I had a huge epiphany. I added judgment to my list of things that stops me from getting in touch with happiness.
I was made to believe that we are most happy when we do things that are of high value to us and it does not serve our happiness if we do things out of guilt…… and that is, ahem, in the perfect world. In real life, we often face situations or events that we dread or cannot avoid. These could be family gatherings such as re-unions/Christmases/weddings, visiting parents/in-laws and office functions etc. These are some situations that could be challenging for some of us to be with.
“I cannot stand the weekend lunches with my parents but I have to go because I have to,” you may ask yourself. “What can I do?”
My mom is pushing 90 and lives half way around the world. For the last 10 years, I have been visiting her at least once a year and sometimes, twice. Like most people’s mother, I love my mom but I can only be in her company for so long. My mom pushes all my buttons. The earlier visits were difficult. I had to go because “she is old; she will only live so long; and I only have one mother” – familiar guilt? I used to show up and “disappear”and I did my “duty.” And I was not happy.
As a matter of fact, I have just returned after spending 10 days visiting my mom….and I usually do a one week visit. Because of my mother’s increasing loss of strength, she was more house bound than ever. She still complained and pushed my buttons. But, these 10 days were some of the best times I have spent with her. What changed? It is very obvious that she is getting old. I decided that I needed to treasure my time with her. In order to treasure her, I need to find some value being with her. And in order for this value thing to happen, I need to change my perspective of her, being with her. How?
I first dropped my judgments of her. One judgment is, “My mom is the world’s biggest victim”. She constantly complained about how and who had done her wrong and how they ruined her life. I just focused on her action without judgment – my mom complains. I stopped trying to fix her and allowed her to complain. I tuned out when I needed to. When it got too much, I distracted her the some way that you would distract a child. I changed the topic. When I got stronger again to be non-judgmental of her, I allowed her to be.
I realized that as long as I stayed out of judgment, I started to get in touch with her spirit. And it was being with her spirit that I found the joy and happiness of being with her. It is not easy to stay in no-judgment with her as a matter of fact, with anything, any one. I flipped in and out. It is like anything, it takes practice. Toward the end of my visit with my mother, I suddenly found myself reluctant to leave. I did not want to leave her. The last time I felt this way was when I was getting ready home for Canada at the age of 15 and that was before I had any judgment of my mother. She was then just “mom”.
Now, I have only left her for 10 days and I could not wait to see her August for her 90th birthday. As a matter of fact, I want to jump on the plane and fly to her now. My love of my mother grew.
My mom had presented me a huge learning. When I stop judging, the acceptance follows.
Being judgmental prevents me from being in touch with happiness.