09 Jan Be Curious, Not Judgmental…
Be Curious, Not Judgmental…
My husband and I recently binged the show, Ted Lasso. I know the show has been around for a bit, but we don’t watch a lot of TV and had a little time over the Holidays. If you’re not familiar, Ted Lasso is played by Jason Sudekis, one of our favorite comedians, and the show is about a Kansas college football coach who gets a job coaching soccer in England; something Ted knows absolutely nothing about. Since both of our girls play soccer, and it starred Jason Sudekis, we figured it was worth a watch.
Ted Lasso is in a word “nice”. When Jason Sudekis created the character, he was influenced by a former coach, and the Kansas values he grew up with, you know, things like kindness.
As I watched, I wondered how Ted could take so much crap and yet remain unshaken, positive, and kind. In one of the episodes, Ted is challenged to play a game of darts and a wager ensues. There is a lot on the line for the owner of the club, and she’s understandably nervous and skeptical. When Ted wins after intentionally falling behind, he quotes Walt Whitman. He says, most men have underestimated him his entire life; instead of being curious about him, they were judgmental. Since watching that episode and hearing that quote, I can’t get it out of my head. It struck me intellectually and emotionally and made me curious about how often I fall into the judgment trap, with myself, with others, or with anything.
Get Curious, Not Judgmental.
The other day I was driving in a part of town I hadn’t been to in a while. I had to go to Home Depot to find a Milwaukee brand tool for my husband’s Christmas gift – yes, I’m a good wife. Anyway, as I was driving back home, I noticed there were a lot more storefronts that read “vape shop”, and there were at least two new Scooter’s coffee shops that I had never seen. On practically every corner you can find a place to get all the caffeine, sugar filled drinks, and snacks you want, but how many places can you get a fresh juice or smoothie? I do love my morning coffee, don’t get me wrong, but it got me thinking, and I got curious – why, as a culture, do we overindulge, overstuff, over caffeinate, to basically numb out? And, it’s not just substances, we numb out with work, shopping, food, social media, and more, and when I say “we” I’m including myself as well.
For most of my life I overdid a lot, and I still find myself falling into some of these same patterns when it comes to my work. However, since studying and practicing the holistic habits of Ayurveda, I have learned to get curious, not judgmental with myself. I let my body tell me what it needs, and I no longer beat myself up for making a poor choice. The holistic framework is all about being your own self-healer, less reliance on the external, and tapping into your body’s innate wisdom. It’s all about being curious.
Adopting this holistic warrior mindset means knowing that healing is a daily practice, and that mental, emotional, and physical health is directly related to our habits. These habits include things such as how we start our day, how much sleep we get, and what we consume – whether that be food, alcohol, etc. Habits also determine whether we have an active vs. sedentary lifestyle, what we watch on TV, even what we read and what we listen to – including our own thoughts, and unfortunately, our patterns of self-sabotage. I have been on the self-sabotage merry-go-round for most of my life; practicing good habits in different areas of my life for a given period of time, only to eventually jump off and derail all progress that I made. At first this frustrated me, then, it made me curious. Why was it that I would get in the way of my own success? Why would I derail myself even when something was seemingly working? Why, periodically anyway, would I find myself being my own worst enemy? Curiosity helped me find some answers.
Being a holistic warrior has armed me with the ability to recognize when I’m self-sabotaging, and the understanding that when resistance arises, and when limiting beliefs rear their ugly head, it’s merely my subconscious mind’s misguided way of trying to keep me safe. Being a holistic warrior means facing my resistance and meeting it with resilience. This resilience is built on a foundation of habits that support my physiology and balances my nervous system, which, in turn, provides an environment to do the hard work, to stay focused, and for personal growth.
Being a holistic warrior means learning to be still and listen. It means self-acceptance. It means doing the work that it takes to learn how to be your own healer and to thrive. It means being curious and not judgmental.
To me, viewing things through the curiosity lens means listening more and adopting a beginner’s mindset, which is a place of not knowing, as opposed to the judgement lens, which is fogged up with assumptions, bias, and patterns that don’t always serve me well.
Ted Lasso’s simple but crucial message of kindness made me think of the principle in yoga philosophy called ahisma, which is one of the yamas or social precepts found in the eight limbs of yoga. Ahisma is a fundamental value of yoga philosophy and is listed first for a reason. It means kindness, it means having compassion both for yourself and for others.
As we begin 2022, I will continue to apply this principle to all areas of my daily life, and strive to find more ways to be curious, to replace judgment with kindness, to not be so hard on myself, and to find more ways to be kind to others. We are better together.
“Be Curious, Not Judgmental” Walt Whitman
**You can check it out here too, from my Guns & Yoga Podcast: