And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3)
1. Before you criticize someone else, look to yourself. Scour your conscience, and see if you do what you are about to criticize them for.
2. If so, first ‘cast out the beam out of thine own eye’. This means working to change your own behavior first.
3. Once you have changed your own behavior, return and help the other person through constructive criticism, or whatever is relevant.
So the habit is to reflexively look to oneself before criticizing, and honestly search to see if one does the thing one is about to criticize someone else for.
It is easy for us to have blindspots about our own behavior, so this has to be an honest search. Take at least 1 minute to search.
The basic pattern is “this person is wrong about x” -> “do I do x in some way, shape, or form?” -> put in the work to change one’s own actions -> use that experience to help the other person.
The human impulse to blame others is at the base of scapegoating, which in turn is responsible for much of the problems in our own lives, and in the world in general. So, first look to yourself! This not only decreases the negative emotions in one’s life, it is ultimately empowering, as the spark that used to lead to blame begins instead to lead to an inner transformation that helps you and, ultimately, can help the person you’re about to blame.