It’s easy to fall in love, isn’t it? You meet someone with whom you experience wild chemistry. You can’t get enough of him. He can’t get enough of you. It doesn’t matter what you do, you just want to be together.
And then something happens to change that. Instead of pushing everything aside to be together, you start to make time for your lover in between your job and your life. Instead of being happy doing anything, you want to do what you want to do. Instead of not needing anything to let the love flow, all of a sudden you need for all sorts of things to be “right” or your way first. What sort of things? Here are some examples:
- I don’t want to go to a ball game. Why can’t we just stay here?
- I can’t be in a good mood if you leave the toilet seat up.
- If you want to talk to your mother one more time today, I am going to have to leave.
- If you don’t read my mind and know what I need, you must not be my soul mate.
- Staying home to sleep is just an excuse to be away from me.
- If your idea of cleanliness doesn’t match mine, we are not a match.
What really happened? Judgment happened.
Someone once asked me, “Can you be happy with anybody?” I replied, “Yes.” I said that because we all have love within us. When we are in that state of love, it just flows. We get caught up in it. The other person gets caught up in it, and as long as we stay there, harmony happens. When we start to get what some call “realistic” judgment starts to happen.
When we start to feel you didn’t show love the way I like to feel it or this is not how it’s supposed to be, we can get judgmental about that. Sometimes we keep that to ourselves and let it slowly eat away at us inside. Sometimes it comes out of our mouths as criticism or blame. That erodes love quickly because just as love is contagious, so is distain.
Or maybe it’s about fear. When we feel so good, we can begin to fear that it won’t last or maybe we don’t deserve it. Those judgments drive love away as well. Love thrives in the absence of judgment. It doesn’t matter if it’s judgment about the other person, ourselves, society, or the weather. Judgment separates us from our center. Love lies in that center.
We all have judgments. If you want to reduce them, catch yourself. Notice what it is that you feel judgmental about. Challenge your thoughts. Correct yourself with at least neutral observations, if not loving ones. Send loving thoughts to the people, places, and things that you have found wanting in some way. Send love to yourself for feeling separated.
Another thing you can do is to make lists. Divide a piece of paper into two columns. Write a subject at the top. It could be people, places, things, or ideas. One one side write all the things you love about that subject. Then write all the things you don’t love. Challenge yourself to get to a place of acceptance with it. Don’t just make it a reasonable argument. Make it a heartfelt one.
For example, I might choose “prostitution” as my subject. It might be really hard to come up with things you love about it – especially if you have some personal negative experience with it. For most people, I imagine it would be a lot easier to come up with things that you don’t love about it. Challenge yourself to come up with ways to get to a place of acceptance and nonjudgment. Perhaps I might say that it affords some people a way to make a living. Perhaps it is a way or some people to receive companionship. I could reason that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute and that the temple “prostitutes” of pagan religions are only “bad” when seen though the modern, western lens.
When you get enough courage, be sure to do this with the things in your life that you find shameful. I’m talking about the things that were done to you, the things you did, your body, your thoughts, and the things that you find shameful by association (like your father is an alcoholic or your family was ignorant and poor). For most people, these are the hardest judgments to release and the biggest barriers to love.
Seeing “bad” things through a nonjudgmental lens doesn’t mean that you can go out and indulge in murder and mayhem. It just means that you aren’t allowing anything to remove you from a state of love. You are choosing to let love flow to you and from you regardless of what goes on inside and outside of you.
This also doesn’t mean that you have to have a relationship with any old body. You can still have your preferences. If you like blue eyes and dark hair, you can hold out for that. If you will only accept someone who has never been married, has no children, makes $X, is a Taurus, drives a Corvette, loves ice cream, and comes from Corsica, you can have that. The more conditions you have, the longer you may wait until it comes along. You may also pass up some very wonderful opportunities by being so committed to your vision of what love looks like.
I’ve had people ask me if being nonjudgmental will make them become a self-indulgent hedonist. I haven’t seen that happen yet. Love respects all life. The more connected you are, the more sensitive you become to the effect of your actions. So you don’t tend to do things that are not in harmony with your loving nature.
Practice releasing your judgments. Your motivation doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you are doing it to get love. It doesn’t matter if you are doing it to avoid pain. The more you can live in a state of nonjudgment, the more love you will experience because you are teaching yourself to see love and connection in everything.