Illuminations Newsletter 80
Why do we criticize others? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur said that we find fault in others because of our absolute lack of humility.
But why do we notice the mistakes of another person (when we are not obliged to do this), if this does not help us, or this person, or anyone else? This question has always worried me. Thinking about it, I found 37 answers (37 reasons why we look for flaws in others). In this newsletter, I will share these answers with you.
As you read through this list, you may want to note the reasons that apply most to you (and you may want to add other items as well). I hope you find this exercise of introspection helpful in “taming” your tendency to, as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura put it, “poke your nose into the faults of others.”
(Note: This is an exercise from my online forgiveness course.)
I wish you always think of Krishna.
Why do we blame and criticize others :
- To make yourself look better, you make the other person look worse by criticizing them.
- When you look at others as competitors, you try to downplay them by criticizing them.
- Your dissatisfaction with yourself (lack of self-acceptance) causes the beauty, skill, and intelligence of others to seem like a threat to you.
- You don’t feel like acknowledging the other person’s high level of success, and you criticize them to make them seem less successful.
- You become intolerant of others’ mistakes (for various reasons) and believe that you can put them in their place or even make them suffer by letting others know how and why they failed.
- You compensate for your low self-esteem with arrogance, which manifests itself (among other things) as asserting your superiority through criticism.
- You have unmet emotional needs and expect others to fulfill them; when they don’t (or can’t), you criticize them.
- You are trying to alleviate your feelings of resentment by blaming others.
- Your ego resists seeing and admitting your own mistakes. Therefore, you focus on other people’s mistakes, shortcomings and failures.
- You tend to think that the glass is half empty, and therefore you focus more on the bad in others than on the good.
- You see your shortcomings in others; you don’t fix them in yourself, you blame others for having these flaws (when you see their flaws, it reminds you of yours).
- You criticize others for their success and blame them for your failures.
- You tend to see yourself as a victim and naturally criticize or blame your abusers.
- Your benchmark is the “gold standard”. In other words, you find it hard to put up with the words or actions of those who don’t live up to your standards.
- You see the world in black and white and criticize those who disagree with you.
- You have such an urgent need to correct others that you let the whole world know what is wrong with those who do not live up to your values or do not share your beliefs.
- You have beliefs that demonize people of other religions, ethnic groups, or countries. And your criticism confirms your beliefs and your “righteousness”.
- You are frustrated in life and vent evil by criticizing or blaming everyone and everything.
- You believe that other people have selfish or dishonest motives and therefore criticize their benevolent actions. (Assumption about other people’s motives is a projection of your own motives onto the other person.)
- You listen and read about the shortcomings of others (one has to wonder why we have such a desire) and spread the news.
- You criticize those who you think are using or exploiting you.
- You feel that life is more unfair to you than to others, and therefore you criticize the success of those who have unfairly received advantages, or criticize them for not sharing their advantages with you.
- You feel that you are entitled to special treatment or status, and when you don’t get it, you begin to criticize those who should provide it to you (or should arrange for it to be provided to you).
- You have a strong need to be right, which manifests itself in feeling a strong need to make others wrong.
- You try to draw attention to yourself or express your feelings, but you lack the ability to do it right, and therefore you attract attention only with the help of criticism.
- You are an expert in a certain field (or fields of activity or knowledge) and criticize or accuse others of ignorance or lack of such abilities.
- When you are misunderstood, your frustration shows up as you criticize others’ inability to understand you.
- You feel rejected (by the other person’s words or behavior) and condemn that person for rejecting you.
- Out of revenge, you want to dishonor or humiliate a person in order to get even with him.
- You are frustrated and angry at a certain family, group, club, organization or company (or at the whole world), believing that they have treated you badly or unfairly, and therefore speak ill of them.
- You defend yourself by criticizing those who criticize you.
- You criticize those who try to control you, dictate terms to you, or “teach you how to live.”
- You criticize those who have authority in your organization, believing that their actions are incapable of solving the problems of the organization, that they are insensitive to the needs of members of society, do not act in accordance with the goals of the organization, or do not have analytical thinking and are not able to plan.
- You criticize those who try to help you because Deny that you have a problem or flaw that they are asking you to work on.
- Your hard work, intelligence, skills or other contributions are not appreciated. And you criticize those who, in your opinion, should appreciate it (boss, parent, spouse, etc.).
- The other person gets the recognition you expected (or needed).
- You cannot stop criticizing others for lack of humility.
If you know of any other reasons for criticism that are not mentioned here that apply to you, please write them down and send them to me.
Write down your realizations, ideas, understandings and insights (if any) that you have received as a result of this exercise.
What attitude, perception, or behavior can you adopt to eliminate your own reasons for criticism and blame?
After all, the glass is half full when you are more positive and half empty when you are more negative, right?