“You would think that criticism would be the worst because criticism is a global condemnation of a person’s character. Yet contempt is a qualitatively different from criticism. With criticism I might say to my wife, ‘you never listen, you are really selfish and insensitive.’ Well, she’s going to respond defensively to that. That’s not very good for our problem solving and interaction. But if I speak from a superior plane, that’s far more damaging, and contempt is any statement that’s made from a higher level. A lot of the time it’s an insult: ‘you are a bitch you’re scum.’ It’s trying to put that person on a lower plane than you. It’s hierarchical.”
Blink pp. 33
Our relationships are probably the most important things we have in our life. Our family, our friends, our significant others, they all play a vital role in how we think, react and behave as people. The most deadly threat to any relationships is contempt. Even in a bond as strong as marriage, if that vile darkness seeps in, there is no hope.
But we can avoid it by remembering that we are not better than anyone else — just different. And different is good. Because life would be just too boring if we were all the same.