Shifting from Assessment to “Asset-ment”

Are you ready to shift from appraising to praising; from assessment to asset-ment?

I’ll explain…

The faculty of assessment is useful for certain types of decision-making. Making sound decisions sometimes calls upon the ability to assign value to something, according to how it aligns with our priorities.

Though, when we judge on auto, we cultivate a mentality of “never good enough.”This phenomenon is known as “the missing tile syndrome” -when you walk into a room designed with tiles, you notice that one tile is missing, and you only focus your attention on the tile that isn’t there.

“The Missing Tile Syndrome is a very big obstacle to happiness. So big, in fact, that it makes happiness almost impossible.” -Dennis Prager

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When your default judgment is rigged toward the negative, that’s likely a reflection of high self-criticism.

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The antidote- a dose of self-compassion.

Our life experiences are dynamic. Sometimes life feels so amazing, it’s hard to understand why anyone could feel sad. Some days, moving forward feels too overwhelming. Some days feel mediocre, and we feel like we’re just getting by. Sometimes we experience all of the above in a single day.

When we judge ourselves and internalize an unpleasant experience, we’re incorporating a negative mark into our identity, and that manifests as shame.

In her book”Daring Greatly,” Brene Brown  teaches:

Guilt- “I did something bad”

Shame- “I am bad”

Negative judgment arises from a mentality of “not good enough” and falling short in an area that we value. It is important to be mindful of what situations/circumstances incite these feelings, and how we respond when they arise.

“If we are the kind of people who ‘don’t do vulnerability,’ there’s nothing that makes us feel more threatened and more incited to attack than to see someone daring greatly. Someone else’s daring provides an uncomfortable mirror that reflects back our own fears about showing up, creating, and letting ourselves be seen…”

What I get from that is this- Let’s say person “A” fears public speaking. When that person sees another person, “B” giving a speech to an audience, if that is a skill that person “A” values, he/she may start to  judge him/her self for not feeling like he/she could manifest the courage to do that. Person “A” may react to this uncomfortable feeling of self-judgment by shielding him/her self, displacing the judgment from him/herself, to person “B,” perhaps by finding a perceived flaw in person “B,” for example, criticizing his/her appearance. I heard this happen a few weeks ago, in the form of a comment someone shared with another person, as a speaker walked up to the stage. I felt strongly that awareness about this issue is imperative. As long as it persists in any community, it will cause disengagement and can foster a culture of gossip, separation and lack of trust.

Judgment keeps us and others small. It is limiting, causing us to discount the good that already exists. It keeps us from moving forward and reaching our potential; It’s debilitating.

Fear of judgment can motivate conformity and have significant consequences. It can keep us from going after what we really want, from taking risks, trying new things, daring greatly, and ultimately, from living fully and authentically.

When you feel judgment and jealousy, those are opportunities to become aware of which areas in your life you feel shame and inadequacy. Instead of feeling resentful, try to be thankful to the other person for allowing you to identify what you want or want to stay away from in your life.

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Another person’s success does not mean your loss. We can all win, all the time. We just have to choose that perspective. Often, perceiving situations this way doesn’t happen automatically.  Take a step back,  and then look again.

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What you give out, you get back. So, when you demonstrate love, you benefit, so does the other person, and on and on…

Assessing favorably, or “asset-ing” (looking for the positive) often involves taking a second look.

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Each of us experiences adversity that others know nothing about, and our challenges are unique. You don’t have to understand why someone did what they did, and others don’t have to understand why you do what you do. We all (hopefully) do what we know best, and we focus our attention on what we personally value. My biggest challenge could be the thing that comes most naturally to you, and vice versa. So, who are we to judge each other? None of us is perfect. We all have unique strengths, and we’re all here because we have a divine purpose. Let’s respect that.

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To me, compassion involves cultivating a sense of humanity, acknowledging that we are all connected, we’re all together in this experience of life, we all make mistakes.. we’re here to learn and grow. If any of us were perfect, he/she would not be here. So, why not lift each other up, and help make this a better time for all of us?

Don’t judge yourself for being judgmental- when you feel like you’re being hard on yourself and others, remember that you can choose which thoughts to give energy to. We all have positive and negative thoughts. The ones you give energy to are the ones that persist. With intention, awareness and practice, you can rewire connections in your brain, changing how you perceive and assess situations and experiences. Thinking positively can start to come more naturally!

Focus on the positive thoughts, and when an unfavorable one comes up, CHOOSE to replace it with a positive one.

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When you see something you appreciate/admire in someone else, send him/her a blessing, positive energy. My sister and I do this regularly- when we acknowledge something positive in someone, we wish for that person to sustain that quality, to be continually blessed, etc. (we do this from afar- not to the person)

I also do this when I see someone who seems like he/she is going through a challenging time, in any way. When someone seems sad, bitter, defensive, I wish the person well, and for him/her to feel peace and love.

We can all use positive energy- first cultivate it for yourself.

When you live authentically, without judgment, you are freely being YOU, and you naturally inspire others to live that way too.

 

 

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Conversational Culture (reform)

You’ve likely heard -through the energy you put out via your behavior, thoughts and words, you are creating your experiences.

Your words carry weight. They inform listeners about the way that you think and profoundly contribute to your self-presentation. We pick up different ways of speaking, influenced by our environment. For example, have you noticed that you might start using the same phrases that your friends do? If you’ve spent a significant amount of time in a different part of the world, you may have adopted the accent, intonation and slang used by the locals, into your speech.

Speech patterns are contagious

Language is often used as social capital- we become aware of how different accents/ pronunciations and words are perceived within a culture, and adapt our lexical patterns accordingly. It’s a way of demonstrating and/or establishing prestige. Pay attention to how the presence of different people impacts what you do and say. Social influence can induce strong (and sometimes unsettling) conformity.

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Each social group establishes its own culture.

What characterizes the culture in your social circles? -what do you talk about when you’re together? Is the content of conversations usually positive, encouraging and uplifting?  judgmental, sarcastic and deprecating?

How do you feel after being around the people you hang out with?

Having conversation imbued with discussion and judgment of others (namely people not involved in the conversation) does not nurture intimacy. Intimacy is facilitated through building trust.

A tweet I once saw on twitter- May we be so busy improving ourselves that we have no time to point out the faults of others.

Use your social time to talk about what’s going well in your life, what you want to create in your life, what you’re passionate and excited about. That’s authentic and productive, and when you talk about what’s going well, and what you wish for, you’re more likely to create and sustain gratitude, joy and more abundance and success.

Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, is the author of one of my favorite books- “Daring Greatly-How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.” I just bought every copy that my local bookstore had in stock to give to family and friends. It’s remarkable.

In this talk (<– link) , Brené discusses the characterization of trust and brings up this point- When people talk about other people, you can’t trust them to not do the same to you.  I highly recommend watching it until the end. (She also refers to Dr. John Gottman’s work – He is the greatest relationship researcher I know of. I participated in one of his clinical trainings earlier this year)

Be intentional about what you speak about and notice how you feel in the moment and after. 

I thought about this just last week-  catching up with friends doesn’t have to involve filling each other in on everything that’s happened since you last spoke/met. Do you sometimes feel like after some experience you’ve had, you’re serially retelling the story? Why give energy to what’s already past, especially when it was an experience you didn’t enjoy? Repeatedly talking about it keeps it relevant in your life. Instead, you can try talking about what’s exciting and fulfilling in your life- perhaps what you’re learning, what you value, what your goals are, how you can work on a fulfilling project together…

Tell the story of what you DO want.

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Of course, you may want to discuss something that’s on your mind with a select person/ few people who you trust, and who you think will help guide you through what you’re going through, sans judgment. If the experience calls for professional consultation/help, seek it.  There’s power, courage and investment in doing so.

Every relationship with every person you encounter in your life can teach you something about yourself. How did something someone said or did make you feel?  Your (internal) reaction to anything around you can elucidate your values. Did you respect something that someone did?- his/her behavior was probably a demonstration of a value you have. The opposite feeling holds true too.

The people that you surround yourself with have a great influence on you. Relationships with different people can be beneficial in unique ways. One friend can be your go-to for a certain kind of advice, another you can count on to make you cheer up, laugh and feel light.

Being selective about who you affiliate with is a marker of self-respect. 

 

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Feel it to Experience it

Uncertainty about the future can be unsettling and overwhelming. To mitigate this mental discomfort, we each employ a unique bouquet of strategies. One such constructive approach is to set and implement realistic goals that cultivate behaviors, experiences, thoughts and feelings that feel most authentic and fulfilling to YOU, to take steps toward creating the future of your dreams!

Sometimes we think of action-outcome contingencies-

If I do ______,  then I will experience/receive/accomplish ______.

When you pray for it, think about it, ask for it, and work for it, you’re taking action toward receiving it.

How about when you’re having difficulty picturing exactly what you want, because it may seem too far away from where you’re at right now? For example, say you want to plan a party, but are unsure exactly how it will come together- how everyone will interact, what kind of food to serve, who will show up, where it will take place, etc. Or, you want to make a job, or entire career change and feel stuck, scared, and uncertain. There’s so much unknown, and it’s only a thought you’ve just had, or a recurring one you’ve had for a while. Either way- it feels overwhelming. Perhaps you’re studying for finals and feel a lot of stress- unsure of how you’ll get everything done, successfully.

Whatever you’re going through is temporary.

Think of one such thing that you really want in your life, but don’t know how to attain it, or how it will work out.

Now, imagine how you want to FEEL when you’re accomplishing it.       (close your eyes if that helps)

How do you want to feel while you’re hosting that party? (you can use all of your senses to make the feeling more realistic- what do you hear people telling you during the party? what do you see? smell?…)

How do you want the work to feel?  What kinds of relationships do you want to have with your co-workers?… clients? What kind of work culture would nurture your personality and motivation?  What do you want your work space to look like? and on and on…

A meeting, date, party, interview, future trip/vacation, public speech/presentation, a hard conversation- how do you want to FEEL before, during and after?

Identify and experience the feeling, and with faith, know that you’re always guided and supported- never alone. Let the feeling uplift you and ease your worry/fear/stress/anxiety…

Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want. Since I heard this sentence, I remind myself of it when I need it and it works like an alarm clock.

Last week, I was in Penn Station, going down the stairs to the track where I would board my train, and I thought about how great it would be to see someone on the train that I would be excited to connect with. After I sat down on the train, while on the phone, I looked to my right and saw one of my closest friends a couple of feet away from me. It’s amazing how often I’ve imagined a feeling and then experienced it. It is so exciting.

  1. Identify your desire
  2. Feel the feelings that you want to experience
  3. (Take consistent action toward your goal, with excitement and faith)
  4. Allow the desired experience to unfold

Cheers to cultivating remarkable feelings and experiences!

Here are some affirmations-

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