Seeing red flags where there are none

Why is it that we can only see our flaws when spotting them in others?
I was listening to a friend rant about her siblings, numerating exactly the same arguments I have found myself using.
Of course, I could see the holes when others talked, but felt justified in my own matters.
Once the connection had been made however, I could not sit idly by.

Where I expected judgement,
I found kindness.

I finally told a family member about my substance abuse.
For some reason, I was sure their first response was going to be ‘why didn’t you tell me sooner?‘.
I selfishly wanted this to be about me, and not catering to others.
And I was dreading it so much I left it 8 months.
But when I did tell them, I encountered nothing of the sort.

“Thank you so much for telling me.
You are so strong, and I am so proud.”

Saying I was surprised would be an understatement.
I approached the situation openly, without expectations or defensiveness.
I laid out the facts, answered all questions, did not feel attacked when they did not understand addiction at first.
I talked about cross-addiction, and how the drug slowly turned on me.
Had I not made myself vulnerable, trusted that I might be wrong about this person and interaction, I would have robbed myself of a valuable lesson.

I stopped trying to control the situation,
and I stopped thinking that pre-judging
was control too.

Once we have spent too much time in dangerous waters, we see red flags everywhere.
Not just does the disappointment seemingly become too heavy to bear, but focusing on others allows us to become complacent in the self-growth department.
When we see flaws in others, we do not fix them within ourself.
We do indulge in self-pity, but the guilt paralyses us – changing seems insurmountable.
But what is change if not proving ourselves wrong, one scary conversation at a time?

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