You know those times you are grappling with a problem, looking for a solution to it, and think of an idea, but then say something like: “Yes, but I don’t want people to think I am … [selfish, lazy, unkind, mean, controlling etc.]” You know that moment?
Then, write down your list of all those things that you don’t want people to think about you.
This is your personal “Not This” list and you need to make friends with it.
These judgments exert power over you: they are the tender spaces where you lose clarity and personal empowerment.
Instead of going to war with all those parts that you judge as lazy, or selfish, or controlling - what would it be like to instead accept and befriend them?
• What if “selfish” simply means you are wanting to prioritize self-care over martyrdom? • What if “lazy” means that you are tired, and needing rest and rejuvenation? • What if “controlling” simply means that you feel a sense of passion and urgency about something that is deeply important to you?
Try this subtle but profound shift: Instead of worrying about what other people might think about you, practice just being friends with all parts of yourself.
Ask yourself: 1. Who do I want to be in this moment? 2. What needs am I trying to meet? 3. Are my words, choices and actions congruent with what is deeply important to me?
Instead of reacting to (imagined) judgments, bring your energy and attention back to who you are.
Focus on your integrity: ground yourself in your desire to act in kind and honest ways, to include multiple perspectives and to honor the dignity and freedom of others as you relate to them.
When we align our words, choices and actions with our deepest values and needs, we find relief, clarity and gentle strength. Trying to prevent and control others' judgments simply results in tension, fear and anxiety.
The Dalia Lama once said that “I defeat my enemies when I make them my friends.” This is the path of compassionate nonviolence, not force.
So, befriend all parts of yourself.
The world will transform when we stop being at war with ourselves. And when we stop being at war with ourselves, we will stop being at war with everyone else.