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January / February, 2018

Only Your Condemnation Injures You

Only Your Forgiveness Sets You Free


 

Only Condemnation Injures You

What do these words, from A Course in Miracles, mean?  If you condemn someone, or something, how can that injure you?

Think about it for a moment; ask yourself how often you indulge in condemnation, judgment or criticism. Imagine you are walking along the street and see a woman who is obese.  What are your immediate thoughts?  Or when you encounter a homeless person, a kid who smells like marijuana, a smoker.  It could be a teenage girl wearing a skirt you think is too short, an old man who smells because he hasn’t bathed in a while, or someone talking loudly on a cellphone.

Maybe you’re driving.  What are you thinking if someone cuts you off?  What if a motorcycle roars by noisily, or if someone delays making a left turn so you’re left at the light when it turns red?

What happens if you see a post on Facebook that you don’t like?  Or you hear a political opinion unlike your own?  What is your response?

Do you like to gossip? Gossip is usually judgmental.  You can probably think of a lot of other scenarios.  The truth is that you have hundreds of opportunities every day to criticize, judge and condemn.

This is how this behavior injures you:  when you are in critical mode, even for a moment, you cannot be happy in that moment.  Thoughts of condemnation cannot share energy with thoughts of love, peace or happiness.  And if you have many critical moments, you are allowing them to steal precious joy from your life.  They will also, ultimately, make you ill.

Only Forgiveness Sets You Free

There is an alternative to instant judgment and criticism.  And if you learn it, you will find greater joy in your life every day.  This joy is also healing, so you’ll discover renewed health and energy.  Interested?

Last winter I offered a yoga retreat with workshops focused on A Consciousness of Love.  We looked at ways we could shift our thoughts, moment by moment, from criticism to love.  And we discovered that the only way to do this was with instant forgiveness.

I have written of the importance of forgiveness for longstanding anger and hurt.  These feelings  will make you sick, they can even kill you, so it’s important to let them go as soon as you can. But day to day judgments also take their toll, and we can learn to let them go and substitute forgiveness.  When you do, you will notice improved health and more day to day joy in your life.

Another reason to forgive is karma:  what goes around comes around.  If you condemn others, others will condemn you.  If, however, you forgive what you see, what you experience, then others will do the same for you.

Look again at the scenarios I outlined.  Sometimes our criticism surfaces simply because people are different.  And often they deserve our compassion more than condemnation.

Try this today, be aware of your critical thoughts and change them, in the moment, to tolerance and forgiveness.  When you forgive, you set yourself free.  Your life will be happier and the world will be a better place!