Why Criticizing Others is Criticizing Yourself
“When you see a good person, think of becoming him/her. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.” ~Confucius
A friend called me distressed about her argument with her husband. In financial debt, she complained about her husband’s inability to find a higher paying job. As a new mom, she left her job to stay home, so in having started her own home business, she was struggling to bring in income. The more I listened, the more I kept thinking how she and her husband had just mirrored each other. I can certainly relate to her, because I have also been guilty of nagging at my husband (I think many of us have to some extent). In reflecting back, I realize that my criticisms of my husband were really reflections of my own frustrations with myself. My friend’s own struggle to make an income was being projected onto her husband, so when she criticized him, she was really criticizing herself.
Deepak Chopra said it well, “When you struggle with your partner, you are struggling with yourself. Every fault you see in them touches a denied weakness in yourself.” “Denied” is the operative word here because we do not want to face the truth about ourselves, so we deny by displacing our own faults onto others. Our ego, which operates based on fear, loves denial because it prevents us from tapping into who we really are — the spiritual essence of our true Self. While the truth about ourselves can be painful, if we face them, it can set us free.
In the spiritual laws of cause and effect, the Universe simply operates as a mirror of our thoughts and actions. As in nature, when you look into a lake, you see a reflection of yourself in the water. Just like your water reflection, the consciousness of this Universe works based on the same law of attraction, so when we criticize others, we are really criticizing ourselves. Because we are really looking for ourselves in others, for this very reason, our souls choose our spouses, parents, siblings and all the important people in our lives. Deepak Chopra also said, “However good or bad you feel about your relationship, the person you are with at this moment is the “right” person, because he or she is the mirror of you inside.” We choose them because subconsciously we are yearning to learn specific lessons about ourselves only they can teach us. So when we hear stories about women or men choosing the abusive husband or wife, it is really a search deep inside their souls to learn something important about themselves.
In the relationships we choose, we have two options: we can either criticize or learn. Our fearful ego always tells us to criticize others, so, by putting someone down, we can feel better about ourselves for just two seconds. But do we ever really feel better about ourselves when we criticize someone? In fact, it actually makes us feel worse about ourselves. We are not only criticizing others to displace blame on them for our own shortcomings, but, more importantly, we are crying out for help. Like the baby who cries out for its mother, our souls are the same babies that are crying out to learn lessons that can help our souls grow into the higher level of our Self. So when a woman or a man chooses an abusive spouse who makes them feel worthless, she or he is really seeking to learn the lesson of self worth and self love. However, the lesson becomes futile when we use the relationship to serve our egos by criticizing others.
The other option, which is the healthy one that really serves our purpose, is to learn from the relationships we choose. As Confucius said, “when you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.” The first step is to stop criticizing others. As their shortcomings are really our own, we can just observe, understand and make our own internal shifts in positive ways. So the abused wife, who is observing her abusive husband’s worthless feelings about himself, which is why he’s abusing her in the first place, can observe and know that she is not worthless. By being empowered by her own realization of self worth, she can then walk away from the abusive relationship. Our greatest lessons can come from the most dysfunctional relationships if we choose to learn rather than criticize. I believe that one of the reasons why people divorce is because the relationship is no longer a mirror for each other, because one partner has grown into their higher Self while the other stayed stuck in their egoic state. When two partners are on different planes of self realization, the relationship runs its course and no longer serves it purpose, so separation is inevitable.
Whenever we choose to criticize, we are increasingly damaging ourselves because we are blocking our own energies from realizing our divine Self. A self sabotage, our own self worth decreases every time we criticize others, and we start to lose the power to take control of our lives. By endlessly criticizing others, we are just digging a deeper grave for ourselves until it becomes so deep that we have no chance of breaking out of it. That is what I see in criminal predators, who are the most relentless critics of others and ultimate self haters of themselves. They have dug their graves so deep that they have no way of breaking out, so their self hatred becomes manifested in their perpetration of heinous crimes on others. So before we dig ourselves a grave from which we can not rise, we must stop criticizing others, so we can come back to ourselves.
As the Universe only mirrors our thoughts and energies, have you ever noticed that happy and confident people rarely criticize others because they are just too busy in their own bliss? When you’re happy and positive, wonderful things happen in your life, like the better job, better spouse, and just better opportunities. Because everything seems to go right with happy people, we envy them. Happiness is not exclusive to happy people, it’s exclusive to people who choose to be happy by looking inward and focusing on bettering themselves, rather than criticizing others. As the Universe only responds in kind, they get all the “luck” in the world, and their positive energy becomes infectious. We can all be that happy person, shining our own beacon out into the world, if we choose to focus our energies inward, rather than outward by criticizing others.
When you criticize others, you are just moving yourself farther away from your own brilliant light within, which is your true Self. So when you start criticizing others, take a mirror up to yourself, and you will only see a reflection of that ugly wicked witch and self hate. Your true inner Being is yearning to shine its light out into the world, so rather than criticize others, mesmerize others with your magnificent Self.
By Moon Cho, Creator of Ying & Yang Living