How your judgement of others tells us more about you than about them…
Have you ever noticed what bothers you about others?
Which bits grate you the most?
Odds are, it is something that is part of your shadow side too…
When we complain about others paying too little tax, we are really saying that we feel we pay too much.
When we condemn a whole people in one sweeping sentence, we show how prejudiced we are.
Each time we criticise someone for how they look or how they speak, we only ever say “this is my judgement, my opinion, my taste and YOU don’t match it”.
Let me give you some examples:
Your mother tells the 25-year old you that it is unacceptable for you to dress “like this”; is that comment really about caring on how you look, or is she worrying about what the neighbours will think of you, and hence, of her?
Your husband tells you you need to hold your cutlery in a different way, because is not “upper-class” the way you do it; is that really about your manners, or rather on how it reflects upon him?
You find that “Asian people” are buying up property in your suburb, and you say “they didn’t even say hello to me, they are so rude”. Is that comment about their politeness, or rather possibly about your difficulty to accept a changing neighbourhood?
It even goes further than that. In our relationships, when we complain about the other’s faults, it is more likely to be a reflection on our needs, rather than their shortcomings.
It is about what we expect from the other.
When we want to a certain lifestyle, and expect the other to deliver it.
When we want to feel safe, and expect the other to “make us feel safe”.
When we want to be happy, and expect the other to “make us happy”.
How do we change that though?
As always, it starts with becoming aware that we are doing it.
It is about recognising our needs and wants, and asking whether we’re putting the burden of satisfying them on someone else.
It is also about realising that when others criticise us, it is quite likely to be about them, their baggage, their story.
My work as a therapist is to support you becoming aware of such patterns.
To help you see if you’re avoiding responsibility, or, on the contrary, if you are taking on responsibility for other people’s wants and needs to a degree that doesn’t allow you to flourish.
It’s only when you become aware of your pattern that you get back the choice to change it…