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Baring Our Butts and Baring Our Souls

By Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio

 

I had just completed an article about empowering women, when photos of Kim Kardashian’s shiny butt beamed at me from every screen and paper. It was too much! Or was it? It certainly says something about the society we live in... but what does it say? And who are we to judge?

I was forty-something when I fully realized that my feelings of judgment toward others are useful only for identifying my own fears. This epiphany among others changed and empowered me. Every time I have powerful emotional responses in my life, I know my ego has been triggered and is seeking to remain in control and superior. Being awake to the language of the ego tells us that feelings of judgment correspond to our own fears and insecurity and signal exactly where we need to go deeper. Instead of turning away when I feel a heightened emotion I try to step outside myself and observe in the moment: what is my trigger here? What is my lesson? What FEAR is causing my emotion? It is not easy, but in my experience it is worthwhile.

How did I eventually learn that fear is the cause of all judgment?

When I became a divorced mom I observed it in my life. The box I’d been comfortably nestled in had been turned upside down and as I struggled to put my life back together I was being judged at every turn.

Suddenly, how others saw me changed drastically. I received heaps of unsolicited advice and comments.

Before long, I recognized that the judgments I faced were the fears of others projected on me: fear of poverty, loneliness, failing as a parent, failing in the eyes of society, loss of status, fear that their children will hate/blame them, and the fear that they could be next.

If someone lashes out at me now I try to step back and observe what unspoken fear may be motivating them.

The very first step was understanding why others judged me, the next was discovering why it bothered me so much. Through reading, writing and a yoga practice of meditation and conscious self-development, I realized that my negative emotional responses, whether I be, defensive, judgmental, jealous, proud, selfish, or indignant, is a result of my underlying fear that I might lose control, be a failure, be abandoned, or be unlovable.

It was life changing when I became aware that I CHOOSE my emotions and reactions in every situation. No one can MAKE me feel anything unless I let them! It freed me to follow my inner spirit and purpose because it mattered less what other people thought. By consciously investigating my emotional reactions and opinions, I have transformed the quality of my life. I am happier, I am a more compassionate person and I hardly every worry or judge others.

Don’t get me wrong, the ego is tricky and continues to undermine my inner soul’s yearning to be loving, accepting and humble at all times; after all, I am human. I am far from perfect but I faced my fears and the fears of my family, friends and critics. In four years I went from being an at-home mom left with three young children, shocked and devastated by the worries that initially overwhelmed me, to writing an award-winning novel with my soul mate. A soul mate I would never have allowed in if I had let fear win the battle.

Shedding fear of being a social outcast is liberating but more empowering is discarding the belief that we can or should stand in judgment or tutelage of others. Do I think Kim Kardashian’s airbrushed bod looks hotter than my real deal? Better not to compare. Would I plaster my scrawny white cheeks on every TV and webpage across the planet?  Not likely, but her doing so doesn’t threaten me.

The thing is… it doesn’t matter. Getting to the heart of why we are offended, judgmental,  indignant, disgusted by anything that has no victim is more important. I think it would be great if we could look at our own emotions and reactions

and take the responsibility for them. I have no doubt there are plenty more Kim Kardashian magazine covers to come but I would rather concern myself with things I can affect like my own spiritual evolution and what I give back to the world. We are all on our own path and become empowered when we regard others with compassion and love instead of judgment. Beware the sneaky ego that pities the choices of others or makes us feel like teachers. What would happen if we merely allowed the unstructured mind to ask “what can I learn from this?”

Tamara Veitch’s first novel with co-author Rene DeFazio, One Great Year, has received rave reviews and won Honorable Mention at the New York Book Festival Awards and the London Book Festival Awards. One Great Year has also been optioned for development in Hollywood and in October 2014 won an Empowered Writer’s Award at The Canadian International Peace Festival. Veitch and DeFazio are currently on tour and are writing the sequel in the series. Visit www.onegreatyear.com for information, video links and more.