I had the opportunity to practice the DBT Emotion Regulation skill of Non-Judgment today in a tangible way that actually made sense. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, and for days, I’ve been fantasizing about just spending a weekday lazing around, hanging out in bed, and not even leaving the house.
The thoughts that came up with this desire/fantasy were generally very judgmental. Even though I only work part-time and do have the flexibility to call in and say that I’ll work form home, I still judged myself, my motives, and what the possible outcome of my choice to follow through could be.
Some of the thoughts were:
“If you stay home and do what you’re thinking, you’re giving in to depression.”
“They’ll get mad at you, and you could lose your job.”
“You shouldn’t waste your day away.”
“Why do you think that you’re so special that you can do this?”
“What do you do all week that you should rest all day? You’re not even active.”
“If I break my routine and do this, I might feel crazy.”
Well, this morning, I awoke feeling very tired.
I got up, checked my email, had a little bit of breakfast, and played with my cats. I was so tired.
Outside, the weather was very wet, and the sky very dark. This was definitely a day conducive of a cozy, napping marathon with my kitties.
I acknowledged the judgmental thoughts that began to come up again as I considered staying home and resting. Then, I wondered how I might view the situation if I removed the judgment and practiced my skills.
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According to the “Mindfulness Handout 3: Taking Hold of Your Mind: ‘How’ Skills” worksheet that I have from DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) class, Non-Judgmentally means:
See, but DON’T EVALUATE. Take a nonjudgmental stance. Just the facts. Focus on the “what,” not the “good” or “bad,” the “terrible” or “wonderful,” the “should” or “should not.”
UNGLUE YOUR OPINIONS from the facts, from the “who, what, when, and where.”
ACCEPT each moment, each event, as a blanket spread out on the lawn accepts both the rain and the sun, each leaf that falls upon it.
ACKNOWLEDGE the helpful, the wholesome, but don’t judge it. Acknowledge the harmful, the unwholesome, but don’t judge it. When you find yourself judging:
DON’T JUDGE THE JUDGING.
(I am not sure where the hospital where I attend my DBT group sourced this worksheet. No copyright infringement intended)
Keeping these guidelines in mind, I laid out the facts:
1.) I want to stay home and have a low key, restful day with naps
2.) The weather is conducive for the kind of day I’d like to have
3.) I have the option to work from home if I wish
4.) I feel tired and want to rest
5.) I might feel differently from having changed my schedule
Somehow, just looking at the facts of the situation without attaching any judgment allowed me to feel so much better about the situation. Suddenly, I wasn’t some lazy villain trying to “get away with something.” Suddenly I wasn’t a “horrible person” who didn’t deserve to have this kind of day.
In fact, I even ended up developing some positive judgments that made me feel better:
“It’s ok to stay home. It’s not harming me or anyone else.”
“It’s ok to pamper myself in this way.”
“Doing this is a form of self-care that has no real harmful side-effects or consequences”
“I am going to enjoy this day as it unfolds.”
I hope that my own personal example of applying the Non-Judgmentally skill has helped you. Of course, your own personal situation and circumstances will vary, but I am excited for how you might apply it the next time you find yourself judging. I hope you feel as liberated as I did in this example.
Thank you for reading.