Are you guilty of this too?
I am an animal protein-eating yogi who believes in eating for your body’s needs over your spiritual beliefs. For me those two things are different. For some they are the same. Well, my meat-eating ways created a bit of a scandal recently.
It was my turn to bring food for a monthly yoga luncheon. I prepared a vegetarian meal, per the program guidelines. Normally during our gatherings I eat by myself so I don’t offend anyone with my animal protein. On this particular day I decided that since it was my turn to make the food, I’d stay with the group and honor my needs.
So I made some organic, hormone free, grass fed ground beef. Because what better animal protein to pair with a taco bar than that? 😉 I stuck it in the side door of the facility’s fridge, intending to just grab some for myself during lunch. Except that while we were in our seminar, an assistant placed ALL of the food beautifully on the serving table, meat included. I honestly couldn’t tell at first if it was the beef (some of that processed fake meat looks like the real deal). But it was the real deal.
The reactions varied. A couple of women reacted as if I had just slaughtered a cow in front of their faces. Others calmly said it’s against the group’s beliefs for the meat to be there. Others excitedly asked if they could have some or expressed that they too eat animal protein.
I moved the meat off the main table, grabbed my food and was ready to enjoy my meal. Except the conversation kept going. And going. And going. A couple of people kept asking others why they eat animal protein. I found myself wanting the conversation to be over so I could peacefully enjoy the food.
Then one individual triggered me. A vegetarian who was oozing judgment with looks, tone, language (verbal and physical). My mind was full of thoughts… Who is she to mandate her beliefs on others? What kind of “spiritual” person judges others in this way? If she’s so confident in her beliefs, why is she reacting with such fear?
Buuuut, do you see what I did? I immediately began judging her for judging me. That’s the slippery and annoying part of judgment. I got hooked by my emotions and began doing exactly what she was doing. I judged her just as she was judging me.
I couldn’t understand why I was getting so hooked by this. Let’s be honest…some of my interests are not exactly traditional. I can calmly handle difference of opinion when it comes to topics like intuition and angels (even my beloved Patriots 😉 ). So why am I getting so triggered by this?
And then I realized I still have some lingering inner judgments around my own food choices. A part of me still felt guilty for eating animal protein.
For many years I did not eat what was best for my body. I made choices based on the latest study, the person in front of me, or whatever emotion needed stuffing. Making food decisions based on what my body needs is a relatively new thing for me.
It happened in my own healing journey (Hashimoto hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue). Through those issues I learned to eat what my body needed, and I began to notice immediate and direct connections between energy levels, mental clarity and food choices. I love animals. I would love to be the person who can live a full and healthy life by eating vegetables. But I need animal protein to support my health. Once I learned that, my eating choices became pretty black and white. Eat what supports my body and gives me energy for the day. Leave the rest.
I used to be in an internal mental battle with endless amount of obsessive thoughts that wasted so much of my energy. Should I have a bite of that? If I have that, I need to skip something else later. Damn it! I had more than one bite of it! Ughhh! I’ll just have half of the sandwich. OMG I ate the whole thing! Loser. This self-critical, self-judgmental cycle continued for years, while I remained truly unclear of what really worked for my body.
Now, I see what food is available, I assess what’s good for my system, and I choose it. No mental chatter. No second-guessing. No criticizing. No worrying about what others choose to eat. No judging what others choose to eat.
But as I said, making decisions for my body is a relatively new thing. I’m still wearing my training wheels with it. And, there was a bit of lingering judgment within me that I regularly eat animal protein. The woman’s judgment merely triggered some inner lingering self-judgment.
So how do you heal judgment, whether it is your own or another’s? Forgiveness.
I needed to forgive myself for judging what my body needs. I invited and permitted forgiveness. For a week I focused on it, and it worked. I can’t control what my body needs to be strong and healthy. I can control how I respond to that.
As for the person who judged me? That’s her issue – not mine. The real issue was forgiveness within. Once that was done, the issue was done.
My responsibility is giving myself permission to forgive within when needed. Because ultimately, how we digest food is how we digest life. I chose to digest it without judgment and with a healthy serving of forgiveness as needed.
Molly Hamill, MA, is a certified life coach, Kundalini yogini and mediation enthusiast. She works with people around the country helping them lose their stress and feel their best. After recovering from her own health journey (Hashimoto's Hypothyroiditis, Adrenal Fatigue, and Leaky Gut), she is especially passionate about helping others establish mindsets and habits that support their health and happiness. For more information about Molly, get her weekly emails (sign up in green bar below), follow her on her Instagram and Facebook page, or chat with her in her private Facebook group, where she posts daily to help keep you connected with truth, dreams and desires. Prior to breaking free of the 9-5 life, she was an award-winning human resources executive for a national healthcare company.