Letting Go of Our Criticism of Others

We can't know what's right for another person. Sometimes we see what appears to us to be the lack of progress in another's life and have a feeling, "If they only did _______." But we can't know what's actually going on for them. Maybe they need to feel stuck for a while before they get the courage and energy to do something about it. Maybe they are okay as they are, and it's us that are uncomfortable with things as they are.

Sometimes what the other person is going through can remind us of something similar in us and this might make us uncomfortable. We're not ready to see it in ourselves, and we get involved with the other person's situation.

The over-involvement with another's life can become clutter for us. We're not served or taken care of, and it drains us. It helps not to blame ourselves when we see that we're living this way. Society encourages us to be critical of others. Newspapers, online sites, magazines, politicians, TV News talk shows, religious groups often review, sum up, and criticize other's lifestyles and actions. It's in the public consciousness.

Yesterday I caught myself having a critical opinion about another person's life. I had certainty what I believed was true. Then I noticed I felt depleted. It took a piece of me to support that way of thinking. I thought, "Nothing's worth losing the gold inside of me." The opinion of the other started to fade, and I started to feel replenished.

I had a client once who was angrily certain that her husband's boxes full of stuff were the source of the clutter problem in their home. So I had the husband come into the room and I asked him about the stuff in the boxes. He took a look in the boxes and turns out it was his wife's stuff. She was embarrassed and apoligized. She went from being caustic to vulnerable. Her attention was back on herself and though it was uncomfortable, she seemed the better for it.