There was a scientific study conducted by an American university where they set up a house with high-tech video cameras that were able to detect subtle facial expressions that the human eye cannot see. The scientists set the video cameras specifically to detect the subtle facial expressions that indicated judgement.
Couples were invited to stay for a romantic weekend, for free, with one catch; they would be recorded and the footage reviewed by scientists as a part of their study. Many couples decided to partake in the experience and the study was a huge success. By the end of the study the scientists were able to accurately predict the length of each relationship, which was observed, based upon the amount of judgement that was detected.
This study shows that the underlying cause of all failed relationships is the judgement that we project onto one another. It is good to know the cause of failed relationships however in order to change the way in which we relate, we need to fully understand the cause; we need to understand what judgement really is.
Let’s make the distinction between judgement and discernment. Judgement is not inherently negative, however we will use it in its negative context e.g. to judge another harshly. There is a difference between judgement and discernment. The definition of discernment is ‘the ability to judge well’. We want to be discerning because we want to make informed decisions that have a positive impact on ourself, another and all of life. We do not want to judge another for the sake of judging them, as no positive impact comes from this kind of relating.
Initially I thought that, based upon this study, the opposite of judgement must be love; however this is not the case. Love is the foundation of all human experience and therefore cannot be opposed. The opposite of judgement is gratitude… love has no opposite.
Judgement is the disconnected expression of love within relationship. It is founded upon protecting ourself (showing ourself love) by keeping away that which we do not want in our life. Gratitude is the connected expression of love within relationship. It is founded upon sharing our love with another.
We do not need to destroy anything (i.e. our judgemental self) in order to stop practicing judgement. We simply need to crowd out this behaviour with its opposite. There is no need to berate ourself for practicing judgement, we can simply practice gratitude each time we become conscious and this will eventually crowd out our judgements. In fact berating ourself is actually practising even more judgement. Therefore we must be gentle with ourself in order to practice gratitude.
In order to experience a truly loving, long term relationship we simply need to focus on practising gratitude towards those whom we love. Even if it is only a small amount initially; it will be noticed and it will be appreciated regardless of who we are in relationship with.
When we practice gratitude towards another we are in positive relationship. It is the amount of gratitude that we share which determines how positive and loving our relationships are. We have always been the one who has determined our experience of our relationships; no other has ever had control over our experience.
When we can change the way in which we relate to ourself and another we change our life.