In our relationships, we must work to allow our partner to be who they are in this lifetime. We must work towards reducing judgment and refrain from trying to make them the way we wish they were.
In this way, we move towards allowing their sovereignty. Sovereignty is a word used to describe the legitimacy of nation states. Sovereignty can be defined as a self-governing state. However, it is also a wonderful word for understanding what people want in their lives. This is what we all want in our lives; the freedom to be who are.
So much of the challenge of raising children or being in intimate relationships is the ideas we have about them. Reducing judgment of them can bring you closer.
When our child acts out or our partner is triggering us, we can create the story that the loved one in our life is the problem. If only they would change our life would be better.
So we begin to demand that they give up parts of themselves. Not only that, we tell them they have to talk different or prioritize things differently. We can’t seem to understand how it is that they don’t take the things we take as serious. And, we also don’t understand why they take other things so seriously.
In all of this, we are seeing our loved ones as wrong in the best of terms and possibly crazy in the worst. We set them up to fail because we wait for them to do what we have decided is unacceptable.
What gets lost in all of this control and judgment is their sovereignty, to be who they are, to be self-governing person.
Unfortunately for our mental health, this passive aggressive strategy works. We can get our loved ones to submit to our way of doing things. By continually pointing out how they are doing it wrong, we can begin to make them feel as though they are the problem in the relationship. Reducing judgment of them right now though, can steer your relationship away from breaking down later.
In my own life I see how I do this with my wife.
I continually force her to doing things the way I want her to. Subsequently, I don’t listen to her needs because I demand that she say it in a way that feels good to me. As a result, I force her to lose parts of herself in order that I can feel more comfortable.
So what is to be done for reducing judgment and accepting others where they are at today – imperfectly perfect?
There is no doubt that what your partner or child is doing is triggering and uncomfortable. Maybe your partner is really unorganized and isn’t as focused on her finances. Maybe your child is shy and doesn’t have the kind of social ease that you are used to.
I think the first thing that is important is to realize that your discomfort does not mean they are doing something wrong. Feeling triggered is not your partner or child doing something wrong it is you being triggered. We need to own that.
Second, can we start to slow down and see that our loved ones may not have it all wrong. The unorganized partner may be able to really take in the moment and be present with you because she or he isn’t so focused on getting things in order. The shy child may have a rich inner life, filled with fantastical stories, that would blow your mind, if you took the time to listen to them.
As we begin to see the benefits of their ways, we start to find compassion for who they are and what they bring into the world, reducing judgment of them.
In my life, I see how my wife is helping me to work through many of the triggers that I developed as a child. She triggers me by expressing hurt and frustration. I’m feel the deep shame of being a disappointment. Instead of acknowledging her hurt I try to avoid it by pointing out her flaws.
I have been getting better.
Now I’m able to see that her struggle with something I’ve done is not really about my failure as a partner. Rather, she is just hurt and needs comfort and a way towards repairing the hurt. The trigger still comes up but I don’t allow it to run the show. Sometimes, I can acknowledge her hurt, and offer a sincere apology.
I believe that we can all bring more joy into our relationships if we can reduce the amount of control and move towards allowing others to be sovereign individuals.
Wishing You The Day You Need To Have!