The Underlying Message

brown wooden tool on white surface

When we judge or disparage behaviors in others, there is more going on beneath the surface. Like pointing the finger of blame, most of the time, there are three other fingers pointing right back at us. Today, let’s dig a little deeper, into the underlying message we are giving to ourselves.

When you see things about other people that you don’t like, can it teach you anything about yourself? For instance, if you look at someone and think, “He is angry, and I don’t like that,” could it be that you don’t like it when you, yourself are angry?

If you look at someone and say, “She is really scared. Why doesn’t she just go ahead and do it?” could it be there is something you are scared about, something you wish you could “just” go ahead and do?

Suppose you disapprove of smoking but don’t smoke yourself. You wonder how that could be about you. Well, ask yourself, “Why do I disapprove of smoking?” Perhaps it is because smoking is unhealthy. If you look within yourself, you may find that you too, do things that are unhealthy which trouble you. Or you may disapprove because you consider smoking inconsiderate, and there are ways that you, too, are inconsiderate.

You see, when we judge others, if we look within, beneath the surface, we usually find a similar, personal judgment about ourselves. We can see our own behavior reflected in our opinions about others. Now, judgments rarely do any good, but once you understand what you are really doing, you can decide to stop and, if you choose, take corrective actions.

So, pay attention next time you disapprove of someone else, and see what you can learn about yourself.