I’m in my fourth month of following Yvette Jane’s 365 Days of Mindfulness, and still discovering new hints and tips to find serenity and calm in my day-to-day life. The April suggestions varied from sniffing lavender oil when you need to feel calm, to slowing down your eating by chewing every mouthful 20 times, to walking away from a debate/argument by choosing peace.
The one I’ve chosen to blog about is:
WHEN YOU MEET A STRANGER, BE AWARE OF THE JUDGMENTS YOU AUTOMATICALLY MAKE ABOUT THEM. NOTICE YOUR REACTIONS AND THIS WILL LEAD TO A LESS JUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE.
I chose this because I’m quite a judgmental person. I feel bad writing that, like it’s something to apologise for. But I’m not necessarily making negative judgments and I have a very open mind, so whilst I may make a snap judgment I am more than willing to accept when I’ve been proven wrong.
That said, I guess any judgment – positive or negative – impacts on the way you see someone and therefore the way you interact them. So maybe I’m wrong, maybe all judgments are negative.
I’ve spent the last week thinking about the judgments I’ve made when meeting new people, and thought about the reasons behind them.
The new girl
On Monday a new girl joined our team at work. She seems nice enough but I’m not wowed by her presence; I don’t think we’re about to become the best of friends. She’s quite quiet and when she talks it’s very slow, very considered. Her voice is high-pitched, almost a whisper, and I find that I’m not particularly interested in what she has to say. I am polite and friendly, but notice that when she talks I am thinking of ways to end the conversation.
I see her a few days letter. She makes an effort to come over and say hi, and I feel bad. She’s very smiley – irritatingly so – but I push passed it. She’s quite sweet and, to be fair to the girl, we’ve spent a whole total of five minutes together so I suddenly realise just how judgmental I really am.
On Tuesday I met a director of an international construction company. He shook my hand and we went to his office, where he appeared to be clearly unprepared for our meeting. He fumbled with a pile of papers on his desk, left the room to get water, came back still looking for the right papers and looked totally flustered. On any other day this situation has the potential to annoy me (impatient that I am) but I knew straight away that I liked him.
Why? I’m not sure. He was self-assured but humble. He was inquisitive but not patronising. He was interesting, but I must say he talked a lot and I suspected if I knew him for longer I might get irritated with how much he talked. There. Judgment again.
The beauty therapist
I had a spray tan for the first time this week. I found a local beauty therapist online and she came to my house dressed all in black, her blonde hair pulled back in a bun. She put the tent up in my living room and asked me to undress, saying, “Most of my ladies go completely naked, but it’s up to you.” For a girl like me, that is terrifying. I kept my underwear on but took my bra off and climbed into the tent. The spray took no more than 20 minutes and we chatted the entire time, me naked and her with a mask over her face. So incredibly weird.
However, instantly I knew I loved this woman. She was fun and funny and after 15 minutes of girl chat I put my clothes on and paid her. Quick judgment, but a positive one. That’s okay, right? Wait – did I only like her because I was naked?
Having thought about these three snap judgments, I considered my friends and what I thought when I first met them. Every single one of my best friends is someone I loved immediately. Sure there have been some people I’ve grown to like over time but the real good ones were gems from the start. So, going back to the mindfulness tip, noticing my reactions doesn’t seem to have made me less judgmental. Uh oh. But I have started thinking about my judgments and trying to curb them, so that’s got to be a good thing – right?