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Guiltless Freedom

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Neo-Tech Advantage #48

For a healthy romantic relationship, each partner must grant the other guiltless, free choice to enter any growth relationship (in principle, including sexual) with any person of value. In growing romantic-love relationships, however, the circumstances for an outside, rational sexual relationship occurring are essentially nil.

Acceptance or approval by people other than one's romantic-love partner is not a requirement for success, happiness, or psychuous pleasures: To achieve psychuous pleasures, a person must be free to be one's own self and choose one's own actions. Trying to be different from one's rational self is a distortion of human nature and contrary to romantic love.

Likewise, a person cannot change another person's nature. For, one's nature can be changed only from within that person, not from without. Of course, a person can develop his or her own character and correct errors as new knowledge is acquired. Such changes are the process of personal growth. And such growth comes through volitional choices to honestly integrate new knowledge.

A person is what he or she is. To pretend to be anything else is to present a false illusion requiring dishonest role playing. A person diminishes any personal relationship to the extent that a false illusion is presented. A person must present himself or herself as "This is me. Take me or leave me as I am." Only from that position can a person proceed with the genuine growth required for romantic love, psychuous pleasures, and abiding happiness.

Accepting a "take me or leave me" position does not mean specific errors should be accepted or uncriticized. A person can and should change erroneous views and destructive traits (such as mysticism and dishonesty) through character development. Furthermore, each partner must be free to constructively point out harmful errors in the other as well as to be open to criticism about one's own self. Moreover, each partner should expect continuous growth in the other. ...But if a person does not accept the nature of his or her partner, the romantic-love relationship will deteriorate.

Two dangers exist in criticizing one's romantic-love partner:

The first danger is that criticism may unintentionally turn into an invalid attack on the partner's basic self. And attacking a partner's basic self can end the relationship. Still, if certain aspects of a partner's basic self are unacceptable, ending the relationship may be the best, most rational action.

The second danger concerning criticism involves avoiding valid, specific criticism for fear of causing problems or rejection. Avoiding criticism cuts off important areas of communication necessary for personal growth. Both partners must be free to express themselves to the other: their compliments and criticism, their likes and dislikes. Valid praise and criticism should not be held back, but should be expressed in specifics to avoid insincere flattery or manipulative criticism (i.e., using criticism as a tool to pressure a person).

Allowances must be made for errors. Through misunderstandings or wrong premises, one partner may erroneously criticize the other. And to the degree erroneous criticism occurs, the relationship will be diminished until the error is corrected.

Most people have large capacities for self-improvement and correcting errors, especially in an atmosphere of benevolent freedom. Having the guiltless freedom to make errors and subsequently being able to correct those errors lets each partner develop into his or her best possible self with the most values to offer the other partner.

Mistakes and errors need not do permanent damage. When faced and dealt with, most errors become self-revealing solutions that create new areas of strength, knowledge, and growth. ...Guiltless freedom is essential for converting one's errors and problems into assets.

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