Compliments of wild trees via Flickr

Compliments of wild trees via Flickr

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

It’s easy to point your finger, feel accusatory, pass judgment, and assess blame – to stand back with self-righteousness indignation and proclaim “There now. They did it!” A recipe for frustration is expecting everyone around you to self-modify, while you sit back smugly, self-satisfied, visualizing the worst from someone who has been (within your own mind) both finger printed and booked. What if we instead pointed the finger at ourselves?

In Reinventing You, Dorie Clark suggests assembling a focus group of family and friends to discover ways we may limit ourselves. An attitude of self-change puts us in the driver’s seat, instead of riding shotgun in the lives of others. Self-development is an overlooked aspect in any conflict situation; for example, how could I have done better? What could I do in the future that’s different (and more suited to the interaction at hand?) Could I be more flexible, more accommodating (less concerned with my own needs, and more focused on those of other people), or more giving?

Volunteering is a terrific prescription for self-entwinement – by refocusing on helping behaviors. Flaw finding is what we see from individuals who perform little self-examination. Similarly, if you’re in a supervisory position, have you asked yourself how you could engage in corporate ministry? Have you surveyed (or talked to your employees) regarding what would most benefit them, and then modified your behavior accordingly?

Self-reflection is in short supply for those who see their desired reflection in other persons – what frequently occurs in the presence of a power differential. I once asked a service provider how he was doing. He responded with an enthusiastic, “You tell me!”

If nothing else, “minute surveys” give someone else the impression that you care – and come with the added bonus of useful information for stipulated change.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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