No matter how disappointing the behavior, I believe that everyone is doing their best. It’s easy to judge someone else and say what they should or should not be doing. And we may even be right. But seeing someone else’s faults is completely different than seeing our own.
I used to be pretty critical and judgmental (and I still can go there pretty quickly): one of those ‘my sh** doesn’t stink’ kind of people. But then I learned and accepted the fact that the qualities we tend to hate in others are the faults we hate in ourselves. So if I say you’re judgmental and lazy, it’s really my own judgement and laziness that I hate.
So I’ve learned to shut up to avoid adding hypocrite to the list.
Doing our best notwithstanding, we have a particular responsibility toward our kids. Our hypocrisy and judgment might roll off the back of an adult who may emerge relatively unscathed or unfazed by our criticism. It’s completely different with children. Those messages come loud and clear to kids, and those judgments get etched into their psyches. In this manner, I believe our children inherit our unresolved issues and carry them into the next generation. Until someone breaks the cycle of denial and passivity, those issues will get handed down through the generations.
Our parents came to the US to give their daughters a better life. And they did. We had every educational opportunity possible. We never wanted for food, shelter or clothing. For our children, I want to give them a better emotional and psychological start by dealing with my issues so they don’t have to. They’ll have their education, of course, but that’s not enough for me. I want them to have peace, tranquility and a feeling of being loved and accepted just as they are.
Not everyone is ready for this journey; I get that. But please consider that the possibility of your hidden, unresolved issues unwittingly bleeding over to your kids is real. We take great pains to lock our doors at night and wash our hands to keep our families safe. You wouldn’t want to expose your family to measles, flu or MRSA, which are mostly pretty treatable and temporary. Infecting them with a feeling they are not loved or worthy could last a lifetime and even multiple generations.
I know it’s scary to look inside and possibly find you come up short in some ways. Know that we all do, as you probably know by looking at others. You know those around you are struggling to be good and do good. You forgive them (I hope) for their humanity. Consider granting yourself that same kindness and doing the same for yourself; you’ll find your flaws are no different (better or worse) than anyone else’s. You’ve seen it all. You know what it’s like. So there’s nothing in there that you haven’t seen or know how to solve. You’ve been telling others how to fix these things your whole life. You might be surprised it’s a huge relief to deal with that nagging problem once and for all. The irony is that once you accept your own faults, it becomes easier to accept the faults of others.
So don’t be afraid. You have everything to gain and nothing more to lose by being brave. As my man William Shakespeare says, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”