I'm guilty. I
O! beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.
~William Shakespeare, Othello
You see, most of the time, when I catch myself judging someone I can trace it back to jealousy, insecurity or even a fault in myself that I see reflected back from someone else's behavior. The easiest for me to identify is when I say something like '(insert a beautiful famous person's name here) isn't really all that pretty' (I said this last night about Britney Spears and then had to correct myself later, she is beautiful). I know that the source of this is my own insecurity. It's more of a reflection of my own self-doubt than of someone else's beauty and actually makes me less attractive inside (which really is all that matters anyway, right?).
But I also found that when a friend's behavior kinda rubs me the wrong way it's often an indicator that we share a trait that I don't particularly care for in myself. Maybe I don't like how much so-and-so gossips, or brags, or plays victim, or seeks attention, or meddles into every one's business. But if I sit there quietly and ask myself why it bothers me so much (especially when it doesn't really even affect me) the answer may be hard to swallow. It's as if a mirror is being held up to my own face.
It is never wise to seek or wish for another's misfortune. If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang. ~Charley Reese
It's the ultimate in deflecting because of course, I can claim they are much worse than me. I might even use the words 'well at least I don't...' or 'I may be ____ but at least I'm not that ____'. What 'we' (because I don't think I'm alone here) are really pushing is the idea that we are the lessor of two evils (well, if you don't count the shit talking we're doing).
One of the most important things I learned from judging others was that it wasn't them that needed to change. It was me. I was the one judging (and if they were doing the same that was their business) but for my own growth (and sanity) it was important for me to learn and at least try to change. My jealously was making me less...not because their success was stealing my joy or sucking up all of the goodness or beauty available in the world, but by making me into that girl...the one who thought that knocking someone else down would somehow lift me up.
There's enough love and beauty in the world for all of us have...it's an endless supply, which means we don't have to "take" it from one person and give it to another. When I see a beautiful flower it doesn't mean that some other flower shrivels up a little and becomes ugly...like a sacrafice to the other's beauty. Same with people...whether it's inner or outer beauty there is plenty to go around (not to mention it already exists in each and every one of us...though we often can't see it through our green-eyed veil).
There's a beautiful piece from Elephant Journal I came across this morning that speaks about this...I hope you take a moment to read it here.