Each person is a constellation of wonderful qualities, small, less visible virtues, and significant flaws.
Neither you nor I nor anyone can escape this. We are all inhabited by a genius and a saint, but also by a tyrant and a moron.
We all make mistakes in our lifetime, and we all do things we are ashamed of.
This is why those who criticize us have arguments that easily come to mind.
However, there are people who behave as if things are not as we just described them.
Without having the right or even good reasons, some people turn into implacable judges of others.
They are able to make a list of the faults of those around them, with a great deal of detail.
They feel able to determine what actions others must take to get out of their mistakes, even they think they can guide their way to avoid making mistakes.
They quickly become intolerant of the slightest failure.
When criticism is constant and embodied, it is most likely that the objects on which it relies are no longer the mistakes you make, but rather the manifestations of a defense mechanism known as “projection”.
That is to say that these people see you as a mirror: they criticize in you what they do not like about themselves.
Those who criticize you
In the same way that we are all admirable to some extent, we are also all open to criticism.
If you are looking for moral flaws in Saint-François d’Assises, you will find them. If you are looking for silly quotes from Albert Einstein, you will find some as well.
It is precisely here that the heart of the problem lies: each one chooses what he sees and what he does not see in others.
Usually, this choice is associated with how the assessor perceives themselves.
That is to say that if she appreciates herself, she will see what is good in herself, and therefore also in others. And vice versa.
However, some people don’t just criticize by bringing out the worst in others, but they attack a particular person or group to make their scathing reviews more relevant. Why is this happening?
What they don’t like about themselves
Projection occurs in the following way: the person constructs an opinion of himself, which is often not very impartial or objective.
Some personality traits may even seem downright unacceptable to him.
For example, it could be someone who is deeply selfish in practice, even if he speaks in favor of solidarity when he is in public.
There he looks for false arguments to justify his selfish behavior.
He’s the type of person to say things like “ I care a lot about your loneliness, but unfortunately I don’t have time to come visit you ”.
These people want to see themselves as generous, but their selfishness prevents them from doing so. In reality, they are not aware that they are only concerned with their own interests and that they are not able to make concessions for others.
They genuinely believe that their pretexts are valid reasons for acting the way they are doing.
The problem is, when they detect selfish behavior in others, they will raise their voices to point it out and to protest.
They will be indignant and cry out from the rooftops for this conduct to be repressed. It seems inconceivable to them that someone could behave in this way.
If you ask them, they will tell you that their own arguments for being selfish are perfectly reasonable.
“ It’s not that I don’t want to, but the circumstances force me to “. Conversely, the reasons of others are always pure excuses.
What is going on at the bottom?
What really happens is that the failures of others, unconsciously, evoke their own failures.
They do not tolerate in others what they do not tolerate in themselves. In other words, they project their own mistakes onto others, so as not to stir the knife in the narcissistic plague that they fail to take on.
To criticize in order to criticize is always the fruit of a projection. It is quite normal to criticize those who carry the same faults as those we have.
But we don’t do it on purpose, we are hardly ever aware that we are doing it.
It is therefore important to be attentive to what we do not support in others.
If we sharpen our sense of observation, we can realize that this intolerance is exactly the same as that which we feel towards our shortcomings.
Likewise, when we are criticized, we should not take everything we are told into consideration.
We need to think about the reasons that made a person bring out these negative elements of our personality.
It is very likely that we will then come to the conclusion that the criticism, in reality, points to one of its dark sides, and not necessarily to one of our faults.
Images by Christian Schloe