Highly compassionate or highly judgmental.
These are two easy "settings" that a highly sensitive persons brain can slip into.
One causes a lot of pain and distance inside ourselves and in our relationships.
The other creates a deep sense of empowerment and pride in ourselves, and opens us back up to love, connection, and supportiveness in our relationships.
Judgment comes in like this:
We see our partner paying the bills late, or impatiently saying “stop that!” too loudly at the kids, or arriving 15 minute late to everything...and we think: He shouldn't be that way. He should do it differently…
And so we simmer in annoyance. We explode with indignation. Or we implode with resentment.
It feels like a wall (or a war) between us and the man we love. Between who we think he should be and who he is.
An example from my life: my brain slipped into thinking my husband should be more assertive with his mother. The way I would be. He should stick to making the specific request of her he said he would, my brain told me. But, once on the phone, he did not make the request, just hinted at it.
What a pushover, said my brain.
It felt irritating. Infuriating.
And discombobulating, too. Because I don't want to not like him and the things he does. I WANT to love him. I want to understand him. I want to feel kind feelings when I think of him or am around him.
But, in that moment, I was in Judgmentville-- bewitched into believing that the only way I'd feel good about him is for him to do what I think he “should” do.
Whenever you find yourself thinking your partner “should” be some way that he isn’t, that is your brain falling into Judgmentville. It’s never a fun place to be.
Because judgment puts us out of presence with this other person, out of our hearts, and really deep into our own heads. It never ever leaves us feeling close or connected. And deep down, we don’t want to judge him.
Judging him actually feeds even more judgment-- of the most toxic sort: judgment of our own self.
So now we are not only thinking our partner should not be the way they are, we are thinking WE should be different than we are, too. We think we are not being good partners, we are not being the person we want to be in this relationship. We are not loving like we want to.
Ugh. Moan. Boil and brood. Bellyache, heartache, grumble and groooan.
For sensitive hearts like ours, judgment feeds on itself. Judgment hurts.
Luckily, there is a powerful remedy. And it, too, is natural to you. It is your superpower--it may just need some cultivating. Because —under the judgment—you are by nature deeply compassionate and conscientious.
Even if, like many of us sensitive people, you go to Judgmentville often, you can easily find your way back into a much more powerful love-inducing state. It’s actually not a very big leap back into the warm-hearted Land of Compassion.
Going there puts us into the present, which is the only place connection can happen. Since we love connection so much, compassion is such a good space to be in.
Compassion feels empowering to us. It is part of our nature as sensitives, part of our strength. When we are in it we feel RIGHT. We feel at home.
(Well, if we’ve lived in Judgmentville a lot, moving to Compassion Land feels a bit foreign, a bit awkward at first, but it quickly becomes the best place we’ve ever lived.)
When I find myself having slipped out of compassion and into judgement, I steer myself back as soon as I notice (this is NOT always instantaneous! Judgmentville can be engrossing!).
One way I do this is by looking at my husband and telling myself something like:
“This is a human who is confused or struggling in some way.”
“I can't truly know what he is going through or why he does things the way he does.”
“This is a man who is doing the best he can at this moment.”
“This is a man who just wants to feel accepted and loved. Like we all do.”
When I turn my focus towards these truths about him, I fall straight back into Compassion. The warmth that comes with it allows me to feel like his ally, instead of his enemy (even if I don't fully understand him in the moment.) Compassion opens my heart to him, and TO MYSELF.
Suddenly I feel good about myself, proud of who I am being. And that is a HUGE stepping stone back to love, ease, and affection.
Do I have to LIKE the thing I was just judging him for? NO.
Can I use my brain's innate compassion-setting to lead me back to love? Absolutely. And so can you. You were born for it.
P.S. Here are 3 ways you can learn to make Compassion Land your brain's go-to setting, if it isn't stronger than your judgment-setting quite yet:
1) Read my recent post Here's The Way Back To Feeling Love When You've Lost It
2) Watch the video "An Antidote To Feeling Negative Towards Your Partner" in our Facebook Group, Better Love For Sensitive Women (new name!), where I share a specific process for you to develop more compassion. Find it 3 or 4 deep under the videos tab. (Yes, you need to be a member to access. It's free and a fun supportive place to be. Join here) 3) My clients and I coach deeply on being good compassionate friends to themselves, because so often they aren't. We work deeply until they know how to drop the judgement and be there for themselves fully. Then it's easy to do the same for their partner and show up in a way they feel incredibly good about in their marriages. This is when they start to see their partner responding way more lovingly in return, too.
If you're ready to do the same, come coach with me. We start with a free chat to find out exactly what this will mean for you. Grab a spot here, and we'll take it together from there.