Judgment is something that has been part of our life since we were very little.

When we think back to our earliest memories we were clueless of how we looked, dressed, or were perceived. It wasn’t even possible for us to hold that idea in our minds. 

At some point, that began to change. It may have started with hearing a caregiver tell you to be quiet because you were singing off key, or a kid at school teasing you about your favorite sweater with the dog on it, or maybe you were told that you needed to become a writer because you weren’t good at math. 

Whatever your experience was, it made a lasting impact. You stopped living as your true self because you wanted to fit in, be included, feel part of the group. Anything that made you stand out threatened your ability to be like the others. You played it safe. 

Over time that little voice in your mind said, “Shhhh, you’re singing too loudly. Don’t wear that, you’ll get teased. You’re not smart enough to do that.”

You began to live with that voice of judgment being your inner authority.

Most of us can see the voice of judgment in our lives, but we often miss how it shifts to include our partner. 

If we’re not careful, those same voices show up, and we project them onto others. We want our partner to play it safe so they (and we) won’t be excluded. We start to critique the way they behave in public, sing off key in front of others, or wear that same plain style that they’ve worn for years. 

The things that made your partner special when you first met are now the things you want to rein in. It’s very clear to see how damaging this can be to a relationship. 

Where do you start to shift it? 

Within you. Start hearing what the mean girl inside your head is saying. Once you identify what you’re hearing, give yourself permission to consider that it isn’t true. What if that voice wasn’t driving the car? What would be possible for you if you viewed yourself through another lens? There is also within you a deeper, wiser voice. When your mean voice says you can’t do it, this wiser voice says, “But what if you can.” 

The practice is to notice when the inner critic is driving the car and simply tell it to hop in the back seat because the inner wisdom is taking over now. The more you practice this within yourself, the less concerned you will be of the perception of others. 

You will also be able to use this practice when you hear yourself criticizing your partner. Follow the same steps. 

One last step in this process is to praise yourself and your partner. Your inner critic has been loud for so long that you’ve become a professional at pointing out all the things you don’t like about yourself and your partner. Part of this shift includes identifying and speaking out loud the things you appreciate. 

Expressed appreciation can mend a relationship. Let it start with yours. 

Until next time,
Tonya Marie

P.S. Grab the free journal prompts that accompany this “Rekindling the Flame: 30 Days to a Stronger Relationship” blog series at the link below.