In judging, we usually make ourselves “right” and others “wrong” – except, of course, when we judge ourselves. We learned many of our judgments in childhood, by absorbing parental messages that told us what was “good” and “bad.” As adults, we continue to make judgments based on these old messages. We do this unconsciously, and it is a source of great damage in our relationships.

The card JUDGMENTS suggests that the finger pointing you do can drain a lot of the joy from your relationship. When you label, criticize, or blame a partner, your vision has become distorted. Through the lens of judgment, you don’t see the real person. Instead you allow yourself to be limited by some particular idea you have about them.

Judgments often come up when we are upset – but far from helping us to understand or resolve an issue, they make matters worse. They inflame opposition and conflict. By their very nature, judgments are abusive. Any partner being judged has every right to say, “I don’t like how you are talking to me right now. Perhaps we should talk more, later.”

Judgments prevent us from truly hearing each other – and addressing what is really going on. They put walls between us. It is unfortunate that we learned as children to blame others rather than to be compassionate and patient in discussing our issues. This card asks you to remember that wise old question: “Would you rather be right – or happy?”

Whenever you are pointing a finger at someone, the card JUDGMENTS asks you to notice that three other fingers point back to you! These are not fingers of blame, however.

The first finger stands for the feelings that are beneath the judgment. Judgments tend to arise when emotions get stirred up in us. If we have trouble directly feeling such emotions, we may move into the mental realm of analysis, judgment, and blame. This card encourages you to turn your attention back to the feelings that underlie any judgment. Accept that you may be angry, hurt, afraid, or sad. Open your heart to what you feel – whatever it is – and simply feel it.

The second finger stands for the unmet needs that underlie the judgment. If we are not used to clearly recognizing what we want or need, we may end up judging others. Instead of directly seeing the needs we have, we get diverted into the secondary activity of judgment, which moves us away from satisfying our needs. This card suggests that, instead of judging others, you simply stop and ask yourself, “What do I truly need at this time?”

The third finger stands for communicating your feelings and needs to your partner – in a respectful and constructive way. Many of us have trouble expressing feelings or asking for what we want. By taking the time to thoroughly feel your own feelings and recognize your needs, you may be better able to discuss them without the sting of judgment. It is your job to communicate in a way your partner can hear and respond to.

The next time you point a finger at someone in judgment, this card asks you to remember those three other fingers that point back to you. Remember to address underlying feelings, unmet needs, and constructive communication.