About Randi

Randi Kreger has brought the concerns of people who have a family member with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to an international forefront through her best-selling books, informative website, and popular online family support community Welcome to Oz.

 
 

More About Mindfullness: Not Judging Your Experiences


In the next few blog posts, we'll be looking at "mindfulness" with Gillian Galen, the assistant director of training and senior psychologist at the adolescent borderline personality disorder unit at the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital. Gillian is the coauthor (with Blaise Aguirre, MD) of Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder: Relieve Your Suffering Using the Core Skill of Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

 

Most of us are not aware that we judge. But we do all the time. The next time you go shopping, notice how people's appearance and mannerisms lead you to make assumptions about them. Sometimes we need to use shorthand (judgments) in an effort to save time (and figure out who the salesperson is). But if we do so when we are not paying attention, or we label things negatively, these judgments can cause a lot of suffering and lead back to a cycle of being thrown around by our emotions.

Negative judgments or judgments that demonstrate a wish to change reality, such as that something "should" be different from how it is, often cause us a lot of suffering. In general, judgments leave little room for curiosity and possibilities other than more judgments

When you pay attention to judgments, you notice that your judgments influence your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. To develop this skill, start by simply noticing something, and do so without evaluating it; that is, stay away from words like "good" or "bad," "outstanding" or "horrible," and "should" or "shouldn't." Try to detach your opinions, approval, or disapproval from what is, and stick to the facts, as in the discussion of the skill of labeling.

Automatically judging other people and ourselves means that we have made up our minds.. For people with BPD, judgments show up frequently, especially in black-and-white thinking and judgmental emotions that feel intolerable. These judgments only make feelings more intense and intolerable, which often lead to destructive urges and behaviors.

Mindfulness Practice Statement: An Emotion

For two minutes, sit mindfully and come up with an emotion. Begin by identifying the judgments that you have about this emotion. Next, replace your judgments with nonjudgmental statements. Imagine what that emotion tends to feel like in your body and how you could describe it. Try this with multiple emotions and write them down if you find that helpful. Do this same practice with the same emotion the next time you feel it. When you make statements about the experience, notice whether the emotion lasts as long as you remember.

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