You’ve opened the opportunity to see things differently, more clearly, and thereby act and make decisions from a healthier, sounder place of responding and calm rather than reacting and upset. This is the art of detachment and letting go!
Our judgment is inextricably attached to our emotional pain. As our judgment of anything decreases, we immediately find ourselves letting go and notice our peace increase. Like scales, the more pronounced our judgment, the less peace and joy we experience.
Why talk about detachment and letting go of judgment at all? The truth is our judgment much like our unforgiveness only hurts us. The more we judge the world around us, the unhappier we are. Think about someone you know who might be seen as cranky or crotchety. They are always complaining about something. They only see the glass as half empty and no matter what positive there may be in a situation, they will be sure to find the negative.
The way we look at the world is colored by our level of judgment and our judgment is directly related to how attached we are to our reality. If it sounds like a Catch 22, that’s because it is…a little bit.
Once we begin letting go and accept our circumstances, we can start to acknowledge that we do have choices and as difficult or limited as they may seem, choices still exist. But how do we begin to approach these choices with more clarity and less emotional upset? The simple answer is detachment: detachment from our judgment of right and wrong, what should have been or must happen next; detachment from the belief that I am a victim.
When going through divorce we are either attached to:
- The dream of happily-ever-after that we don’t want to give up.
- The perspective of how our spouse should act.
- The belief that we have been terribly wronged and they should pay.
- The thought that we are doomed to emotional, social or financial doom.
- The certainty that it is their fault.
We are so attached to our views that it becomes difficult to see things from any other vantage point. We are filled with hurt and anger or fear and guilt all of which is steeped in judgment of our spouse and the circumstances surrounding our divorce.
When we are struggling with a life transition like divorce, the danger is that judgment narrows our field of vision to a keyhole perspective. We only see faults, fears, and frustrations. About to make some of the most important decisions that will affect the rest of our lives, we have handicapped ourselves with emotional blindness.
What is the likelihood that you will be able to see all your choices clearly and make sound decisions while blinded by judgment? How will it serve you to choose judgment over detachment as you navigate the myriad of issues surrounding your divorce?
How do you just stop judging when you have been so disappointed or wronged; abused or betrayed? The answer is you begin to detach from your story, the story that you are the victim of your broken marriage.
Letting go of judgment and the art of detachment requires that you see your part in the collapse of your marriage.
Once we stop seeing ourselves as the victim and admit our choices and our part in the troubles we face, we can begin to detach from our upset. Here are some examples
- Perhaps we knew things weren’t great in our marriage but told ourselves that all couples have their issues and chose to remain quiet instead of suggesting that issues be discussed no matter how uncomfortable.
- Or maybe you wanted to keep the peace but were unwilling to admit that there was no peace to keep.
- You might have allowed unacceptable behavior fearing uncomfortable consequences if you set boundaries and upheld them. Or possibly you never set such boundaries and this pattern has seemingly ‘happened’ to you throughout your relationships as if you played no part in it.
- Maybe you felt so abandoned and alone in your marriage that you found other people or ways to fill your needs, ignoring the gaping hole that was growing between you and your spouse.
- Or you saw your spouse treat others in a way that was disconcerting and choose not to address it believing that s/he would never act the same way toward you until they did.
By detaching from the belief that something has been ‘done’ to us we start to take responsibility for our part in the situation and our story thereby begins to change. The truth is more likely that both my spouse and I had a part in the marriage going from blissful to broken. This new reality opens the opportunity for us to release our judgment and gain a clear view of our circumstances.
Judgment is our INTERPRETATION of a situation mixed with our EMOTIONAL REACTION to that interpretation. It is a mixture of what we perceive to have happened and how we feel about it.
For instance, my husband decided to go skiing for the weekend with his friends, leaving me home alone. I perceive him as escaping to be free to cheat on me. In my mind, his ski weekend becomes a setting for a torrid affair with some woman veiled by the ski weekend ‘story’. My judgment of his actions is based on my interpretation of the situation and my emotional reaction. The reality might be that he just went skiing with the boys.
The energy and upset that exists around choosing perspectives that cause us angst are found in our judgments, which ALWAYS leave us depleted and unable to see clearly.
Does the hurt immediately subside when you detach and consider another perspective? Unlikely. However, you are no longer imprisoned by the limits of your own judgments. You opened the opportunity to see things differently, more clearly, and thereby act and make decisions from a healthier, sounder place of responding and calm rather than reacting and upset.
Stand back and become an observer of your life- even if it is in retrospect. Anything that happens in our world is neither good nor bad; it is simply our judgment of the circumstances that makes it so.
- How might you choose to live each day differently if judgment was not a part of it?
- Where might your energy be used if you were not mired down by judgment?