In response to our suggestion that "The thing that we can’t accept about ourselves is the thing we complain about in the other," someone asked, "I never understood this. Can you explain please?"
The idea is this: We are all capable, even if only in a small way, of whatever we might complain about in someone else.
The other day we were driving on the freeway in heavy traffic. A car approached from behind, traveling faster than the rest of us. At the last second, he swerved around us, into the path of the car in the adjacent lane, sped up, and zoomed back into our lane.
"The guy's crazy!" I said.
Joe put his hand on mine and said quietly, "Maybe his wife's in labor and all he's thinking about is getting there as soon as possible."
Those words brought me instantly to the awareness that what I was complaining about in this stranger—aggressive driving—is something I, too, am entirely capable of, given the right conditions. And endangering others—including my daughter in the back seat—is something I'd like to believe I don't do! But the truth is, sometimes I do. And while going into complaint makes me tense, the awareness that "this could be me" makes me a much safer driver.
If you could recognize that you are fully capable of doing whatever it is you're complaining about someone else doing, you'll be much more likely to have compassion for them—and for yourself.