Sometimes I find myself quick to judge. I hear a whiny individual at a Zoom meeting, and I silently groan. I also know that there have been times, and I chance to say there are still times, in which I am the one who warrants another’s groan. In my more open-minded moments, I remember that everyone is trying the best they can. We are all going through this pandemic, and there’s nothing easy about that. But there are other times when my exhaustion and impatience take over and I am unforgiving of anyone who annoys me from the selfishly maskless to virtual-meeting squeaky wheels.
Something I’ve noticed recently in my professional and personal life is how instantaneously we are to jump from one emotional state to another. As quick as I am to criticize and sigh, I am equally swift to be moved by others’ suffering now. When I open up to the sheer humanity of getting through each day in this time of Coronavirus, it is awe inspiring.
Not only are we plodding as best we can day in and day out, but so many have faced hardships that would bring tears to our eyes if we only knew. But we do not know. It’s easy for me to judge someone based on my own needs and preferences. In those moments I forget that they are struggling in their own way, as I grapple with life in my way.
I have heard people imagine how much easier it is for others. I have listened to their envy. What I do know is that while others may enjoy specific circumstances, they are not immune to suffering. No one is completely protected from the world’s ills. Let’s try to tease out our opinions from our innate compassion. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. I will probably continue to remain judgmental in certain ways. Nonetheless, I hope to remember not to take myself too seriously. I hope to remember others live with a story that would take my breath away. We all live with our stories.
- Write positive affirmations on post-it notes and place them on shelves, in drawers and in cabinets. This way you get positive messages throughout your home. Examples of positive affirmations are, “You matter,” “Focus on your gifts,” or “You’re awesome.”
- Create an avatar for your anxiety. When you have racing thoughts, or anxious thinking, draw or digitally create an avatar. Like in a comic book, have the avatar say the things you’re thinking. In this way, it places the anxious thoughts outside of you, making them potentially easier to address.
- If you listen to the news, try reading it for a day. See if it feels differently to read about current events rather than being told.
- Set an alarm on your calendar to laugh. Find something funny on YouTube, read a joke, or enjoy a cartoon. We all need a daily laughter break.
- When you judge another, also leave space in your mind to appreciate that the person has his/her/their own struggles.