Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What offends you

So I was reading this novel Bad Monkeys and was enjoying it when I had to pause over this one section. Two characters are talking when one says:

"Der schlechte Affe hasst seinen eigenen Geruch."

Tightly translated it is "The bad monkey hates his own smell." Loosely translated it means that people are most deeply offended by moral failings that mirror their own.

I've heard this before. And I've even seen it in action. Knew someone a long time ago that was always angriest at his kids when he thought they were lying - and he had a problem with "the check is in the mail" type statements. You see it with preachers who lament the lack of moral standing in their communities, and are outed sooner or later.

So I started thinking: What bothers me most about other people? Does it have a reflection on my own personal struggles?

I've been tough on my oldest son every once in a while for not living up to what I think his potential is; probably don't have to mention that this doesn't set well with him. Eventually I will catch myself, or more likely Nancy points it out to me, and then I apologize to him and we get back to a place where we both are enjoying our relationship. Not too long ago I took an extensive personality test and one of the results was that I was highly critical of myself. Here is what it said:

You recognize that self-improvement is the most important goal, because it is the means of achieving all goals. However, your strong interest in self-improvement combined with only a moderate level of self-acceptance indicates you may tend to be somewhat self-critical. Although at times you have healthy self-esteem, you may at other times make things a little difficult for yourself by being unnecessarily hard on yourself.

And maybe a little too hard on others close to me. Bad monkey!

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