Friday, September 28, 2007

When the Three-Finger Rule Stalks Me

Do you ever feel like the Universe is trying to communicate with you about the mystery of your own existence?

Do you ever feel like it is conking you on the head with that information?

Yeah. Me too.

The thing that keeps conking me on the head is this "three finger rule" I talk and blog about fairly regularly. I mean, I get it, ok? When I point my finger at someone else's behaviors or faults, those three other fingers are unmistakably pointing right back at me, telling me I do it too, and how, and reminding me that I need to shut up and worry about my own business.

Please put down the finger and step away from the condemnation and nobody will get hurt.

So WHY OH WHY do I keep pointing fingers? Why, I ask you????

Human nature...blah...nobody's perfect...blah blah...momentarily taking the attention off of your own flaws...blah blah blah!!!

As always, there's a sticking point. (If there's one thing you can count on in life, it's the sticking points!)

I believe the reason I keep pointing fingers is that I honestly believe I've discovered that one fatal flaw in others that I simply don't subscribe to in my daily living. Ha! You can hear it sticking already can't you?

So yeah. I'm pointing my finger because I still can't see myself. I'm still hopping around, like my anti-hero Rumpelstiltskin, thinking I can't possibly be mistaken--that surely I've outsmarted the Royalty and I will get my way at last and have the last laugh.

Not so my friends. Not so.

The more convinced I am that I do not possess the dreaded trait, the more surely it is sublimated most deeply in my life. In other words...I just can't see it because I've hidden it so well. Not just from others, but also from myself.

All I can say is that I'm so glad I didn't post the draft of the blog where I lambasted the world around me for being devoid of this one particular quality. Eating one's own words is never a pleasant experience. And it doesn't help with the personal credibility either!

So trust me when I tell you that the more you shriek and stomp about how something really pisses you off in others because you are soooooooooooo good at not doing the same thing yourself, the more the Universe is waiting to boomerang-toomerang-zoomerang you.


Right in the head. From behind or right between the eyes. It matters not. It's still a humbling zinger nonetheless. And I promise you. Your time will come. It's a law of human nature to project disdain onto others for the purpose of diverting attention away from the only being capable of making a change. We do it to make ourselves feel righteous, but if we would just put on our spectacles, we would see that the specks in our neighbors' eyes don't compare with the wood in our own.

The bottom line is that we have to be still and pay attention. Notice what we want to point at and then notice our own thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Finding our own flaws is rather like sneaking up on a wild animal--let's say a big cat who lives in the dense jungles. First we find evidence...the scat of our behavior. What do we leave behind...what are the residuals...the by-products? What do we keep pointing at? Once we know the big cat lurks nearby, we have to watch, watch, watch for signs. They won't be obvious, but they will be there if we are patient and keep our eyes peeled.

Eventually we see the glowing eyes, the pearly teeth, and hear the low rumble in the chest that lets us know the cat is right here, right now. We see the wild thing in our nature that needs taming. We see the dark side of ourselves. We see where the other three fingers have been pointing all along.

Only then can we stop pointing elsewhere and either acknowledge that we are all flawed somehow or start working to tame the tiger. Either way, the focus is back where it belongs...on the one person whose circumstances and responses and actions we can actually do something about.

So quit pointing and take a safari into your very own soul. You won't believe what you'll find in your own jungles!

© Nicole J. Williams, 2007, all rights reserved.


Camellia said...

Oh the mirror. the three finger rule. The wild rumpus. Thanks for writing.

Allyn Evans said...

I loved this article and kept thinking to myself while reading...this woman needs a column in a newspaper or magazine!

Ditto for the one you posted on too.