Judgment, decisions, tolerance and acceptance. These are 4 ways we tend to “filter” our experience when it comes to our relationships. In some ways, they’re helpful. They can help us feel as though we’re in control, and that we can protect ourselves from being disappointed by other people.
But they can also put massive limitations around the possibilities in our own life and relationships. They’re all ways of closing down potential.
We all have assumptions about those closest to us which come out in our behaviour and verbally towards each other – as you’ll hear in many conversations. If you ever find yourself having the “same old argument” with a family member, you’ll know what I mean.
In our oldest relationships – like those with our siblings, parents, or partners – these assumptions and filters can be especially visible. We’ve had years to reinforce our ideas of who these people are, and it can be really hard to shake them off.
Today I want to explore some of the most common traps when it comes to limiting our experience of our relationships – and share a simple way you can begin to release those assumptions and look at your loved ones with fresh eyes.
How we block ourselves from connecting
Often, judgment starts with ourselves. If you think you’re the only one with a strong inner critic, you will be amazed how many others judge ourselves to be wrong much of the time, because we hide it so well.
- We judge our body and our talents for not being enough, and if someone else rejects us we make ourselves wrong, rather than acknowledging that it’s just their point of view.
- Our sensuality feels like wrongness,
- Even our joy sometimes feels wrong – as if we are supposed to be as sad as everyone else.
We lock definitions of ourselves into our body that we are too young, too old, too stupid, too pink, too blue, too different… but it’s all programming.
When we judge ourselves we inevitably begin to judge others.
Judgments and limitations stop us seeing the real person in front of us and create barriers between us; they are solid and unmoving.
We can’t receive goodness and kindness when we create these barriers. The more you eliminate barriers, the more information falls into your consciousness, and awareness of everything increases, which makes life so much more interesting and exciting.
Think about a person close to you – someone who you sometimes feel “triggered” around. What are your judgments of them? In a private journal you know they won’t see, try listing out all of your judgments of them. What do you learn? How are these judgments impacting the way you approach your interactions?
The word decision comes from the Latin word decidere which means ‘to cut out any other possibility.’ So that means every time you make a decision, you close off from your awareness anything that does not match that decision.
- So you may decide that someone’s perfect for you… and fail to notice that they do not tell the truth or that they are cheating you.
- Or on the other hand, you may decide someone is wrong for you in order to fit into your family’s idea of who you should be with… and fail to notice all the things that are right.
Your unconscious mind will work very hard to prove to you that your thoughts are correct! So it’s time to wake up and become more conscious in your relationships.
Instead of deciding who someone is, can you try to experience them as if for the first time? Get curious about who they are, as though you were meeting a stranger. You might be surprised to find you have a very different impression of them than the one you decided was true all those years ago!
Tolerance and Acceptance
To tolerate someone’s behaviour might feel like a reasonable thing to do. But it comes from a judgmental place – and when you think about it, has an element of superiority about it – as if you are better than them.
It’s seeing the “wrongness” of someone and despite that, agreeing to put up with it.
Similarly, acceptance is a begrudging awareness of someone and who they are. Neither of these have any heart in them.
Who in your life are you “tolerating” or “accepting” – whilst still believing that you are morally superior to them? What would it be like if you stopped labelling your relationship in those terms?
What’s the alternative?
So what can you do to turn this round? Are you willing to take a risk of being open to creating something far more dynamic, where you can choose with far greater awareness?
We often hold on so tightly to our own beliefs and “stuff” that there is no room for anything else. But we get weak if we avoid taking risks – becoming stuck in “ruts” of how we think and interact with each other – and we lose energy.
Trusting someone is a risk and there may be some disappointment.
But I’d like to gently invite you to consider that you don’t have to give so much importance to disappointment.
The fact that you are alive and reading this means that you are far stronger than you think – and that you can support your mistakes in life. If your greatest fear is that you’ll be disappointed in someone, are you willing to explore what other possibilities there might be?
Personally, I think it’s far better to have 1000 disappointments than not take enough risks.
So when would now be a good time to let go of all these limitations and jump out?
Change the questions you ask
Start by asking yourself more powerful questions. The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of the questions you ask yourself.
- Instead of thinking “Why is mum always so critical?” you could ask yourself “What would help me to feel more resilient if mum makes a hurtful comment?”
- Or “What has to happen for me to really enjoy spending time with my sister?”
When you ask questions such as “What has to happen to…?” “Who do I need to become in order to change …?” your life will expand.
Living in the question is the only way to break free and allows the expression of who you really are and who the other person is.
In turn this creates depth, harmony, excitement, newness, a sense of wonder and awe.
Other powerful questions to play with include…
- “Where do I need to focus my attention right now?”
- “How can I honor and nurture my body today?
- “What does my body need right now?”
Start looking for the greatness rather than the limitations in yourself and others.
Often we try and stay invisible and not let others see how amazing we are… and then of course they do the same.
Take the lid off the box and let yourself out. Give up the sadness and embody the joy.
Dare to let go of all the things you’ve pretended to be – it’s such a relief. Start seeing yourself as the unlimited being you truly are and claim and own your knowing.
SO if you take away judgment and decision, what is left?
There is choice. You can choose moment by moment how you want to live and love.
Be at choice instead of decision.
Be in allowance instead of tolerance and acceptance.
Be in awareness rather than judgment. It will change your life.
Fashion Designer | Grandmother | Dancer
One of many master coach and trainer Susie Heath is an expert in love and intimacy and an internationally acclaimed author and speaker. She has been a buyer for Marks and Spencer, a shoe designer, a horticulturist featured at the Chelsea Flower Show and more.
Now, as a coach and trainer she has has worked personally with hundreds of men and women, helping them reawaken their authentic selves with her profound coaching and movement workshops.