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Why Do We Criticize Others? The Answer May Surprise You!

By Margaret Manning December 13, 2015 Mindset

When I was a young woman, I had the privilege of working with Elizabeth Kubler Ross. Elizabeth was a deep and wonderful woman, who taught me so much. I could write about her for hours, but, today, I just want to focus on one thing that Elizabeth said that has changed my life. She said, “We always criticize the things in other people that we fear most in ourselves.”

This is a difficult concept to understand and an even harder one for us to accept. After all, it gets to the heart of who we are as people. No one wants to feel like a hypocrite – but, this is exactly how we behave sometimes.

I can’t tell you the number of times that this quote has saved me from making a relationship-ending mistake. In fact, whenever I find myself getting angry with a friend or family member, I immediately ask myself “Am I so emotional about this issue because I secretly fear that I am doing the same?” More often than not, the unfortunate answer is “yes.”

Elizabeth Kubler Ross - We always criticize the things in other people that we fear most in ourselves

I’m not sure of the psychological reasons behind this truth. All I know is that it is true.

Watching yourself for this kind of hypocrisy is powerful for two reasons. First, it may prevent you from damaging a relationship based on false pretenses. Second, and perhaps more importantly, making yourself aware of what you criticize in others may teach you valuable lessons about yourself.

What are your thoughts about this? Please join the conversation below.

Do you agree with Elizabeth that we always criticize the things in others that we fear most in ourselves? Why or why not?

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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