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Love, ideally, is unconditional. Unfortunately, however, love is often conditional, for most people. It's dependent upon others measuring up to their standards, satisfying their needs and desires. Conditional love requires criticism and judgment in order to determine whether or not another individual measures up, is good enough.
It's human nature to analyze, criticize, and judge each other, to some degree. We judge and evaluate each other on many different things - ex., physical appearance and attractiveness, personality, intelligence, heart, character, values, beliefs, spirituality, occupation, ambition, success, status, wealth, possessions. Judgment and criticism can, of course, be constructive, and may be very helpful. When they're negative, however, they can be very hurtful, harmful, and destructive.
When criticism and judgment are negative, they can lead to many things that are very detrimental. They can, for example, lead to being deeply hurt, to believing that one is not good enough, in some way, to low self-worth, low self-esteem, to feeling inferior, and to feeling, therefore, that one is not desired or loved enough, and to insecurity, to fear - fear of being hurt again, fear of being rejected, abandoned, and to building walls within oneself to protect oneself from emotional pain, walls that can cause one to feel much less, because they not only wall out the pain, but they may also wall out a lot of the good feelings, and these walls become emotional blocks that can be very difficult to be free of. Self-protective walls also often come between people and cause them to be emotionally disconnected, separated, much less in touch with their feelings and love for each other. Being criticized and judged can not only be very hurtful, create fear and the building of self-protective walls, they can also cause great anger, resentment, hatred, and conflict.
A birth chart will show if criticism and judgment is to be a major weakness and problem in one's life. If, for example, the planet Saturn makes strong, negative aspects to the sun or moon in one's chart, then one would probably have a tendency to be too critical and judgmental, at times, and would probably have a parent who is too critical, judgmental, and demanding of oneself, and a parent who does not meet one's emotional needs, is not positive, encouraging, supportive. Negative criticism and judgments coming from one's parents can, of course, be very harmful because of the importance of one's relationships with them, and because their criticisms and judgments come when one is most sensitive and vulnerable during one's formative years. Severe parental criticism and judgments can amount to verbal abuse, and they can adversely affect one's adult relationships. When, for example, one is hurt by, and feels anger toward one's spouse because of their critical remarks, it may be because they are triggering old hurts and anger in ones' subconscious that were caused by one's parents. One must be careful not to blame one's parents, however, because if one's chart shows critical and judgmental parents, it is probably for karmic reasons. That's because what is in one's chart is there at birth, before one's parents ever said or did anything of a negative nature, and is, therefore, self-created. If there is a karmic reason, it may be because one was too critical and judgmental toward one's children in a past life, and now must learn how wrong that is through seeing how badly it feels.
There are, of course, other sources of hurtful and harmful criticism and judgmental - ex., from one's teachers, boss, spouse, children. And one of the greatest sources is oneself! When we see what's wrong with ourselves, we often strongly criticize and judge ourselves, are too hard on ourselves. When we do this we use great energy and power against ourselves, and this makes it more difficult to be strong, positive, and grow. There is another important source of criticism and judgment, and that is from the fallen angels, the forces of darkness, evil, that powerfully oppose our growth, success, and happiness. The fallen angels come to us, and they project their thoughts into our heads, dark thoughts that are highly judgmental, very harmful, and potentially destructive.
Negative criticism and judgment is much more powerful and potentially destructive because of how long it has been done. It hasn't been for just our present lifetimes. We have been criticized and judged (and have criticized and judged others) for many lifetimes, and a lot of the negative effects (ex., hurt, anger, fear, thinking that we're not good enough) of this is still in our subconscious’s. That's a good reason why we have to do the work of purifying our subconscious’s, as well as our minds, hearts, chakras, and auras
The most important negative effect of criticism and judgment is on our identities, our sense of who we are. Philosophically, the two most important things in life are knowing who we are, and knowing how to become who we are. The great Greek philosopher Socrates said "Know Thyself". Who are we? Since we were made in the "image and likeness of God" (Genesis 1:26), we are God, in Reality, His Sons and Daughters. That is our true identity and potential. We all have Higher Selves, Divine Selves that we are destined to ascend to and become. Yet, all the criticism and judgment that we have received over the eons has caused most of us to see ourselves as very finite, imperfect, sinful, inadequate beings whose nature is human. While it's true that we've sinned when we've not used our free will to do and obey God's Will, we're still in essence divine. Yet, the fallen angels, who powerfully influenced Christianity (and other world religions) from the astral and physical planes, would have us believe the ultimate judgment and lie - that we are miserable sinners and not Sons and Daughters of God, that Jesus is the only Son of God. The truth is that the Universal Christ, not Jesus, is the only Son of God, and that we, like Jesus, have our own individual Holy Christ Selves who are part of the Universal Christ (or Word, Logos). We are meant to do what Jesus and many others have done - to ascend to and become our own Christ Selves.
Rather than criticize and judge each other and ourselves, we need to remember and see the God in others and in ourselves. We need to visualize and hold the Immaculate Concept of divine perfection for others and for ourselves. That is what Jesus and other great Ascended Masters do for us. Doing this helps us to raise each other up so that someday we can realize our divine natures. Criticism and judgment does the opposite - it brings us down to lower and lower levels. Our God Selves cannot be criticized and judged because they are perfect. Remembering to see the Higher, Divine Selves of each other would help us not to criticize and judge each other, and that would greatly improve our relationships, as well as ourselves.
People react to criticism and judgment in different ways. Some become very fearful and close down emotionally in order to protect themselves from being hurt. They feel inadequate, inferior. Some become very angry, rebellious. Others manage to remain relatively open, strong, confident, and harmonious. Everyone, however, has some fear of being judged, rejected, and abandoned.
We know that love should be unconditional, but all of the criticism and judgment over our many lives has caused part of us to feel, think, and behave as if love were conditional. So, in order to be approved of, accepted, liked and loved, we try to fulfill the conditions, needs, and desires of others. We try to measure up to their standards, to be good enough for them. Different signs do this in different ways. For example, Aries may try to prove themselves, Taurus's may do it through wealth and possessions, Gemini's by knowing more, being wiser, Libras by pleasing others, Capricorns through their positions, status, and power, Pisces by trying to become what another person desires and needs. All the ways are doomed to failure, however, because we cannot expect to always be approved of, respected, and loved by others by trying to be good enough for them. We can't because everyone is human and far from perfect. Others, therefore, can't always give us what we need, desire, and depend upon them for. What we must do is learn to unconditionally accept and love ourselves so that we are not dependent upon, and vulnerable to, the judgments and treatment of others. The more that we identify with, and become our higher, spiritual natures, the easier this is to do. And the more that we become our real, divine selves, the more that we will be able to love as God, Jesus, and all the Ascended Masters love - totally unconditionally. They love us even though they see the worst in us.
The sign whose natives are thought to be too critical, at times, is Virgo. That's partly because Virgos are perfectionists, and their critical ability helps them to see the smallest imperfections, faults, flaws. Being a perfectionist is a noble goal, because we should all be striving for perfection. Our human selves can never be perfect. Only our Higher, Divine Selves are perfect, so in order to achieve perfection, we must ascend to, and become our God Selves. While Virgos can be too critical, picky, petty, at times, their critical acumen serves a very valuable function, because it helps people to see what is wrong. There can't be change, improvement, growth until we first are able to see what's wrong and what we need to work on in order to bring about the necessary changes, improvements in ourselves, our lives, our country, and world. Everyone has blind spots, and we need help in seeing what we are not able to, especially in ourselves. Other signs have a greater ability to see, especially Scorpio, whose God-quality is God-Vision. One of the saddest things is for individuals to not be able to see that they caused their problems, because they cannot solve and end their problems until they see the causes within themselves, and then do the work of making the necessary changes, improvements in themselves.
Though Virgos can be too critical, at times, they can help us to see what is wrong (and right - they're perfectionists), and their criticism can be constructive, even vital. You don't have to be a Virgo to have the sign Virgo be important and strong in your chart. You may be another sign, but have Virgo as your rising sign, for example, or have the moon, Mercury, Venus, or Mars in Virgo, or have planets in your 6th house, which would give a Virgo influence because Virgo is the 6th sign, and there are similarities between the signs and houses. Virgo rising, planets in Virgo, or in the 6th house could mean that you also project, think, feel, love, or act like a Virgo, even though you are another sign..
Though people usually think of Virgo as the sign of those who are too critical, Capricorn is the most important sign when it comes to being too critical and judgmental. Just as part of Virgo's reason for being too critical is that they are perfectionists, part of a Capricorn's reason is that they have very high standards. The higher one's standards are, the more one can see what's wrong (and right). Capricorns have a strong sense of what is right and wrong. They can have very good critical ability and judgment.
When their (or anyone's) criticism and judgment is negative, it can be in one or more of three ways - being too critical and judgmental of others, of oneself, or being too sensitive and vulnerable to the criticism and judgment of others toward oneself. Knowing all of the harmful things that criticism and judgment can lead to, it is especially important for Capricorn to be acutely aware of when they are being too critical and judgmental of others, too hard on themselves, and when they are being negatively affected by other's criticism and judgment of themselves. This is not only important for Capricorns, but also for non-Capricorns who have the sign Capricorn strongly indicated in their charts in some way - ex., Capricorn rising, the moon, Mercury, Venus, or Mars in Capricorn, strong, negative Saturn aspects (Saturn is the planet that rules Capricorn), and 10th house planets (which give a Capricorn influence, because Capricorn is the 10th sign). Being a Capricorn, or not being one but having that sign important in one's chart, in some way, does not mean that one is too critical and judgmental. One of the most non-judgmental people I know is a double Capricorn (sun and moon in Capricorn), with Mercury (the mind) in Capricorn, and Venus (love) close to Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn. One can't have much more Capricorn than that. This individual is not judgmental, partly because she is very aware and wise. Capricorns have the potential for profound wisdom, and that sign rules the crown chakra, which can be a place of great enlightenment. Yet, when Capricorn is in a chart in some way, criticism and judgment is going to be an important issue in life. Though a Capricorn may be very aware, wise, and usually non-judgmental, he or she is still human, imperfect, and evolving, and their is likely to be an important lesson in life involving criticism and judgment.
In conclusion, it is human nature to be too critical and judgmental, at times, but our real nature is divine, which is never too critical and judgmental, and which always loves unconditionally and perfectly. The more that we become our spiritual selves, the more non-judgmental we will be, and the more unconditional our love will be.
Beyond understanding spousal differences is accepting those differences. In particular, accept your spouse for exactly who she is. When we fall in love, we usually fall in love with most of a person. But it’s hardly the case that we fall in love with all of a person. There’s always at least some little part that we wish wasn’t true about our spouse. When you choose to be with someone, you choose to be with all parts of that person. It’s the whole person or none at all. You cannot pick and choose your preferred traits. You may love the free, vivacious spirit, but along with that spirit comes someone who cannot pay the bills on time.
Instead of fighting against the reality of those undesirable traits, accept them. Instead of trying to change your husband’s lazy habits, accept him. Instead of denying the fact that your wife spends too much money, accept her.
Acceptance is not easy, because reality is not always rosy. Sure, it’s easy to accept someone who is kind, considerate, and joyful. But not everyone radiates such wonderful qualities all the time. Sometimes your spouse is a slob. Sometimes your spouse is a clean freak, verging on OCD. Sometimes your spouse is a self-centered arrogant jerk. Sometimes your spouse is neurotic and excessively anxious about everything. Sometimes your spouse is insecure and sensitive. Whatever the trait may be, that is reality.
Many people automatically want to deny reality, try to change the undesirable, push back, and be defensive. Denying reality means that you are ignoring this part of your spouse. You are denying its existence. Why would you want to deny a part of the person you love?
Accepting the reality of your spouse is freeing. It’s cathartic. You realize that that your self-centered arrogant jerk of a husband isn’t intentionally trying to hurt your feelings. It’s not personal. In fact, his choice of words has absolutely nothing to do with you. This is who he is. This is how he expresses himself. Imagine if you just let him express himself precisely how he wishes to express himself without taking any of it personally. It's like hearing a piece of angry music. You appreciate the artist for expressing himself with such raw and intense emotion. You appreciate the music and even relate to it, especially on your hardest days. You wouldn’t dare try to quell the artist’s emotion or expression. Why quell your spouse’s emotion? That’s precisely the artist’s beauty. It has nothing to do with you. It’s not personal.
It is truly a generous gift to allow your spouse to fully express herself, to just be exactly who she is to the fullest. To not stop her with interjections of what should be, what should not be, and how silly she sounds. To fully embrace all parts of her, make her feel safe, and to encourage her to be her authentic self without fear.
Instead of fighting against reality, work with it. Severely fighting back against reality and denying its existence usually makes the situation worse. Constantly yelling at the wife who shops too much will result in her hiding her purchases. When I worked in retail, I was astonished by how many women commented about how they had to hide their purchases from their husbands. Hiding is a form of denial, and denial only exacerbates problems. Even aside from the problem itself, I find it kind of sad that the wife must live in fear of her husband’s reaction.
Acceptance is not the same as agreement, nor is it the same as approval. Acceptance is not judgmental. Acceptance is about fully embracing your spouse in the present. In this moment in time, your husband is a lazy bum. In this moment in time, your wife is a nag. You don’t have to agree with, approve of, or like a particular characteristic to accept it.
Let’s take a moment and think of dogs. Dogs like to chew. Dogs like to dig. The best way to get them to stop chewing on your furniture is to give them something acceptable to chew on – a piece of rawhide, a chew toy, or a Kong toy. The best way to get them to stop digging up the flower bed is to give them a place of their own to dig up. Chewing and digging are what dogs do. It is in their nature. Accepting that fact means that we give them an appropriate outlet to express their true selves. It does not mean that we approve of them chewing or digging all the time.
Similarly, you can accept your husband’s lazy ways by being more forgiving of certain things as long as he agrees to comply with other things. He can sleep until noon if he likes, but the dishes must be done before he goes to bed. Find some sort of acceptable outlet that you two can agree on. Don’t deny your spouse’s true nature. Find a way to make it work.
Accepting people as they are does not imply that people don’t change. They can change, but people change if and only if they want to. One half of a couple is not going to change just because the other half wants her to change. Changing for another person never works in the long-run. In addition to consciously decided change, people also evolve. They grow up and change slowly in subconscious and unimaginable ways. They change based upon their life experiences and the people around them. People are always developing and growing. At some point, the wife might learn that she shops excessively to fulfill a void in her life. But she won’t realize this if she’s in a constant yelling match with her husband. Acceptance in the present moment allows for positive growth in the future.
Managing your moody mate
MOST MARRIAGES would run more smoothly if both mates remained even-tempered and pleasant to live with at all times. But let's get real. Our mate's moods vary, and so do our own. If we can't eliminate negative moods, the next best step is to learn to cope with them.
Coping requires acceptance. Fact is, your mate has negative moods and probably will continue to have them "till death do you part." While some have learned to control their moods to the point where they don't show to an outsider, close relationships such as marriage make it almost impossible to hide feelings. Married people--especially those who want to stay that way--must accept the full range of feelings pouring from their significant other.
In The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work (Crown Publishing Group), Dr. John Gottman states that stonewalling is often a favorite method of evading talking out a problem. He says that men tend to use it more than women. Either they bury themselves in their newspaper or leave the room to avoid discussing the pressing problems. Doing so doesn't help to lighten their mood or solve the situation.
By accepting the fact that your spouse will experience bad moods, you'll be taking a giant step toward coping with them when they do appear. You'll be less surprised or disappointed when he or she isn't up to their usual self.
Be Witty, Be Charming, Be Gone
How should you handle your mate's moods? Depends. You might try to cheer him or her up by being witty, and lighthearted. You'll know very quickly if this prescription works. If he responds positively, slowly joining in the fun, your technique is working. If he doesn't, swiftly change tactics. Maybe the best thing for you to do is leave him alone.
According to the Healthy Marriage Handbook, written by Louise A. Ferrebee (Broadman and Holman Publishers), a recent Louis Harris poll found that 63 percent of working women and 40 percent of working men say they don't have enough time for themselves.
If he wants to be alone, anything you say or do will only acid irritation. Let him have his privacy. However, don't feel that his wanting to be alone is a personal insult to you. Some people just need to be alone at certain times. Get busy on some project of your own and stay out of his way. Moods tend to be temporary. He'll get over it.
Frequently, a wise husband can help to pull his wife out of sad or dark moods by suggesting an outing of some kind. A quiet dinner date, a visit to a museum, or evening at the opera will usually dissipate that negative outlook. Or a wife can suggest that her husband play a round of golf, visit an old army buddy or spend some quality time drooling over the new cars at the local auto dealer. He'll more than likely return from such an outing in a much better mood.
Or maybe your mate just wants to sit down and talk. Dr. Gottman advises couples to "reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went." The spouse may be feeling sorry for herself and need someone to listen. An argument with a co-worker or relative may have sparked the depressed mood. If the spouse wants to talk about it, listen sympathetically but don't give advice. She's not asking for answers. She probably simply wants to talk out the resentment she's feeling for the person or situation. Don't be judgmental, even if you feel your spouse did or said something wrong. Criticism--even the constructive kind--may only depress her more.
Ergo the Ego
If your mate is in a poor mood, it's usually a sign that his ego is suffering. Now is a good time to use words and actions that will help build up that faltering sense of self-worth. A husband can give his depressed wife a small gift and tell her how much he loves her. A wife can prepare her husband's favorite dish for dinner and let him know that she thinks he's a great guy. The person in a depressed mood is usually suffering within, regardless of how much he or she pretends otherwise.
Should you be worried about your mate because he or she experiences moods? Depends. If they're the "normal" kind--infrequent, slight, short--relax. Comes with the territory. But if they're frequent, persist for days or weeks, and cause deep depression, it might be time to visit the doctor. In their book Managing Your Mind (Oxford University Press), Gillian Butler, Ph.D., and Tony Hope, M.D., quote a study that shows that one of the biggest barriers against depressive moods is "a close, confiding relationship."
Many people--men and women alike--contend with mood cycles. A woman sometimes goes into her "down" cycle a few clays each month, according to her body rhythm. In men, these cycles aren't so easy to pin down. These cycles seem to be brought on more by events or happenings than by bodily changes. For instance, one woman says that her husband always gets in a blue mood after a visit from their young married daughter, who lives in a nearby town. The husband dislikes the son-in-law because of the way he treats the daughter. The wife is well aware of the effect that the visits have on her husband. Yet she doesn't want to stop them because they both love their daughter. So until the situation changes, she has to cope with his moods after each visit.
In another case, a wife says that her husband always gets in a depressed mood during the Christmas holidays. In the early years of her marriage, his moods made her depressed, too, making her feel that she had failed him in some way. Now after five years of marriage she has learned to take his solemn attitude in stride. "I finally decided not to let it dampen my Christmas spirit any longer," she says. "I want to pull him up, not let him pull me down." She was able to cope with his holiday blues when she realized that they were not her fault.
What Have I Done?
Upon seeing their spouse in a glum mood, most conscientious mates who want to maintain harmony in their marriage will immediately ask themselves, "What have I said or done to make him/her feel or act like that?" Wrong question. It's usually a combination of outside circumstances--over which the spouse has no control--that's the true culprit.
That said, there are times when a spouse's action might be a mood-mangler. If Jane Smith notices that after talking about her college years, her husband, Bob, who didn't attend college, falls into a funk, it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Jane might be better served if she kept her college experiences to herself in the future. Or if Jane becomes depressed after hearing Bob speak admiringly of a female co-worker, he shouldn't be too hardpressed to put two and two together. Yes, these are both small, even petty, incidences. In fact, Jane might think that Bob is nit-picking to let such a small thing throw him into a mood, and he might think the same about her. But they're staring at only the surface of the problem. Jane's college talk has punctured Bob's pride, creating a feeling of inferiority.
Some other man who's more confident in himself wouldn't object. In fact, he'd probably show pride in her accomplishments.
Bob, with his admiring remarks centered on another woman, has turned the key leading to Jane's room of insecurity. If she felt secure in herself and in her marriage, she'd not object to his remarks.
So if you know that a certain topic or action initiates a mood swing in your spouse, you may choose to avoid the topic or action, try to discuss the problem at its deeper level to discover the real reason for the mood, or blindly continue on. If you choose the latter, you might as well brace yourself for the soon-to-appear mood.
Live With It
Sometimes a person cannot, or prefers not to, change a situation that triggers a mood in the spouse. For instance, a man who's required to work overtime and finds his wife in a poor mood when he returns home, may not be able to do much about correcting the cause. His wife will need to adjust. Or perhaps a wife feels that she should be able to take an evening course at the local college, even if her spouse doesn't approve. She'll just have to face his sour mood when she returns home either until she quits the course or he decides to alter his reaction.
When a couple finds themselves at loggerheads--when one of them doesn't want to give up doing something that brings on a negative mood in the other--they have a problem that must be solved by change, adjustment, or compromise. Only they can decide which it will be.
Moods are part of marriage because they are a facet of human nature. You may not be able to make all the negative ones disappear; but with foresight, patience, and a bit of understanding, you can lessen their threat to marital harmony. By learning to cope with them, you'll help your mate, yourself, and your marriage.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
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