Letting judgment go so that you can grow.
Read Part I first.
A Question for You
What do you think causes someone to file for financial bankruptcy?
What is the very first thought that comes to mind when you read that question?
Now, humor me, write that answer down. Note how you feel as you answer. No filtering please!
What if I told you that this person is 39 years old at the time when they file, lives in the suburbs, is a 15-year veteran financial advisor, and has to apply for HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) to get through the winter?
Did your opinion of what causes someone to file for bankruptcy change? If so, how? Now write that down.
Here is a little more information … this person, when they file, is a single woman.
How does that affect your original answer … if at all? Now write it down.
This 39-year-old single woman, financial advisor of 15 years, living in the suburbs, applying for HEAP because of significant debt … is the mother of a 2-year-old and 6-year-old.
Did that last piece of information change your opinion of what causes someone to file for bankruptcy? If so, how? Please write it down now.
Wait … there’s more.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, this woman is married to an abusive alcoholic who, over time, gambles away most of their money. Two weeks prior to the birth of her second child, she files a restraining order and has her husband removed from their house. Six months later, they divorce. To protect herself and her two small children, she absolves her husband from all financial support if he agrees to an indefinite period of zero custody and zero visitation. He agrees.
Did this final piece of information somehow change your opinion about those that file for bankruptcy? If so, how? Now write it down.
When you look at your first answer and then your last, what do you notice?
If you are like most that I have posed this scenario and question to, you probably realized that your first answer is quite different from the last. And the reason for the change is that the more information you received, the greater your capacity for understanding and compassion grew.
We are quick to judge, yes? Quick to make assumptions about people and circumstances that we know almost nothing about. And we are just as quick to judge ourselves as well … most of the time not even knowing it.
The Whole Story
I was that 39-year-old woman. The former financial advisor, mother of two, and divorcee.
Regardless of my circumstances, I was my own worst judge and jury, constantly berating myself. In my mind, there was no room for forgiveness. I was much too comfortable playing the role of victim.
And I wasn’t willing to look at the true cause of my embarrassment, my constant worry, and my fears. So, I hid from it. I painted a smile on my face that told others “Everything must be well in her world”.
Then I noticed the physical manifestation of my anxiety … I couldn’t breathe. I could no longer inhale deeply. I was suffocating.
It was the Buddhist practice of “daimoku” that first showed me how to turn inward … to stand back and simply look and notice my responses to what was happening.
From there I was introduced to other practices and processes, metaphysical and spiritual in nature, that taught me how to truly see myself, increase my self-awareness, and let go of judgment.
Letting go of the thoughts (judgments) of “I’m a failure”, “No one will trust me”, “I’m not good enough” is what brought me to the peaceful decision to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy was no longer a shameful event, but one of transformation and liberation.
On some level, we all experience stress and anxiety and, if we are being honest, we experience it every day. And therein lies our addiction.
And its cause? Judgment.
Where Judgment Leads
Judgment of ourselves and assumptions about ourselves are a perfect recipe for anxiety.
It can show up in different ways …
Anxiety could look like the person struggling to let go of their business and/or retire because they are afraid of envisioning their future. Or the husband who has been diagnosed with a debilitating sickness and is afraid of making the wrong decision financially for his family and keeps his fears to himself. Or the woman who is constantly comparing herself to others, thinking that she doesn’t “measure up”, so she doesn’t apply for the promotion.
While the stories all sound different, they all share a common element: judgment. Which then leads to worry, fear, anxiety.
It’s not that we should not judge, it’s that we cannot. To judge rightly, we would have to be fully aware of a wide range of things – past, present, and future. And that is impossible.
I believe that what you give your attention to makes all the difference. This is why wealth coaching is important – because there is value in understanding your current mindset and how it is affecting the quality of your decision making and your state of well-being (happiness).
So, if what you want is a life without anxiety (stress and worry), then do yourself a favor and learn to release judgment and forgive. I have every confidence that when you do, your life will transform in unimaginable and magnificent ways.
If my story resonated with you or you need to let go of your own self-judgment, please hear more from me and register for my free webinar hosted by University at Buffalo on March 23rd: Addicted to Anxiety?