The above sentence can be true in almost every situation. I know a lot of critical people (in fact, I am one of them– uh oh!) and the one thing I know about highly critical/judgmental people is that they hold themselves to really high and often self-defeating standards.
The way we judge others tells us a lot about how we judge ourselves. We pay a lot of lip service to “oneness” in yoga despite living our daily lives under a thick cloud of delusion. We judge THAT person, THAT thing, as if it has nothing to do with us.
We delude ourselves if we believe that thinking another yoga teacher is too inexperienced/arrogant/human/fill-in-the-blank to be successful does not affect our thoughts and behavior. When we believe another’s writing is undeserving of praise or publication, it affects the standards we set for ourselves and when we think someone is not attractive/smart/ nice/emotionally stable/fill-in-the-blank enough to deserve love, we will invariably hold ourselves to the same impossible ideal.
I once told my highly critical friend with low self-esteem that maybe if he went easy on others, he wouldn’t be so hard on himself. He agreed, saying that he always felt justified in his harsh criticisms because he never lets himself off the hook either.
This turns the notion of “you can only love others if you love yourself first” around. If you love others and accept them for their flaws, would that automatically allow you to breathe easier, to instantly love yourself? If we really are all one and the same inside– assholes and angels– maybe it makes sense to let others off the hook once in a while, if only to let ourselves off the hook too.
Ahhhh. Collective Sigh of Relief.