We are judged by the house we live in, the car we drive, the title we hold — and who is on our arm. The superficial stuff can be read at a glance â€¦ and people are generally in a hurry. Besides, they tend to play it safe with what can be quantified.
You don’t have to! It’s tempting, though, because even after you learn what matters, you still have an awareness of what is perceived.
I remember moving from a “big, beautiful house” into a condo after a divorce. I had never felt so happy and free in my life. Soon after that, I started writing full time, because that’s what I really wanted to do. Still, I remember people feeling a bit sorry for me â€¦ “losing the house and all.” I think I convinced them that I was OK!
When you are truly at peace, people know it. They see what you feel.
So, don’t worry about how people view you or the person on your arm. Don’t take on their criteria for what makes somebody a good catch. Use your own, and stick with it.
When you’ve been married for a while, you may find yourself picking at your partner — not based on what’s important to you, but based on what society gives the most points for. One man explained to me that he was embarrassed for people in his office to meet his wife. She had gained weight and gotten older!
If you are less attracted to your partner, and there is something they can do about it, tell them. Give them a chance to do it! And if you want them to update their look because of perception, tell them that, too. Be honest with yourself and your partner.
BUT, don’t take on some shallow judge’s scorecard and beat your partner up with it. And please don’t turn it into an unspoken preoccupation that eats away at your relationship. A human being is a complex package deal. You have no line-item veto. If you are to be happy, you must accept the whole person!
Sometimes we do to our partners what we do to our children: We spring somebody else’s standards on them. Aunt Harriett is coming over … and all of a sudden, their room is not clean enough — in fact, it’s a pigpen. And before meeting your boss, they are, for the first time in years, scolded for needing a haircut!
One woman introduced me to her husband and started making excuses for his shirt and socks! Maybe you have done the same thing. Maybe you even thought you were doing it for his sake. But chances are, you didn’t want him to reflect poorly on you.
How good can we look while saying, “Come on, quit it, you’re making me look bad”? And how good can we feel while saying it?
What if you weren’t concerned about how your partner made you look? What if you could just enjoy him for how he helped you feel? What if you could just revel in how much she loved you?
You wouldn’t have to nag. You wouldn’t have to make excuses. Because you — and your partner — have a way of looking as good as you feel!
We are judged by who is on our arm. Up close, we are also judged by how we treat the person on our arm. We are judged by our criticism, our blaming, our excuses, our anger, our self-consciousness. Our attitudes show through — whether or not our partner is there, whether or not we say out loud what we are thinking.
And … we are judged by how we feel. Happy gets a better score!