by Diana Daffner, M.A.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them. ~ Mother Theresa
Even in a great relationship, we sometimes focus on what’s wrong with our partner, rather than taking time to celebrate the love we share. Among the thousands of thoughts that pass through our minds each day, there are those that cause us to momentarily forget our positive feelings, to temporarily engage in negative criticisms and judgments. Most of us have these fleeting-or not so fleeting-thoughts. In fact, they are usually the same ones over and over. “She’s so disorganized.” “He’s late again.” “Can’t do anything right.” In our minds, and sometimes out loud, we judge and belittle our partner for being who they are.
In any moment we are criticizing our partner, we are not experiencing love or benefiting from love’s grace. Each negative thought takes precious time and energy that could otherwise be enjoyed in love.
Perhaps, just as “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” our criticisms say more about us than about the person who is the object of our complaint. Could we indeed be projecting our own inadequacies, fears, discomforts and standards onto our partner? Could the “flaws” we perceive in his or her personality actually be mirrors that show us hidden parts of our own self?
Is it also possible that these differences or “flaws” that catch our attention are part of what attracted us in the first place? Maybe now you think she talks too much, but when you first met, did you adore her lively personality? And maybe you think he doesn’t take things seriously enough, but was it his carefree approach to life that won you over in the first place?
We can learn to acknowledge and take back responsibility for any “should’ing” we do on our partners. (She shouldn’t talk so much. He should be more organized.) There are many tools and techniques, practices and processes for soul searching and self-examination. When I do that, when I invest the time to bring myself back to an awakened consciousness, I always rediscover love. When I take the time to uncover the personal projection that my judgment is based on, I eventually reach the conclusion that my husband is perfect, just as he is. I realize that he is, as I am, an exquisitely unique manifestation of divine energy. I remember that he is not only my Beloved but also the most perfect self he can be. He is himself. He is perfect.
So whenever a judgmental thought about my husband pops up, I now use it as a reminder of how wonderful and perfect he is. I smile and quickly tell him, “You’re perfect.” The thought alone, and even more so, saying it to him aloud, allows me to once again hear my heart’s ongoing song of love.
My husband, instead of feeling attacked and needing to defend himself, inevitably responds to me with his own smile. Our hearts are joined. Any feedback or request, if it still feels important to make, can then be communicated and heard within the space of our love.
Similarly, when a judgmental thought about my own personal imperfection arises, I immediately use it as a reminder to tell myself, “I’m amazing!” Rather than having to navigate through all the negative rumbling to finally arrive at my real truth, this short affirmation jumps me there instantly. Why waste time dumping on myself when, in the end, I know I will arrive at the conclusion that “I am amazing!” I chose instead to shift immediately to the felt sense of love that already exists within me.
I can also forestall any bemoaning of our failings as a couple. “We’re a great team.” We’re doing the best we can. That’s our truth.
Of course, sometimes I forget to jump to the conclusion of love and instead spend time in judgment. But as I remember more and more often, my Beloved is thrilled, our relationship is nourished, and love shouts across the sky.
To use this jumping-to-conclusion approach, test out different words, sense what phrases work best for you in acknowledging your partner, yourself and your relationship. How would you describe your Beloved in his or her ultimate entirety? Perfect? Amazing? Fabulous? Try them each out. You’re perfect. You’re amazing. You’re fabulous!
Diana Daffner, with her husband Richard, leads вЂњIntimacy RetreatsвЂќ for couples and provides coaching in sexual intimacy as a spiritual path. The Daffners are the authors ofВ Tantric Sex for Busy Couples: How to Deepen Your Passion in Just Ten Minutes a Day. They originated the Tantra Tai Chiв„ў program, a partnered movement practice to enhance intimacy in body, heart and soul. For a schedule of workshops, visit www.IntimacyRetreats.com or call 1-877-282-4244 (tollfree).