Much of the struggle we encounter in our relationships is due to feeling powerless. We somehow feel inadequate, unworthy, unlovable or incapable of getting everything we need to make ourselves happy and fulfilled. As a result of this chronic pain of inadequacy that exist in the background as we go about our lives, we are unknowingly driven to find ways to divert our attention from the pain. One way we do is by judging our partners and finding greater fault with their lives than with our own. This allows us a temporary reprieve from the less pleasant habit of judging ourselves.
By judging our partners as wrong, flawed, or defective, we get to feel superior to them. As long as our focus is on their flaws, we have less time to bother with our own. Ironically, we are only able to see in our partners those faults we also possess ourselves. When judging them, we forgo the ability to move our own lives in a forward direction with deliberate intention.
One of the challenges we face when we judge them is we come from an egotistical perspective that is aware only of how we would act differently based upon our prior experiences and what we consider to be our superior wisdom. We completely discount how their experiences and perceptions may have resulted in their saying or doing something so much in conflict with how we would have acted. Because we are not fully aware of their history, painful childhood decisions about their own imperfections, and to the ways they have decided it is necessary to act in order to survive in the world, we have no ability to put ourselves into their world and therefor better understand the reasons why they act as they do.
By judging our partners, we forfeit the empathy required to see the situation from their perspective. We do it because it feels good. Judging gives us the sensation of knowing more than they do and of being wiser and better. It provides us with a false sense of power and as a result allows us to temporarily forget about our own inadequacies and struggles.
By Judging them, we distance ourselves from the qualities we loathe about our partners. While doing so, we lose sight of the fact that we too possess those qualities. If we did not, we would not be drawn to recognise them with such a degree of anger, sadness, or fear. When we judge them of being arrogant, our own arrogance increases. When we see our partners as ignorant, we ignore our own ignorance being manifest. We get swept away in the lie that only they are capable of possessing such undesirable traits to such a great degree. By doing so, we dominate the in our minds and tell ourselves that we are wiser, more evolved, more powerful than they are.
The problem with this perspective is that it keeps us separate from them and damages our relationship. When we judge our partner, we relinquish our ability to learn from their experience. As long as we refuse to see in ourselves the same qualities that we detest in them, we will attract those qualities into our lives. Our attitudes have us put forth an energy that brings these traits to our awareness. The more we can’t stand when are partner is controlling, the more they show up that way. When we have no room for stupidity, we find ourselves frustrated by a partner we hold as clueless. To the extent that we can’t make room for their humanity to show, we become obligated to suffer through our own shortcomings and emotional reactions.
By judging, we forfeit our ability to connect with our partner. We sacrifice intimacy and mutuality by placing ourselves on a higher level than them. As a result, our relationship and ability to influence a partner who we hold as flawed suffers further. We give up our ability to understand how we might impact them to see or do things differently. Because we trade this authentic personal power for the false sense that we are more powerful than they are by virtue of being better than they are, we become less and less likely to influence them to act differently as time goes on. So, the chasm between you and your partner will likely grow wider. When this happens, you will lose personal power rather than gain it.
The more you judge, the greater the pain you feel in your life. To distract you from this pain, you will then condemn your partner even more. You may want desperately to connect on a deeper, more intimate level with them but your superior attitude and destructive actions make such a connection impossible. A vicious circle of increasing pain, isolation, unhappiness, and ineffectiveness is thus created. This cost you your happiness, your physical and mental health ( all illness are an outward manifestation of our internal state), the quality of your relationship and your ability to impact your relationship for the better.
One of the biggest challenges that couples experience in relationships is that they operate from a belief that they can successfully change who their partners are as people and how they routinely behave. During the early stages of a relationship, the partners often ignore each other’s faults and idiosyncrasies while believing that in time they can successfully get a partner to change. Rather than come to terms with what underlying issues are that bother them, they step over these troubling matters, rationalising that they can simply later find a way to get a partner to change in a way that better honours their values and coincides more closely with their rules.
This insistence on altering the other person is often sourced in a desire to dominate them, control situations, and avoid being controlled themselves. Much of the suffering and struggle that accompanies most relationships is because of each person’s addiction to be right. All too often, each individual will sacrifice happiness, peace of mind, relationship harmony, and the potential for a lasting and rewarding union simply because of the need to dominate and have their way.This need to control situations and force the other person to comply with the dominant partner will surely result in tension, unending arguments, and damage to the relationship.
Of course, that we resist will continue to persist. So, the more we focus upon our “right” to get our partners to change, the more likely they will be oppose what we desire. Their own overwhelming need to be right and to avoid domination will certainly result in their opposition and insistence that it be the other person who is supposed to do the changing. As a result, an impasse is likely that can severely damage the relationship.
So, how do we get what we want and need from a relationship that is not providing us with our expectations? The answer is simple..
Create space for the other person to be who they are and they will show up magnificently in that space. It really is all about non-attachment. When we are attached to the other person being a certain way in order to please us, we provide them with little room to be human, make mistakes, express their own unique personality, and grow into a loving and rewarding relationship with an equally unique and often times obstinate individual. When we instead decide to allow them to be exactly who they are, blemishes and all, we now can take responsibility for empowering them and the relationship.
Creating space for the other person requires an unending commitment to suspend judgement about the many things they do that bother us. When we operate from a decision to give up our right to judge a person, we empower the relationship. This is particularly difficult for those opinionated individuals who represent the vast majority of people comprising the human race. However, when both people in a relationship decide to practice being more committed to championing the relationship and the other person than getting their way, being right, and dominating the other, the relationship will survive and thrive. All it takes to be effective in managing this commitment is the ability to recognise when you are not and, in that moment, instantly return yourself to a commitment to honouring the other person by creating the space for them to show up Magnificently in that moment.
This requires a willingness to make other person great… especially in those instances where we tend to be prone to finding fault and resisting their will to act in their own way. This might look like complimenting the other person while finding something good about them. It might mean saying something that would diffuse any potentially volatile situation by edifying them. We typically tend to find the flaw in others rather and catch them doing something right that we can acknowledge them for. When we instead operate from a commitment to champion the other person, we will enhance our personal effectiveness and charisma and at the same time be more likely to get our needs met. Ironically, the more we forgo our right to make others change to meet our standards, the more likely they are to want to pursue behaviours that will please us.
Giving up your right to change your partner requires managing your reactive nature. Most couples destroy the harmony of the their relationship when they react with anger to what the other person say or does. They take things personally or lack the insight required to understand what it may be like in the other person’s world. By failing to understand the motivation that drives the other person’s words or actions, the partner may become irritated, offended, or otherwise upset that their actions are not consistent with the way they would act.
Clearly, empathy is the key to generating harmony. By having an appreciation for what it’s like in a person’s world their perspective regarding a particular situation, and the rationale behind why they did what they did, the other partner can better understand their motivation and the source of their actions. this does not mean that they must condone bad behaviour or misdirected actions. But it does mean they need not be at the effect of it and react in a way that dishonour the other person or wreaks havoc to the relationship.
Everyone wants their relationship to be in “A Happy Place” but in reality, it will not happen if we continue to judge and criticise our partner. When you continue to support your partner, you will bring out magnificence in them.
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