"What the 'duck' is that guy doing? :) Is he for real? Is walking a duck on a leash even legal? Geez, look... the duck and the guy have on similar colors! LOL" (and on it could go!)
Over the course of a day we see dozens of people. Each person is different than we are in various ways. It's human nature to observe the world around us. It is also easy to compare our life to the lives of those we notice. We might notice that someone's car is better than our car. We could notice that someone is wearing an outfit that we'd never wear. You might see someone who is walking a duck across the street on a leash and think that they must be a bit crazy... You get the picture.
I would venture to say that most of us have these types of comparative thoughts more often than we realize. The momentary observation isn't the problem. It's what we do with those observations next that can affect us. It's when we go from a simple observation to judgemental thoughts that the trouble can start.
I like to think I'm a pretty open and accepting person, but every once in a while I'll hear myself (usually in my head) commenting on another person's clothes, actions, personality... you get the picture. Those thoughts automatically bring me to a negative place. I can feel it almost instantly. I'm not sure if it's because I feel bad about the judgemental thoughts or if I'm tapping into a dark side of myself. Either way, I don't like it and it's not who I want to be, even privately. It takes away my happiness!
So I've recently started to recognize the shadow-thoughts as quickly as possible since it's harder to stop them once they get rolling. I always say that you can't get rid of something bad, and keep it gone, without replacing that now-empty space with something better. This past week, I've tried to recognize and stop the 'judg-y' thoughts right away.
As I notice my observations growing into judgements, I'm replacing the thoughts with: Hey, it's just their thing! Amazingly for me, these little mantra stops my observations from growing into judgements. These five simple words honor who I am as a person while honoring the person that I'm observing. These five little words remind me that in order to be happy, I have to do my own thing and let others do theirs!
Remember: Hey, it's their thing!
Cindy Gagne Teixeira
Just like you, I wear many hats. I'm a mom, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a writer. I choose to laugh (and talk... and write) about my problems because crying takes too much time.