Our criticisms reflect our limitations

Who I am
Robert Maurer


Our criticisms reflect our limitations

Last update: October 21, 2017

The limits and restrictions we encounter along our path are very often self-imposed. The resulting frustration, along with not wanting to account for the harsh reality, manifest themselves in the form of criticism of others.

But why do we want to brake ourselves? Out of fear, but above all for all the beliefs we hold onto and that we have never wanted or been able to question. However, this echoes in our life in the form of problems. We can find the solution in ourselves.

Whenever we criticize someone, let's ask ourselves: do I have this thing that I see in others?

The parable of the two monks

Let's follow the limits we impose on ourselves through the parable of the two monks. This parable contains a very profound teaching and allows us to see all the criticisms we address to others in a different perspective.

“Once upon a time there were two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, returning to their monastery after a long journey. It had rained, so the road was full of mud. As they passed a small village, they encountered a woman wearing a splendid golden kimono.

To continue on her journey, the young woman had to cross a huge pool of water. Faced with this obstacle, the girl became paralyzed thinking that if she wet her kimono, she would ruin it and her mother would scold her very severely. Without hesitating even for a moment, Tanzan approached the young woman and offered her help: he carried her on his shoulders to the other side of the pool. Then, both monks continued their journey.

When they arrived at the monastery, Ekido, who had been annoyed for the rest of the journey, scolded his companion in a sour tone:

- Why did you take that young woman in your arms? You know our grades forbid it.

Tanzan did not get upset, looked at his travel companion and replied with a smile:

- I loaded that young woman a few hours ago, but you still have it on your shoulders ”.

"Justify your limits and you will continue to have them"

-Richard Bach-

With this parable we can realize that, despite Tenzen having made a nice gesture, for his partner the sense of duty and limitations were more important. Yet, as we have seen, he didn't say a word about what he was thinking until a few hours later.

This gives us the opportunity to reflect on the habit of brooding, on those thoughts that continue to move in our mind and which, in reality, are not productive at all. Ekido's criticism expressed a conflict present in his mind, with which he himself was limiting himself to doing what he had undoubtedly thought of at first glance, that is to help the young woman.

Great lessons to get rid of the limits

Have you ever criticized someone for not dressing properly? Certainly part of you would like not to have done this, because you may not feel comfortable in your own clothes. Sometimes we do not realize that our criticisms reflect the limits we have imposed on ourselves. Because regardless of the rules, of what is "acceptable", the last word is always up to us.

To get rid of limits and to start reading criticism as a way of seeing part of ourselves, it is important to think about the present. If we want to do something or behave in a certain way, let's not stop and think if it will be good, if they will look at us badly or otherwise.

Let's do it and then get away from the situation, just as Tanzan did. Because if we stop to listen to our own limitations, we will end up carrying an unnecessary burden. Nor can we forget that this burden will increase as similar situations recur.

It is also important to learn to question our beliefs. We think, in fact, that they make us better people if we follow them to the letter. However, actions carry more weight. Having very rigid beliefs will prevent us from being free to act in the way required by the moment. We will create barriers, we will limit ourselves and, consequently, we will not be well.

Stop asking questions such as "should I or can I do this?" Begin to prioritize the question "do I want to do this?".

Beliefs are there to be questioned, criticisms are there to help us see aspects of ourselves that we don't know. All this is not an opportunity to deny what we do not want to accept, but to learn and mature. We all have limits, but many of them we have set ourselves. Very often we get stuck in our thoughts instead of acting as we would like at that precise moment.

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