Do you notice that you secretly judge others?

For example, you notice that a co-worker has a chosen to wear a stunning red dress to the work Christmas party and you think, That is so inappropriate for a work function. Who is she trying to impress?

Or your sister tells you about a new designer handbag she’s purchased and you think, She can’t possibly afford that bag on her salary. She is so wasteful with money.

Or your partner leaves his dirty clothes once again on the floor by his side of the bed before leaving to play golf with friends and you think, He is such a slob and so lazy. He drives me crazy!

And so it goes, day in, day out; you are silently judging and criticizing others…my co-worker is such a know-it-all…my neighbor is such a busy-body…my friend is so self-absorbed, could she possibly post anymore selfies on Facebook?

What exactly is going on? What does all this mean? Are you surrounded by people who don’t have a clue? Or is the world around you simply going to hell in a hand basket?

You might be surprised by the answer, but like the picture says, this says a whole lot about you and very little about the other person.

And if you’re willing to look a little deeper you may just discover something important…this is about YOU, not loving and not accepting parts of YOU!

When we judge and criticize or have our buttons pushed by others, what we may be doing is projecting our own feelings onto them. We point our fingers at others for the very things we consciously or subconsciously disown or reject about ourselves.

Let’s say you are a neat, organized and punctual person, but would secretly (on some level) love to be more laid back, carefree and spontaneous the way your partner is. But you don’t want to admit that part to yourself, so you reject it, perhaps because as a child you were not allowed to be that way. So instead you criticize and judge your partner for being exactly what you cannot, but wish you could.

My God, she is never on time, it’s like she doesn’t care at all! If he truly loved me, he would at least organize it the way I prefer, otherwise it’s no help at all!

Or let’s say you have a fear of rejection that stems far back into childhood. You may not be consciously aware of this fear…but the subconscious is aware and it will draw to you like a magnet the perfect situations and people who will trigger that old wound in order to bring it into your awareness, thus giving you the opportunity to heal it. So you inevitably attract a partner who (once the initial attraction wears off) appears cold, distant, aloof, perhaps making plans with friends without you or having a hobby that doesn’t include you.

If you’re not aware of this fear or you simply reject that it’s an issue, you won’t think, Hmm, his/her actions are making me feel abandoned and alone. I fear he/she may leave me.

Instead, you will judge and become highly critical, she never wants to spend time with me; he’s always playing golf, instead of helping me by fixing things around the house.

And when you don’t, or can’t acknowledge your true feelings or accept some part of yourself, it’s a sign that deep down, you don’t love yourself. And if you don’t truly love yourself, you will never be at peace with you and the world around you. You will inevitably find an endless list of things to complain about, forever wondering why everyone and everything in your life is so imperfect? HINT: It’s because you believe yourself to be less than perfect.

But alas, you can’t give away, what you don’t have, so unless you resolve this lack of love for the self, you will never find it in the world around you and will be doomed to repeat the endless cycle of failed, never-good-enough relationships you’ve already experienced.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means many of us will be reflecting on our current loves, past loves, loves lost, the ones-who-got-away, etc. But how many of us will actually take the time to reflect on self-love, the love for self? If you find yourself harshly criticizing and judging a current partner or wondering why you can’t attract a relationship that lasts, perhaps it’s time to start loving the one you’re with first and foremost, always and forever, and that’s YOU!

All relationships are simply mirrors, reflecting back to us what’s on the inside. As Simon Peter Fuller once said, “What angers us in another person is more often than not an unhealed aspect of ourselves. If we had already resolved that particular issue, we would not be irritated by its reflection back to us.”

So take the time this month to reflect on just what it is you are reflecting to others. If it’s fear, self-hate, and pain you just might see it in the form of judgments and criticisms towards others. However, if joy, peace and love is what’s inside of you (what you feel for yourself) then that is exactly what will be reflected in your relationships. And there will be no more snap judgments, no harsh criticisms, because when you are at peace with yourself, you are at peace with others. You can’t be bothered; you will not be triggered. You will be as accepting of others as you are of yourself!