Monday, September 7, 2009

Who Am I Looking At?

When I walked with a friend recently, I found it rather depressing instead of fun, because he was criticizing what's going on in the world, and all the people in the world, whether local, national, or even international. It made the walk rather dreary.

After I got home, and was complaining to myself about how critical he was about everything, I suddenly had a moment of clarity in which I realized I had been critical even before he was. I had doubted his identification of a bird we spotted because, to me, the color appeared wrong for that particular bird. I hadn't even noticed that I was being critical.

How easy it is to blame other people for the same things we do! How much easier to pass judgment on something when somebody else does it than when I do it. It made me wonder how often I do that without knowing it. In the days since this realization hit me, whenever I've caught myself criticizing something, I've had to ask myself, "Am I saying something about me?" Sometimes I'm not, and sometimes I am. Yikes! It has made me painfully aware of how automatically I can turn the spotlight on someone else to keep it off myself.

Seeing my own shortcomings isn't necessarily a signal for self-flagellation, but rather, for being honest with myself about what I do. If I don't see it, I can't change it, and if it's something I dislike in others, I definitely want to change it. Again, it's the same old thing: I want to treat others the way I'd like to be treated. Will I ever learn? I hope so.