If you are unhappy in your relationship are you willing to try an experiment?
It is an experiment designed to reduce your suffering not to save your relationship. And whatever happens in terms of the outcome for your relationship, you will have the learning from the experiment. That goes with you even if the relationship ends.
Angus and I do our best to have no attachment to outcomes when working with our clients. We see our responsibility being to educate our clients so they can connect more deeply with their own wellbeing and see more clearly what gets in the way of that experience. When clients have a deeper connection with their true nature and feel the impact, they fall into a space of love. More intimacy, love, and connection with their partner is the by-product of this.
When this happens, couples usually choose to stay together. However, this is not always the case. One couple we worked with as part of a podcast we are creating, ended up deciding to separate. At a level of greater clarity and inner peace, this became the clear next action.
I share this preface because I want to be clear this is not a post on how to stay with your partner or how to make your relationship the way you want it to be. It is a post about how you can have less suffering if you are struggling in your relationship.
The experiment is to let go of judgments toward yourself and your partner. This is not something you can force, but it makes sense when you see your own innocence and their’s.
Innocence is fundamental for all of us because we are all doing the best we can in each given moment based on our understanding. No matter what has happened, innocence is a given. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with, condone, or like what is, but can you see your innocence and your partner’s?
If you can, you will genuinely feel any judgments you were previously making recede. As they leave, you will naturally feel lighter and freer.
If you can’t see your innocence or your partner’s, know you are caught up in the misunderstandings of your judgments. Judgments have to be misunderstandings because they deny the fact of innocence. They ignore the truth that we are all always doing the best we can in each given moment.
I will probably get comments that say, Rohini, are you saying a murderer is innocent?
I am saying a murderer was doing the best he or she could at that moment in time based on their level of understanding. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences for their behavior. That doesn’t mean I condone their actions. It doesn’t mean I don’t have compassion for their victim and the victim’s family. It just means they are psychologically innocent because they were doing their best in that moment.
Letting go of judgments is self-care. Judgments are the source of mental and emotional suffering.
You can’t force yourself to let go of judgments, but you can recognize they are the source of your suffering and reflect on the question, “Is it true that everybody is doing the best they can in the moment?”
There is a natural by-product to letting go of judgment. When we drop our judgments and see our own innocence and the innocence of others, compassion, love, understanding, and kindness automatically arise. The feeling of these qualities lets you know how much judgment you are living in. To the degree that you experience them you are judgment-free. To the degree that you don’t experience them that is the degree to which you are identifying with your judgments.
And being caught up in judgment is innocent too. That is not something to judge yourself for. This is all about SEEING. Seeing what is. Seeing where suffering comes from. Seeing how close you are to freedom. Seeing who you are.
The experience of love you are looking for is not being taken away from you by your partner. It is being stolen by what you are identifying with within yourself.
The good news is even though you are the thief, you are also the hero. You can be more gracefully with the painful identification with judgments when you know that is where the pain is coming from. You will also naturally let the judgments go and feel your innate wellbeing rise as a result.
So if you are unhappy in your relationship, try this experiment. See that the source of your suffering is your judgments toward yourself and your partner. Start with yourself first. See that you are doing the best you can. You have not done anything wrong. There is nothing wrong with you. You have not made a mistake. You are not bad or damaged. You are exactly where you need to be in this moment. Check this out for yourself.
When your mind screams, “NO!” and wants to hold a righteous position. Know the position creates pain and look beyond the position to what is true.
You do not need to identify with painful thoughts. There is no requirement to think about them, ruminate on them, consider them, or try to find solutions to them?
There is an easier way.
You can ignore them. You dismiss and ignore thousands of thoughts each day because they are not useful. These thoughts fall into the same category. They do not offer any solutions. They keep your mind and your emotions unsettled so you don’t know whether you are coming or going. They do nothing for you. When you identify with them they cause suffering.
You don’t need to try to stop the thoughts. You can have them and see them for what they are — insecure thinking. Then you will naturally leave them alone.
When you don’t identify with them, they will naturally dissipate, and it will be easier to see what does not change, what does not come and go. Who you really are — your natural state of love.
That is the experiment. Try it on for size. It doesn’t matter if you are in a relationship you think is going to end, or that you think you want to end, or that you think needs to be different. Just see what happens when you see the innocence of yourself and your partner.
And if you can’t see it, know that what you are seeing are your judgments — not the truth. You are seeing your story of missed expectations that you created. Are you willing to look beyond the judgments to a deeper experience of who you are? The peace, the love, the wisdom, the understanding, they are right there. They are qualities of your true nature. From that space within yourself, you have everything you need and the next action will reveal itself. It will be ordinary. There will be no high stakes. It will be obvious and common sense.
If you take on the exploration, let me know how it goes!
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.