In our goal-driven world, it is very easy to get caught up in outcomes. Our ‘output’ is always being measured. We have quotas at work and expectations from family and friends. As if that weren’t enough, we can get caught up in the joy-stealing process of comparing ourselves to others. As social creatures, we often look for feedback outside of ourselves. This is normal and natural. But the process of seeking praise can throw us off-balance and make us forget our true intentions, our true identity.
“You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: follow the calmness, the absence of pride.”
— Sutta Nipata
Try this mindfulness exercise – Practice equanimity:
1. Equanimity is a core mindfulness skill. The word describes the unattached awareness of one’s experience as a result of perceiving the impermanence of momentary reality. It is a peace of mind and abiding calmness that cannot be shaken by any grade of circumstance, either fortunate or unfortunate.
2. To help with practicing equanimity in any situation, remind yourself of the true intention of your actions.
3. When you find yourself being evaluated or criticized for being an imperfect human, notice any negative feelings that arise, breathe, and remember your intention.
4. You might ask why you need to use this practice for praise as well as blame. The answer is to remember impermanence. Today’s praise might be tomorrow’s blame. So, certainly savor and ‘take in’ praise, as Rick Hanson suggests, but don’t let it obscure your intentions.
Practice equanimity all day today. Notice if you feel calmer and lighter at the end of the day.
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Aristotle
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!