As you have all noticed this year, I am more focused on writing articles about mental health. I have committed myself to live a healthier life and since exercise comes naturally to me, I decided to devote just as much time, or more, to my spiritual life. I have always gravitated to more positive people and see the glass half, full rather than half empty, but still, something inside of me kept pulling me to a greater need; to have a deeper sense of purpose and to live a more meaningful life. So far it has been an eye-opening experience and an amazing journey. To help others on this journey, I want to share one of the biggest obstacles that keep us from being the most mentally productive and clear-headed we can be.

We all have something to say about everything, we put labels on people, criticize the world, politics, the viruses, the vaccines, the system, the family, the neighbor, the friend… it never stops. We even judge ourselves; we tear ourselves apart with harsh criticism and what we can do better or worse. We give opinions thinking we know best, and we become arrogant without even noticing how we are being perceived.
Often, we do not realize that by doing this, we are creating negativity and are not bringing any good to the situation. Quite the opposite, we create more anxiety for ourselves and we put ourselves in a negative state of mind. When we enter a negative state of mind, it causes us more stress – which only weakens our immune system and overall health – and leaves us with a sense of emptiness. We even become angrier and more resentful. But how do we overcome this deeply ingrained part of our human nature?

One of the easiest ways is to become more self-aware. When we become conscious of our thoughts, we can take control of what we are going to say or do. We can ask where the thought is coming from and stop ourselves from feeding into it.

Avoid judgmental people and surround yourself with positivity.
This is a hard one because sometimes people we truly love may be feeding poison to our soul. But there is a simple way to fix this: creating boundaries and setting limits. Sometimes we cannot remove ourselves physically, but we can stop participating in conversations that do not serve any real purpose. We do not need to have a response to what the others say, and we can lovingly share that we are committed to living in love and no longer interested in judgment. If the person loves you, they will hopefully respect your boundaries. However, if they do not, it is ok because respect comes from within and nobody else.

My inner purpose is to be at peace. So, anything I think, say, or surround myself with, I ask if it is bringing me peace. I self-check and go from there, and it is a discipline that can be easily learned. Just like anything else, it will not happen overnight, but if you want to see a change, you can do it. Just remember, you are the only one with the power to make it happen.
One last thing, I began to realize that everything I judge is a projection of me. I cannot see what I do not carry inside of me. Before I judge the world, I will take a deep look at myself and see what needs to change. By seeing ourselves and this amazing world we live in from a different angle, we become happier, we become kinder, and we become free!

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Esteban Villanueva