We’re all tyrants inside

We all judge other people in some way or another. Even if we don’t say anything out loud, in our heads, we still evaluate them by the way they act, dress, or speak. 

E.g., for me this manifests when I see people on their phones in a cafe while they’re out with their friends or family; or if someone has books out on the table most likely with the intent to study but are the whole time on their phones instead.

I sometimes can’t but help to judge them in my head for wasting their time and being shallow. I know I’m not a better person than they are, but these thoughts come nevertheless - whether I want them or not. Why is that? Why is it that we judge other people? 

After all, we’re not “better” than they are. We’re all equal as human beings. Besides, maybe they read a book on their phone, maybe they’re doing a business deal, maybe they’re helping a friend - we don’t know. So why judge?

Wouldn’t it be ironical for me - who’s trying to figure out my life - to judge someone who unbeknown to me is conducting a business deal worth thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more!) on their phone? Silly, but we do this a lot. Our own lives might be a mess, yet we want to teach other people how to live.

I’ve found an interesting correlation. When I’m stepping up in my life, doing my own thing, keep improving, then I don’t pay attention to other people or how they live their lives. I don’t really care as I’m focused on my own thing. These things don’t even register in my brain. I might see, but I don’t really “see.” The same way you might see ads on the street - seeing but not focusing on them.

People who are realized in their own life never criticize others. When we see others beginning to live their authentic selves, it drives us crazy if we have not lived out on our own.

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

I believe our inner tyrant arises in us when we’re not living our lives. We stop being the actor - the active force and become a spectator instead. Spectating not ourselves but for others. We stop being at the cause and start being at the effect instead.

You probably know some people who are always grumpy, complaining about others and everything. It’s not that they’re grumpy, it’s because they’re in pain. They’re drawn only to negativity because that’s what they’re focused on. They don’t see anything good about their own life so they mirror that outside - looking only for negative things so that their world view - that everything is bad - would make sense.

Therefore, if you spot yourself judging others, it’s a sign that you need to step up in your own life. It’s a great indicator that you need to change something.