There’s a low level hum in the background, basically always, telling me why I’m a Bad Person. Sometimes it’s “remember that time in high school where you said that dumb thing” or “you yelled at a car person unnecessarily yesterday” or “global warming is happening and you’re still flying 20,000 miles every year, you selfish ass” or whatever. Sometimes it’s just a kinda bad feeling without much content around it.
I always used to think that this was because I was judgmental towards other people. Like, I won’t tolerate it if someone parks in the bike lane for 5 seconds; I think their car should be immediately impounded and their license revoked, and when they get to the Pearly Gates, St Peter sends them to Purgatory for an extra 1000 years. Therefore, if I commit a traffic violation that’s approximately that bad, that shows that I am an equally awful person, in the grand scheme of things, and a hypocrite to boot. I judge other people, and then because of that I also judge myself.
But I had an interesting conversation today where someone suggested maybe it was the other way around. Like, I judge myself, and then because of that I also judge other people.
This has some interesting implications for how to address it. I kinda always thought “I better be nicer to other people, and eventually if I send enough love out into the universe, it might reach that judgmental voice in myself too.” But maybe instead I ought to just start by being nicer to myself.
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