Sitting in Judgement…of Me

I hold myself to standards that, thankfully, I do not apply to anyone else. At least when I let myself down, I’m the only one I can be angry with.

Why do we expect so much from ourselves and so little from others?

In the recent crisis that has afflicted El Paso and completely crippled the city, I find myself wondering how it came to be that I find myself questioning whether I should pick up the slack for others in the city who don’t feel the need to obey restrictions on water and other utilities. It throws into sharp perspective how self-centered and entitled I can be sometimes.

I am bothered by the fact that we are being told to consume as little water as possible (to the point of not bathing ourselves). I don’t like that I am paying for bottled water when I have a perfectly fine filter in the refrigerator. I don’t like that there is an eminent possibility that we may, as a city, run out of water.

Then I remember that I have a warm home to sleep in. I have a nice, soft bed to crawl into at night. I have food to eat and clean clothes to wear. My pipes didn’t burst, and my ceiling didn’t cave in. I have a car to take me where I need to go to acquire the things that will make this whole experience easier. And don’t these things count for something?

Realizing this question has led me to ponder myself as a person and whether or not I am as good and decent as I like to think I am. This is no attempt to garner self-worth from external sources of validation. I’m just wondering when it is going to be enough. Will I ever be happy with what I have? The very fact that I have to ask this question of myself is painfully telling. I know what the answer should be. I know what I would like for my answer to be. I also know what my reality has become, and I am ashamed.

Funnily enough, I don’t hold other people to the same standards. You can want what you want when you want it and get it and go on wanting as much as you like, and I think no less of people who live that way. I almost expect it of everyone else, and I wonder if they expect the same thing of me. The difference is that there comes a moment when I stop and chastise myself for thinking and behaving the way I do. Then I continue doing what I’ve always done. I wonder how many of us think these things and never say anything about them. We just go on living the way we want to fulfill what we believe to be everyone else’s expectations.

Is this how life really is? Is this how it’s going to be?

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