Because we want love on our terms, many of us don’t find it, or what we get is a person and relationship that matches our conditioning as much as possible. This kind of relationship is not necessarily the one that will make us the happiest, oddly enough. The ego thinks it knows best about relationships and will settle for nothing less than what it wants, but what it wants is just not a good guide for happiness.

This is a profound and not-so-obvious truth: What we want in relationships is not always what will make us the happiest. Following our desires is not the key to happiness. It is what we think will make us happy, but it isn’t what actually makes us happy.

Happiness lies in being aligned with essence, our true nature. When we are identified with essence rather than with the ego, we feel all of the things the ego is looking for but pursuing in inept ways: happiness, joy, love, peace, and contentment. This is really all we—and the ego—want. It is just that the ego has a different way of trying to get these things than essence. From essence, getting is not required, only being. Happiness, joy, love, peace, and contentment are not arrived at by trying to get them but by noticing that they are already here. Just check: Is love here now? Noticing these qualities draws you into the experience of them.

To align yourself with essence and experience love and the other qualities of essence, all you have to do is notice love. When you notice love, you are in a sense choosing it over the ego’s ideas, and that brings you into identification with the you that loves. This you—the real you—lives for love and is not dissuaded from it by ideas or judgments or differences. It loves because it sees similarities, not differences. It sees how others are like itself—how others are itself. From essence, we experience Oneness and unity with all life, and from this place it is easy to love.

Judgments keep us under the ego’s spell. The ego keeps us entranced with its ideas by making them seem important and by making the fulfillment of our desires seem necessary for happiness. It convinces us that what we think and desire are more important than they are. We think we must have life and others match our ideas to be happy, safe, and secure, and this just is not true. However, as long as we believe this, either consciously or unconsciously, we will be under the ego’s spell and we will not find happiness.

Our opinions about how life and how others should be seem really important. We are convinced that these ideas matter, and they don’t. Does it really matter, if your husband eats with his mouth open or your wife wears too much makeup? It matters to your ego because you think these things make you look bad. We imagine all sorts of terrible things happening as a result, particularly rejection from others. We give more importance to our fear of rejection than is reasonable. Rejection to the ego seems like a life and death matter, which it isn’t, of course.

Notice how the ego is very uncomfortable with doing anything or having the partner do anything that doesn’t match its conditioning. It gets uncomfortable, scared, angry, ashamed, and embarrassed when its conditioned rules about how to live are broken by you or anyone who might reflect on you. The next time you feel an urge to judge your partner, examine the conditioning that lies behind your judgment. Behind every judgment lies a “should” or a “should not.” What “should” or “should not” are you imposing on your partner? Notice how your judgment is an attempt to get your partner to change his or her behavior so that you don’t have to feel uncomfortable.

When others do things we don’t like because of our conditioning, we feel scared, angry, ashamed, or embarrassed. When you feel these feelings, a judgment is probably not far behind. The judgment that arises out of these feelings is an attempt to change the partner and ease any discomfort. Watch this process. It is interesting to see how predictable it is, and it is a good way to become more aware of your own conditioning and to take responsibility for it.

It is not your partner’s responsibility to change just because you have conditioning that demands that. Your wanting your partner to change is not enough reason for him or her to change, although the ego thinks it is and tries to manipulate by claiming “If you loved me, you would change.” If you want a loving relationship, you have to take responsibility for your conditioning and the feelings generated by it and choose to give up your judgments and attempts to change your partner.

When you do this, you will discover what true love is because your partner will love you for being so loving, accepting, and allowing. There is nothing that opens someone’s heart more than someone with an open heart. Conversely, there is nothing that closes someone’s heart more than someone with a closed heart—and that means someone who is judging.

Author's Bio: 

Copyright © 2007 Gina Lake

Gina Lake has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and over twenty years experience supporting people in their spiritual growth. She is also the author of several other books on spirituality, including: Radical Happiness, Anatomy of Desire, Return to Essence, and Living Your Destiny. Gina is available for astrological and channeled phone consultations that support spiritual awakening. For more information or to order her books or read excerpts or to download Radiance: Experiencing Divine Presence for free, visit .