognize negative, hateful, and judgmental thinking. You CAN talk back to those negative thoughts and replace them with positivity, love, and compassion.
But first, you have to face it. That’s the hardest part of it all.
Facing your own garbage and skeletons is really tough stuff. This will create all kinds of stress and anxiety for you. You can become an emotional rollercoaster as you process these emotions. It will hurt. You will feel terrible. But I promise, if you do this, you’ll come out on top.
So here’s my challenge for you. This week, as you try to live more presently, try to be aware of your negative thinking. Whether it’s body shaming, or slut shaming, or racism, or sexism, or whatever – when you see it, make sure you acknowledge it. Once you’ve acknowledged your thoughts, ask yourself why you think that way. If you find yourself pointing the finger at someone else, point it back at yourself. Listen for the genesis of that voice in your head, and kill it.
Here’s how you can kill that negativity:
- I personally love Transcendental Meditation, but use whatever kinds of techniques work best for you. Meditation will literally unwind that stress and release it from your body.
- Talk to someone you trust about your feelings. Don’t be afraid of getting emotional, and if you don’t have someone in your life, find a therapist. Therapists exist for a reason, and if you find yourself in a dark place, they have lots of tools to get you moving in the right direction.
- While the negative thoughts are in your head, listen to music and dance. Let go of the negativity, feel the energy of the music and let it all go.
- Go for a run/do an insane amount of burpees or pushups/jumping jacks. This increases endorphins – feel good chemicals in the brain.
- Use positive affirmations to talk back to those negative voices. For instance, if you look at your body and you hate your body, remind yourself that your body works so hard so that you can have life. Spend 5-20 minutes looking into a mirror and find everything you love about yourself. If you can’t find anything, try harder. Remember, this is practice.
- If you’re a religious person – pray. Prayer is very therapeutic. Asking your deity for help loving or being more compassionate is a GREAT technique.
Each one of us is a work in progress. I promise if you accept this challenge that it will help you evolve into a better version of yourself.
Who doesn’t like that?