People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

People shouldn’t judge or criticize someone else for having the same flaws that they have. By doing so, it takes the focus off of themselves and onto someone else, creating a nice little buffer of cognitive dissonance.

It’s easier for people to take what they don’t like about themselves and find the same weaknesses or flaws in another person and be vocal about it. It temporarily relieves the uncomfortable feelings they have about themselves. For example, Mary cheated on her history exam. She discovers that John did, too, and she criticizes John for doing the same thing. Mary is taking her own feelings about her own actions and focusing her energy on being critical of John for the same action. Yes, it’s hypocritical. But behind that hypocrisy, is insecurity that we will all likely face at some point in our lives. So how do we learn not to throw stones if we are living in that glass house?

Instead of focusing your feelings on what happens externally, focus on how you are feeling about yourself. Are you proud of the things you are doing? Would you do them around people who you want to respect you? Focus on what works for you in your life and less on what other people do. When someone does something and your first reaction is to criticize what they did, ask yourself the real reason why it bothers you. Is it because you do the same thing and feel bad about it?

Now, if you see a problematic or destructive behavior in someone else, and you want to point it out to “help” them, but you are doing the same exact thing, you still have to look internally first. You will not be a credible person if are doing the same thing as them. You may mean well, but you will not be effective in reaching them. So what do you do? You have to get yourself together and get on the right path. Then you will be credible. Then you will be an inspiration. Then you might give them insight into themselves.

Everyone has done things at some point in their lives that they are not proud of. It’s part of human growth and learning who you are. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other people are doing. You just need to be worried about what you’re doing and whether or not you are consistently make progress to become the best version of yourself.

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