This week's Prevention not Prescriptions guest blogger is Lisa Oz, co-host of The Dr. Oz Show on the Oprah & Friends network and author of the upcoming book,"Transforming Yourself and the Relationships That Matter Most"
Letting go of judgment...for a healthier mind and happier life.
One of the infuriating blessings of my life is the supreme sense of irony in the universe. I don’t know if it happens to you – but every time I’m really contemptuous of something – you can bet, I’m headed right for it. Now, contempt is not an admirable emotion by anyone’s standards, but it’s one of those things we seem to fall into rather easily. That whole feeling of superiority expressed with “I would never do that” or “Can you believe they…?” has a way of sneaking into our thought and conversation. For me, the danger is not just that I’ll be internalizing a negative feeling, but that somehow, someday, I will end up living what I disdain.
I grew up outside of Philadelphia, which comes with a penchant for hoagies and cheese-steaks (made with Seitan for us vegetarians) and an unexplainable loyalty to the Eagles (who aren’t actually very good) even when you live three thousand miles away. It also comes with a prejudice against our closest neighbor, New Jersey. As a youth, I always thought of New Jersey as the land of oil refineries, pharmaceutical companies, and of course, turnpike exits.
In college I liked to avoid studying for tests by watching David Letterman. On one particular night he was reading letters from his viewers, when with a sardonic smile, he unfolded a pink piece of paper and quipped “A housewife from New Jersey writes…” I’m not sure I even heard what he said next because I was absorbed in the thought –“Ugh, how dreadfully boring to be a housewife from New Jersey”.
Cut to: today. I have now lived in the Garden State (and loved it) for over twenty years – and more often than not, my job description could most accurately be described as “housewife”. I even drove a gray, Taurus station wagon forever – (another one of those things I mocked as utterly un-sexy - and for those of you who don’t know me, “sexy” is my favorite adjective.) The list of things I once scorned coming back to bite me in the butt goes on and on. My response to my first energy healing session was an undignified mix of eye rolling and snickering. I am now a Reiki master. I used to mercilessly scoff at friends who had undergone plastic surgery procedures and now at 46, I must admit that Botox is not as unappealing as I once thought. (Though I still don’t love the plastic face look.) A frequent object of my derision was the “self-help” genre in books. I read lots and lots of them, but ever since M. Scott Peck admitted he was sleeping with his patients while writing the Road Less Travelled, I remained skeptical of the authors themselves. Which brings me to my current position. As of April 6th 2010, I will enter the ranks of the previously suspect “self-help” writers.
Even worse than being just “self- help”, the book is on relationships! (The sort of book at which most of my derision was aimed.) Which is so beautiful and perfect and annoyingly ironic. The universe (or God, as I like to refer to it) has an incredible sense of humor.
So, after decades of watching this pattern in my life, I now try to be a little less judgmental of people in situations that I don’t understand – knowing that before long I will be walking in their proverbial shoes.
Except for today…since at the moment I am trying very hard to look down on NYT bestselling authors ;)
Lisa Oz is a writer, actress, producer, and co-host of The Dr. Oz Show on the Oprah & Friends network. She is the author of three "New York Times" best-selling books including "YOU: The Owner’s Manual" series.
Related:Prevention Not Prescriptions Tuesday