Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My sister-in-law finds fault in everything I do.
She tells me I’m too easy on my kids. She tells me ways I should lose weight. She says my job is easy and I should have extra time to take our children to more activities, like dance and soccer.
My job is very time-consuming and challenging. She’s a yoga teacher and teaches four classes a week at a well-known facility, where she doesn’t have to worry about publicity or marketing herself. I’ve told her countless times how many programs and meeting schedules I am responsible for and she just makes smirky faces. I do much of my work from home, which is actually harder on me, so I can be available for my family.
I’m especially offended because she tells the rest of our large family the same things! I can’t win no matter how hard I try. My husband says to stop worrying about it, but he only receives rave reviews from her.
I know I’m far from perfect, but she makes it seem like I’m a rotten mom and person.
Not good enough
People who constantly find fault with others usually have many insecurities about themselves and criticize and judge others harshly. But that is your sister-in-law’s problem, not yours.
You are owning something (her definitions of you) that’s not yours to own. She’s avoiding working on her own problems because they’re difficult. They require self examination and deep reflection on building her own character.
She does not know your intentions, your heart, your goodness, and your efforts.
She’s taken a position of superiority and you have accepted it. You might say, “I love being in this family, but we all have flaws and imperfections. I’ve decided to concentrate on my own improvements. Please keep your comments to yourself.”
Only you have all the background, knowledge, and wisdom … and hopefully self-love, to define yourself. That’s why we always say: Define Yourself Before Others Do meaning you can take stock of what others say about you and if you decide there’s enough truth to it, then you can decide to make changes in yourself.
Your sister-in-law — and others in our culture who incessantly judge, criticize, and examine behavior in others before their own selves — need to realize they are setting a poor example for our youth, who need the freedom to experiment (and fail without condemnation) while they decide to make choices about who they want to be.
Our New Year’s wish is that more people will stop thinking they are “better-than,” by pointing out faults with others who they deem “less-than.”
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri