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Judge and Compare November 11, 2008

Posted by downton in Judge and Compare.
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Judge and Compare

      Imagine starting every day carrying two paper bags. On one is written, “good” and on the other, “bad.” These are for carrying the judgments you make everyday about what is “good” and “bad.” Most people don’t realize how many of these judgments they make everyday. The weight of them would sink a good sized ship. Most people also don’t realize how on a typical day, the “bad” judgment bag is likely to be much fuller than the “good” judgment bag. The reason for this is that humans tend to notice what’s not working more quickly than they notice what is working just fine.

     It’s no wonder that people end some days tense and discouraged. They’ve just spent much of the day judging things to be “bad.” Why do we make judgments of “good” and “bad” as a daily habit? Our minds love to discriminate between things, like “good day” and “bad day”, “good idea” and “bad idea”, “good report” and “bad report”, looking “good” and looking “bad.” I’d better stop here because this list could fill several pages. There’s no stopping us.

     Judgment is part of what we are all about. And it’s not just judgment. It’s comparison. For example, when we tell the story that we’re not good looking or beautiful, we can make a long list of people who are. One reason we’re so mesmerized by rock and movie stars is that we get to envy them for having the good looks and beauty that we believe nature failed to bestow on us. If our nose to too big or we have a bit of a hump on it, we quickly remember that woman or man with the perfect nose. So, judgment and comparison team up to make a mess of life, kind of like the Laurel and Hardy comedy team of years ago, who couldn’t get anything right. Unfortunately, most people’s judgments and comparisons don’t make them laugh like we can at the antics of Laurel and Hardy.

     “Why aren’t you like?” is something we think when we’re making comparisons. It arises out of the discontent with our looks. I once coached a beautiful, knock out kind of woman. You’d think she’d be happy that she was that beautiful, but you know what she did? She hated her feet because she said they were too long and skinny. She wouldn’t take her shoes off in public. Can you imagine that? She envied people who had short, plump feet. The mind can be a torture chamber that messes us up big time.

     “Why aren’t you like me?” is another question we ask that can make us unhappy with our mates. We’re going to dig into this later, but it’s relevant here too. If you think about comparing your mate to yourself or others, it’s both a judgment—“You’re inadequate”—and a comparison—“there’s someone I know who has what I wish you had” (like a great body, an outgoing personality, and a sense of humor.) If you find yourself making these judgments and comparisons about your mate, you’ll be undermining love. Do you know why?

     It’s because people don’t like being put down while you’re elevating yourself or someone else to a higher plane. Do you like it? Of course not! So, spend a few minutes thinking about how you screw up love by belittling your mate in speech or thought while comparing him or her to a role model, including you, who has the virtues you want your mate to have.

     Now, you might be wondering why I say “belittling your mate in speech and thought.” There’s little doubt that while telling a person they fall short of your ideal will mess up love, thinking it without speaking it will still do some damage. It will work in the background of your mind and, without warning, it can erupt into mean and cutting remarks.

     This is the first way people can screw up love! If this is an issue for you, identify one thing you’re going to stop doing and one thing you’re going to start doing.

Coaching Tips

■ Notice the negative judgments you have of your mate and how they make you discontented. Focus on your mate’s good qualities and see what happens. Keep a balanced perspective.

■ Watch how quickly you fall into comparisons when you think about your mate. How often do you make your mate fall short of your ideals. Put a stop to the comparison and see what happens!

 

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