"It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
These days, more than ever before, we are regularly asked to cast judgement on people, on stories, and on ideas.
Should I like this photo of someone on Instagram?
Is that article on Facebook worth sharing?
And so often our judgements, based on our first impressions, can be wrong. We bring our own biases, internal stories and values to the impressions we make. And we judge others without knowing their struggles, their grief and the burdens they carry.
But if we can, it only takes a moment to go deeper and scratch the surface to discover what lies beneath. I saw that happen recently, at a retreat I took part in. While it may have appeared, on the surface, that the guests were there to get healthy, so much of what was driving their behaviours were unhealed wounds. Sadness over a failed marriage, anger and betrayal over a lost business and grief over losing a loved one.
For me, it was a familiar story.
I realised that like many others there, I had been sabotaging my own health through over-work and over commitment. In other words, I had been unable to be satisfied with doing well enough. Instead, there had to be more stories, bigger and better, more talks, more social media, more commitments.
And like many of you, I suspect, we often forget the reason why we do what we do. Instead of making mindful, considered choices in life, we jump in and react instantly.
The author and concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl wrote that "between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our responses. In our response lies our growth and our happiness."
So how can we live in that space? How do we eliminate judgement and move towards a more mindful approach with more acceptance of ourselves and others? US sociology professor and author Brene Brown writes about what she calls 'wholeheartedness.'
"When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our own worthiness," she writes in her book Daring Greatly.
"That's the crux of wholeheartedness. You are worthy now, not if, not when, but right now, this minute."
In other words we need to accept ourselves, flaws and all, so that we can accept others too. So in 2019, let's make a pact not to judge others, or ourselves, but live knowing you are enough just as you are. And if you want to make changes to your life this year, think 'progress, not perfection.'
Feel free to post and share your thoughts and experiences.
How are you going to live in a wholehearted way in 2019?