We will start this week with a story…
A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbours exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbours shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the mares and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The villagers cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
If you haven’t already guessed the moral of this story is that no event or moment should ever be truly judged as good or bad, black or white. When the moment happens you might not be seeing the full picture and that is especially true with BPD. You might have lashed out at someone or removed someone from your life in the spur of the moment. But just maybe that person was toxic and you couldn’t see it because they were your FP (Favorite-Person).
When we talk about living a judgment-free life we are not talking about living the life of a Zen Buddhist, all you have to do is to learn to be less judgmental about your mind and emotions (yes, this is yet another deep talk this week). Much like the farmer in our story, he doesn’t know the full story, the reason for everything, so he just notices everything and doesn’t pass judgment on it. So how are you supposed to not pass judgement on your own emotions?
Having BPD will make you a highly sensitive person with highs and lows of emotions that are ever-changing. But if we look at this BPD symptom through the farmer’s eyes from the story we might see that being highly sensitive has some benefits! They can facilitate deep insightfulness into each emotion and even enrich the sensory experiences of life! This is your maybe and you really need to hang onto it.
I’m not going to pretend that embodying this method throughout your life isn’t going to be a challenge because it really is especially when you have BPD. But when you start to learn your own trigger points you can start to gain control over these strong emotions. The only thing that is making our emotions good or bad, all or nothing is how we judge it to be so. The key is to catch them before things start to spiral out of control. This conversion is making me sad so I will stop having it, or this line of thinking is making me feel depressed, so I will make myself think about something else. This is the art of noticing the emotion and moving on from it.
This Week’s Homework: This weeks homework might be the easiest yet. All I want you to do is boil a kettle of water. Many of you will be making a cup of tea or coffee anyway, but instead of running around the house doing things while it boils, I want you to sit quietly and listen intently to the water bubble away. What sounds does it make, what does the steam look like? Can you see any shapes inside of it? Just do this to the point that the switch clicks or the beeps sound then enjoy your drink. Sip slowly and be mindful of the taste of it and the temperature. Also, take note of any subtle effect it has on your body.