A moral purist who is quick to judge others often fails to see the flaws within himself. When someone criticizes another, you might think he deserves it. But if you look more closely, you’ll see that the critic is complaining because he did not get his way. So do not be so easily swayed. When you attack someone, it is often because you are afraid. A friend starts talking ill of someone you don’t like, and you agree wholeheartedly. But then you can’t help but wonder, When I’m not around, does she speak ill of me too? Gossip can be cathartic in the moment, but it travels fast and can bite you back.
The reason you regard anyone as pure and compassionate is that you are pure and compassionate yourself. When people who don’t know you well admire you, they are seeing their projected illusion, not your real self. In contrast, when people who know you well respect you, it is probably because you deserve it. Some ask if swallowing your pride is conceding defeat. I don’t think so. Humility is a sign of inner strength and wisdom. When you swallow your pride, real communication becomes possible. We can finally hear each other and eventually solve our problems.
Excerpt From: Haemin Sunim. “The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World”.