In order for you to fully understand why this little ditty of information hit me like a ton of bricks, you'll have to read a little background about myself.
Moving on to my "adult" years. I would like to say with a sense of surety that these years lessened my endeavor to find The One.... but that didn't happen. Man did I date some doozies and put up with some bullshit (as did they I imagine). It was around my early 20's that I had my first real adult relationship. We met, he asked me out, we dated, then he moved in to my subsidized apartment with strict guidelines on who could (me) and who couldn't (anyone else) live there. Did I mention he had two little girls that often stayed with us too? I thought life was great. We did a lot of things together, talked a lot, rarely fought and then one day I learned that he had been cheating on me with someone. That's a blow to the ego that hits below the belt. What a sickening feeling to feel duped.. and stupid.. and gross and, "How could I have not seen this coming?"... but it did.. he moved out and that was that. I moved to Alaska and met and dated a few people. One was super jealous. One was too needy and the list goes on. Then I met the creme de le creme... of psychopathic cheating assholes. I won't even get into this story because you would think you were reading the script for a Maury Povich show. It was that.bad. Seriously. Yet again, I had been duped in the worst way. This time it was beyond my imagination why a person would do that to another person. I felt gross, dumb, naive, and the adjective list could go on... That is pretty much where this background story ends. I've been relatively single for seven years and I am no longer writing names inside hearts.
Why? Well, I finally get it! I finally understand why I'm single and a lot of people are single. It isn't that I am delving deep into my failed relationships of the past, but more looking at what was going wrong (and right) with other people's relationships and realizing my overall problem..... I'm a judger.
Here is how I found this out about myself:
This past year I spent some time with several couples (who will remain nameless). There were so many instances during this time that I would whip my head around to look at the wife as if to ask, "Can you believe your spouse just did that?" and the wife would be sitting there as if their husband didn't just _________ (fill in the blank with the offense). I was dumbfounded. How did they not care? How did they not say to him, "I can't believe you just did that!".... but they didn't. Not once. I'm pretty sure their spouse could have left the house wearing a pink leotard and they wouldn't have cared or blinked an eye, where as I would have been so mortified I wouldn't have left the house with them. Why is that? Why do I base my judgement of others on how others MAY judge me for being with them? I DON'T KNOW!! Better yet, how do I get to that point where I don't care so much?
Why be with someone that you feel you need to change? Is it for your benefit? Yes. Why be with someone who you feel isn't good enough the way they are or who you feel needs to be modified in some way? That is absurd. Is it ok to do a few eye rolls every now and then? Sure. Will there be some head shaking at some point? Of course. If you feel the need to change every aspect of their lives, should you be with them? NOPE!
With each of my failed relationships, myself or the other person wanted to change something about the other person. I'm a nitpicker. I know this about myself and it's something I don't particular like about myself.....but it's a habit/characteristic so very hard to break. It isn't that I think I'm better than you, I just want you to be the best person you can be. For me. Not for you, because you don't date you, I do. I mean, really? Why don't my relationships work with this mindset? I can't imagine.
This goes for any relationships. I've had friendships where I was being judged for the things I did and the words I said, the clothes I wore, the fat I gained, and the people I associated with. This went on for awhile before I realized it. Little side comments made here and there could add up to a Dickens novel and I didn't even think about it at the time. When I did.... sayonara! It isn't that my ego is so massive that criticism can't penetrate the awesomeness that is me, because it can, if done properly. If a friend came to me and said, "Beth, I'm really worried about your heroin and prescription drug use and I want to help." I would be all for it. (I was going to use a beer and/or weight example but it hit too close to home.. so this was an over exaggerated example). If that same friend constantly made snarky side comments about the topic, I'd be less apt to listen, or care about what she is saying.
The friendships that I have sustained throughout the years are those that are 100% mutual. My best friends are my friends because there is nothing one-sided about our friendships. If one of my friends told me I was being selfish or critical in our relationship I would be heart-broken, just as they would be if I told them the same.
So the question is: Is it true that if you are with the right person, those "little" things are inconsequential? Is it because your love for them is unconditional in every way?If you meet someone who is 75% great, but the 25% bugs the living daylights out of you, what do you do? Not ask them to cut their fingernails? Or quit smoking? Or getting obnoxiously drunk? Do you just deal with those things that will drive you to insanity? I don't know, because I quite literally, can't do it. I know it doesn't feel especially great when things are said to me, so why can't I stop? Why can't anyone? How many times have I heard, "But he is so nice!", or "He adores you!".... yet there was always those "things" that made me ignore the equally as important good things. Those little things that irked the shit out of me so much that they inevitably ruined the relationship. I couldn't get them out of my head until they ate away what may have been a good relationships. So for those of you with healthy, nonjudgmental relationships, how do you do it? How do you stop ... for lack of a better word.. caring about the things that drive you bonkers?
So what is my point in this long drawn out blog post? Life is too damn short to have people in it that don't like you for you. It can be tough to rid yourself of those people, but it can be done. Send them an, "I'm sorry for your loss" card and write inside: I'm sorry you lost me as a friend/lover/neighbor/brother because I'm pretty awesome and I'm sorry you didn't see that.
(if I get such a card, I will know you read this...) The other point is, I'm self aware enough to know that some people in my past should send me such a card and I would deserve it. To those people, I am going to try really hard to stop being so judgy (not a word, I know).
I am who I am through a series of life events and personal choices. Am I the best that I can be? Far from it. Do I need you to tell me how to fix me? Nope. If was someone else would I want to be my friend? Hell yes. Would I want to marry me? Duh. Am I going to work really hard on being less judgy and critical? Absolutely, because I do believe that one day I will meet someone who may not be perfect, but will be perfect for me and I won't care if they wear ugly shoes, drive a crap car, work at Papa John's, are missing teeth and still live at home. ..... ..... .... uhhh...ok come on, that is just going too far, right???
The Recovering Judge-a-Holic