Over the past few months I have read many different peoples’ views on the subject of white supremacy, racial violence, hatred and judgement. There are some seriously impressive pieces of writing out there with statistics and intelligent debate which pack a punch and nimbly, effortlessly, navigate the complicated issues that arise when discussing such an emotional subject. I found that as a result of reading these articles I became mute, anxious to voice my thoughts, not wanting to say something in case it was taken the wrong way and convinced I would stumble, clumsily, over the hugeness of it all. I have sat with these thoughts for a while now, also wondering that as a privileged white, female I actually had the right to speak out. I have never been subjected to racist comments or violence, I have never been discriminated against because of the colour of my skin, so what gives me the right to view my thoughts.
Then it dawned on me, if I kept quiet, I was also silencing my personal responsibility towards it. The toxicity of judgement and racism has penetrated so much of life, education, housing, healthcare, opportunity, jobs, financial health and the list goes on. So massive are these areas that we can end up feeling totally impotent to be able to change any of them. However, like any change we need to break it down into smaller more manageable stages and the first stage in this is looking to change ourselves and our attitudes, however uncomfortable this may be for us. In order to effect change on a collective level we need to make personal changes, this is the only way this particular pandemic virus of hatred, negativity and discrimination will change.
If we all did the same the movement of change would be massive and would work like a butterfly effect, the changes we make collectively accumulate and increase to a level that is far bigger than ourselves. These changes start with our thoughts and ultimately with being responsible for how we think and also by talking and listening, however hard.
We also need to take a long hard look at our attitudes towards how we make judgements about other people and also how we judge ourselves. Judgements serve no use to anyone, nobody benefits from a judgemental thought or action and there is much truth in the fact that when we are judging people, we are actually judging ourselves. If you criticise and judge yourself you will do the same to others. Switching this thinking around and releasing ourselves from this inner critical voice means that you also stop judging others too. Treat yourself badly and you will treat others badly too but the power here is that we can change that by treating ourselves with kindness, compassion and respect and as a result we will naturally and with ease do the same to others too. Like attracts like. Positivity attracts positivity. Compassion is magnetic.
How would it feel if you held compassion for yourself instead of criticism and judgement? How hard would this be for you to do? Why do you criticise and judge yourself? Who benefits from this critical voice? Does your life become better, enhanced, change or more positive as a result of the constant judging you do to yourself and/or others? How can you change this voice to show kindness? Who would benefit from this change? You, your loved ones, your friends, your neighbours, strangers that come and go in your life, your planet, everyone?
We owe it to ourselves to find the answers to these questions. Love comes from within and until we can love and accept ourselves, we will just keep on seeing the negativity in all that is around us and in us. During lockdown I did a 48-hour negativity fast, based on the New Thought leader and writer Emmet Fox’s (1886-1951) book the Seven Day Mental Diet. His ideas were to replace every negative thought with a positive one. It isn’t about stopping yourself from thinking negatively, because that will happen, it is more about raising your awareness as to how frequently you think negatively and not letting the negativity linger. The exercise is to stop the negative thought early so it can’t take hold and spread its negativity deeper, that combined with the action of replacing it with a compassionate thought means you have a chance to feel that shift from a low frequency emotion to a high frequency emotional and that is where the magic happens. More positive thoughts equals a more positive you.
It was hard, very hard and I didn’t even do his hardcore 7-day version I reduced my negativity diet to 48 hours. I still have ‘L’ plates on (and stabilizers and armbands) and haven’t made it the distance to 7 days yet. I am still training and I’m back on it again. This time 72 hours. Anybody else fancy joining me…? The more of us that raise our awareness to the dreaded negativity in our lives and replace it with positivity, more of us will feel the effects of this change and that is beneficial for all of us.
Too many lives have been lost or effected by negativity and judgements the least we can do is to stand up to this individually by bringing to the forefront compassion and love not judgement, resentment and anger.