We have had a LOT of company this winter, which has provided us with many great discussions and lots of fun. Last night as we spent the last evening with our guest, we talked about having taken many workshops that we have collectively taken around self improvement and consciousness.
My husband asked our guest: “What is the one thing you came away with that has changed your life?” which is a huge question! She thought a minute and said, “Well, probably the thing I use almost every day of my life is what they taught us about criticism and that is that every criticism of another is really self criticism.” She said that in the workshops she took that this came through to her loud and clear. She realizes now that when she begins to criticize someone, she stops and turns her inquisitors eye to herself to see what is it about HER that she is seeing in someone else and that she is critiquing.
And so it is that others are a mirror for us for what we don’t like within ourselves. When we see that quality in another, then, we begin to react by turning our critique over and point it towards “the other”. But it is really that quality in us that we dislike.
It took me a long time to learn and accept this myself. I never wanted to see myself first of all as critical, and second to see myself with some of those qualities I criticize in other but do not want to own for myself!
I was glad she brought this up last night and talked so frankly about how she now knows how to stop and think about that disowned quality that she is ready to pounce on in another. She said she always sees it as a red flag and knows that what she doesn’t like in someone else she often finds in herself.
I thought that was a brave statement to make in front of us. And I was grateful to be reminded of this yet again. I love how truth sets us free if we but take it in and hear it with an open heart!