This week I received an email from a very dear friend of mine. It was filled with many heart-felt, introspective thoughts; everything from changing outward appearances to the meaning of our own, sometimes insignificant life. It delved into some difficult questions with the most confusing one being “who am I”? Why do we make plans to become someone and then outside circumstances force us in other directions? Then after all our mundane work, perhaps we end up being someone whom we don’t even recognize. This letter was frankly one of the most sincere, self-contemplating letters I had ever seen. As someone who is dedicated to empowering others, my response would be a true test of my own life’s journey.
While reading this email, I envisioned this person standing in front of a mirror and looking directly into the eyes of that reflection while asking and pondering everything written within. Fighting back the tears which would ultimately accompany these complicated and confounding questions, how does one find answers to what seems the most basic questions which nearly every human being who has walked on this planet has asked?
When we look at ourselves in the mirror, the changes which need to be made are quite apparent. Our reflection stares back at us for as long as we wish to stand there and critique ourselves. But the unseen flaws are frequently the ones which need changing the most. If those problems and obstacles were apparent and looking right back at us, no doubt we would take immediate steps to fix them. The dilemma is that we can’t always see or don’t know what those difficulties and flaws are. Consequently, when there is no problem, there is no need for a solution.
Do you know someone who has a particular fault or annoying habit and you can’t understand why it’s not glaringly apparent to them? Have you next thought how much more you would like this person if they were able to change that behavior? It is obvious that person doesn’t understand what it is that needs to be changed. Now, have you ever considered that others might be saying the same about you?
As I like to say, sometimes self-growth sucks! There is no other way to put it. We don’t like seeing shortcomings or failings in our own lives but unless we see them for ourselves, the issues will remain undetected. Because they reveal truths about us that we don’t like or are sometimes even ugly, it is always painful. But the growth we experience from working through these issues will constantly outweigh the pain. The best way to search for these faults is continually to ask questions – similar to the ones insightfully composed in the email I received.
The next article will discuss ways to conquer these challenges but for now, keep asking the questions. Write them in the comments below and if you have thoughts on your own empowerment, please feel free to share those as well.
The photo is a decorative mirror provided by Venicio, an architectural art glass company. Thank you and I look forward to your comments.