Notice your judgements.

Practicing freedom requires us to practice being self-aware. When meeting someone for the first time, many of us instantly judge their personality or their interests based on how they look and act. Research shows these decisions are made before we even have time to form and gather our thoughts. Our judgements are not based on another person, or what they are thinking and feeling. Instead, how we judge people is based only on what we think and feel about them.

When we judge we affect how we feel and what we do. And how we feel and what we do affects our personal freedom. We make most of our judgements automatically without any consideration. But we grow when we learn to notice and be aware when we are making judgements. Being aware when we judge allows us to recognize that what we feel about someone is not the same as what someone else feels.

Practice noticing when you make judgements. This simple exercise helps us to remember that we cannot ever know what someone else is feeling or thinking unless they tell us. This recognition and practice keeps us free from feeling stress about what’s going on with someone else because we know we cannot know, and helps us to focus on ourselves. For while we cannot control what others do, we have full command over ourselves. And there lies our true freedom.

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