Updated: Apr 5, 2021
Let your curiosity be greater than you fear - Pema Chodron
For many, many years I innocently judged myself mercilessly. I didn't know it was a thought habit, I thought it was the truth. I thought I had many flaws and spent a lot of time, money and of course more thought trying to correct them. The assumption was that with less imperfections, the more ease and joy I would have in my life. The more at home I would be in my own skin.
Of course I had a list of things that if I achieved I would feel confident and free. We are indoctrinated with the message that thin and rich equates to happiness. We compare our inside feelings to how the outside world looks. After achieving some of the things I thought would access this more comfortable way of being, e.g. weight loss, paid off mortgage, etc., I was faced with the truth that circumstances do not create my feelings, my feelings are created by thought in the moment.
In time, I saw I had a lot of judgmental and fear-based thinking about many things, but especially about myself. I learned it early on, and without investigation, it was the "glasses" in which I viewed my world. There is an element of control when you "know" who you are. It's amazing how something so destructive can also become so familiar. I didn't see it, but now know, the discomfort is the wake up call to advise us we are not interpreting life accurately. What a brilliant design.
When I started becoming curious about my thoughts, it felt like being released from a straight jacket. Was it possible that I developed thoughts about myself based on faulty logic, then never updated the programming. That's it, not deep flawed inferiority. Like a factory never updating their machinery? Or a computer working on incorrect and outdated programming? Was it possible my discomfort was based on bad data rather than facts. Fake news?
Since I've started practicing being curious about how I see myself, I saw:
Curiosity widens the view, judgment narrows it
Curiosity is open to alternatives, judgment "knows" and sticks to the tried and true (even if it makes me miserable)
Curiosity wants to know how I work, judgment makes black and white assumptions
Curiosity is expansive, judgment is limited
Curiosity is open and flexible, judgment is tight and rigid
Curiosity doesn't know, it explores, judgment pretends to know