Today was one of those days that we knew wouldn’t be easy, but my husband and I decided to take a flexible approach and buckle our metaphorical seatbelts for the bumpy ride. As it turns out, the day ended up being even more frustrating and demoralizing than we could have imagined – in part because of our judgment of others.
Dealing with municipal bureaucracy is never pleasant, but for a confluence of reasons, what should have been a simple, straightforward transaction turned into a large chunk of a day with tempers flaring, several bus rides across town, futile phone calls, walking quite a few blocks in a dust storm, and a fall down some concrete stairs (don’t worry- it was just a surface flesh wound).
We could’ve blamed it on the postal service (if only we’d received the tax bill that we needed to take to the municipality to pay). We could’ve blamed it on our apartment’s property manager (if only she had given us a copy of last year’s bill with account information on it to bring to the municipality, the agent would have had enough information to process our payment). We could’ve blamed it on the municipal agent (if only she weren’t so unfriendly and lazy, she could have easily looked up the correct account in her system and let us pay the bill). We could’ve blamed the municipality (if only they took the kind of credit card we have, we wouldn’t have also had to go to the bank and wait in line for a long time, wasting more of the day). If only, if only, if only!
You get the picture. Lots of blame and judgment to go around, right? And how will that change the outcome? IT WON’T. And certainly not today it didn’t. At a certain point, as we’ve seen today, getting angry and frustrated only seems to lead to a lack of mindfulness that keeps the web of misfires and mishaps occurring. It’s like a big ball of chaos that feeds on itself and keeps growing and clouding clarity. Eventually, it not only sucks one’s energy completely, but also makes for poor in-the-moment decisions that have the potential to affect one’s safety.
So the lesson I’ve learned today is about judgment – and being mindful about what’s going on with us when we find ourselves judging others. Here is a wonderful, quick tool to use to turn judgment into lovingkindess:
Thank you, Mitra Manesh!
We will stop trying to push our agenda and expectations today. We will let go of judging all the people and entities that we could blame for today’s lack of progress and wish them the lovingkindess they need now. That way, we’ll have the energy to form a creative and sensible plan in order to make tomorrow happier and more productive.
Do you have your own story about your plans going awry, your day turning out frustrating – and if and how you judged others for the outcome? Do you practice mindfulness? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others and build connection, please feel free to contact Jennifer (also our Blog Editor) at firstname.lastname@example.org