Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
Possibly you already know that we spend our time making judgements about everything: what a beautiful baby, what a nice man, what a rude waiter, how delicious the food is, what an ugly dress, I do not like this, what a boring job, what an awful traffic jam…
And do we do this unprompted or does it come to us automatically? Most of our judgements are automatic. We quickly put an adjective to everything as a way of showing our like or dislike for whatever arises. But, what does it matter? Well, that by making judgements with such haste we may easily be mistaken, because reality is one thing and our judgement is completely subjective. What I dislike, someone else may neither like nor dislike. Why? Each of us has a list of things that ring alarm bells, that is, everyone has things they classify as unpleasant, worrying or dangerous based on their own fears.
If I am not afraid that someone will be rude or a pain, if I am not afraid that people may judge me or draw my attention to an error of mine, then I will respond calmly or I will simply not react like a coiled spring to the behaviour of others.
In other words, I react unconsciously based on my own personal fears and not because of what the other person has done.
If I am not aware of this, I always react like an automaton and I allow myself to be overwhelmed by my emotions at every turn, instead of responding to the situation calmly and without identifying myself with it.
When I do not pay attention to my automatic reactions, I tend to act with a defensive attitude and I lose the freedom to choose a coherent response to the situation.
The next time you have an automatic reaction, stop, observe what it says, let it pass, if it seems to you that it does not fit the situation, and regain your peace.