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Question #90226 posted on 08/12/2017 2:50 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I've heard people say that the weakness we most vehemently despise in others is the weakness we hate most in ourselves.

I realize that no one, including me, is capable of impartially judging their own flaws, so maybe I'm in denial about mine. But that formulation has never struck a chord in me. I'd say the things that are hardest for me to put up with in others are constant complaining, obvious self-absorption, or a conviction that they're always right. Partly because those attributes drive me crazy, they're the ones that I've been most conscious about avoiding in myself. Of course there are tons of things I need to improve, but I usually feel like I'm doing pretty good on those three.

Would you say that things generally bother you in others mostly because they're a reflection of what you see in yourself? Why or why not?

-Not Carl Jung


Dear Karl Jang,

I'd say I experience a mix of the ideas presented by yourself and others. I find that I can sometimes have a very hard time interacting with people whom I see as socially awkward or in some way insecure and trying to overcompensate for their insecurity. I believe I react so strongly to these types of people because they remind me of how I used to be in high school. Not only was I awkward and insecure, I was also unaware that I was awkward and insecure, which makes things even worse when I think back on them.

So, I wouldn't say I cringe because I see a weakness that I'm currently struggling with, but I do get uncomfortable with former weaknesses that I now feel that I've grown out of. But maybe the whole reaction is born of some sort of subconscious fear that I actually haven't progressed and that I'm still awkward.

Our brains are complicated things, folks.

-Frère Philosophical


Dear Groucho Marx and his brother... Karl,

As it happens, my friend and I were talking about this very thing a couple of weeks ago! It's an interesting thought. We found it applicable for ourselves to some extent, but with some changes. For us at least, it's wasn't so much about what you struggle with necessarily but more what you value and (like you say in your comment) what you avoid displaying in yourself.

In my friend's case, for example, he really values being on time. A really big pet peeve of his is when others are late. One of our mutual friends is a lot more laid back, and so things between them can get heated. He makes an effort to go to places on time and feels like when she doesn't try, she doesn't care as much about what they're doing. So he's never really had a weakness for being places on time but he's very conscious of it and doesn't understand why someone else wouldn't prioritize that.

One of my annoyances is when people are overtly self-absorbed and put their own interests above others. In my case, it is an insecurity-related thing because I value selflessness/compassion for others a lot and worry that people see me as narcissistic or rude. That is generally how I see myself. So when I see other people who try to draw attention to themselves or are blatantly selfish, it irks me. It's hard for me to understand why they'd act that way when I try hard to fight that part of me. My annoyances/insecurities would more align with your theory than my friend's would exactly.

I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this, but it seems like the weaknesses we find most annoying in others could be more based on what we value than what we struggle with exactly. But hey, I'm not Carl Jung, either. I'm just an English major whose grip on life is so far removed this semester that I literally had spaghetti for breakfast today. So, you know, take what I'm saying with a considerable grain of salt.

-Van Goff


Dear you,

I disagree. It is clear to me that, while any sin unrepented of is sufficient to leave a person fallen, there are still some sins that are objectively worse than others. It's perfectly rational (and appropriate) to be more upset about someone who, say, abuses their spouse than about someone with a bad habit of saying a particular cuss word or coming to Church late. The ability to recognize relative evil is, I would say, part of mankind's basic conscience regardless of which temptations an individual is particularly prone to to.

~Anne, Certainly


Dear Carl Alt,

I find that, as far as I can tell, I subconsciously hold others to the same standard that I hold myself. This can be a problem, because it means that I sometimes forget to congratulate or thank people for doing normal things that I wouldn't expect congratulations or thanks for. It also means that I have a hard time tolerating traits and behaviors in others that I don't tolerate in myself. In this way, I agree with Frère Rubik that I cringe the most at weaknesses that I've already overcome.

-The Entomophagist


Dear Carlos,

I don't think it's as much about our weaknesses as it is about the traits we tend to personally focus on for whatever reason.