Be Gentle: Observation
The first day of the experiment was one of my 11 hour work days. I work in a women’s health clinic which has me interacting with tons of people every day. I interact with many coworkers and patients in person and on the phone. I genuinely thought that I did not need to work on my harmful thoughts towards the outside world. Well, all I needed was an eleven hour work day to show me differently. I found that the majority of my harmful thoughts came in the form of judgment. With patients: “Are you seriously complaining about the ten minute wait when we are about to give you free services? You have no idea how lucky you are.” “Did you really just ask me if you were going to die because you are spotting? You are crazy paranoid!” With coworkers: “Blah blah blah about your chemistry homework, you do not even know how to do your job.” I was startled when I started to realize how plain mean some of my thoughts were. I am always saying how much I love my coworkers and that patient care is the best part of the job. You would never know it if you could hear my thoughts.
It was easy for me to point out my harmful thoughts towards myself. I have a long history of self-attacks. Anytime one little thing happens I spiral into a million self-loathing thoughts. For example, if I am running late for work I think “gosh slackers are late, no one can count on me, I am bad at my job, I am bad at everything, everyone must hate me, I am lazy, I am fat….” This is a samskara that I have tried over and over again to break. I can now catch it and limit the domino effect most of the time. Since I have spent a lot of energy working on this for several years, I seemed to have drowned out the negative attitudes toward others. They have gone by unchecked. This experiment is beginning to change that.