Paintings, Instagram and Mirrors

Bill_Clinton_-_Presidential_portraitVisit a presidential library in the U.S and you will see the great history of presidential portraits that adorn the walls. They capture these great men in different emotions and poses but one thing is consistent. …they all look for the most part…presidential, and it’s not too much to assume that if the president of the greatest country in the world does not like the depiction, he can say…let’s do it over. Sound familiar?

You are out and about and someone takes your picture. You dash over to the camera and say “let me see that before you post it on Facebook”. It wasn’t your best side so you say “Let’s take that again”. I don’t like my makeup in that picture” Take it again…I was closing my eyes”. “Send it to me and I’ll post it”. We get the picture and then we “instagram” the heck out of it. We get the right color, the right texture and tone. We create a perfect picture of ourselves and then we “share” with the world.

A Mirror is a little different…it has no creative power of its own. It can only…only show what you give it to show. It will only reflect exactly what it sees. It is completely objective and reflects the details despite how you feel. No matter how presidential you’d like to be or how much you only want to share your instagrammed persona, a mirror doesn’t add what is not there and it doesn’t take out what is. It shows you for exactly who you are in that moment.

What many of us ask for from those around us is a painting…paint me a picture of myself (make it colorful, make my hair shinier, make my pose stronger, make my chin more masculine, make my bust more attractive…make my character more Goldy, make my more spiritual, make be a better friend, father, mother, make me considerate, polite, loving, appreciative, giving…make me look good.

When we ask for opinions or ask for feedback from those around us, what many of us do is ask for an instagrammed picture of ourselves. We want them to take a picture of us, and then show us the Instagrammed version. We decide what to show more or less of, we clean up the background, we crop, and we pick the color tone that makes us look our best. Let’s not even talk about Photoshop.

We ask for paintings or instagrammed opinions when what we really need is for people in our lives to hold up a mirror…an objective depiction of who we are. A clear complete picture that reflects both the good and the bad without any embellishment or gold plating. Painted or Instagrammed feedback is good sometimes. They help us see ourselves for who we have the potential to be. They help us see what “could” happen with just a few minor changes. But mirror-like feedback is just as important if not more.

Good friends hold up mirrors for you more than they paint you portraits or instagram their thoughts of you before they share them with you. Good friends are good painters when we need then to be but they are always great mirror holders.

The problem with many of us is that we cannot handle the truth about ourselves. We have such an insatiable thirst to be validated that we ignore our need to be real with ourselves. We ignore objective feedback. We ask for feedback only when we think we are at our best so that the feedback is likely to be good. We ask “how do I look” when the makeup is done and the dress is hugging our curves. We ask “what did you think of my car” when it’s all new and the feedback is probably going to be positive. We talk about when we fasted for 10 days but rarely about when we couldn’t resist that donut. We talk about our acts of kindness but don’t say a peep about moments we KNOW we were completely inconsiderate and selfish. We want our friends to console us during a breakup and tell us that ex didn’t deserve us but we don’t want to hear that we were selfish, we nagged, were emotionally overbearing, or controlling. We want to hear that we are beautiful or handsome the way we are, but don’t want to hear that we have terrible eating and health habits, that the dress we have on is too tight for our weight and that yes we may need to work harder than people with faster metabolism.

We don’t like negative feedback. We want to walk the hallway of our lives and admire the paintings on the wall of ourselves in all our glory…while walking in rugged clothing. We want to scroll down on that electronic device and see our instagrammed persona gracing the “pages” of our friends and families and we flip when someone posts a non-glamorous picture of us on Facebook.

We would rather that, than work on ourselves, improve our selves and place mirrors around the hallway to depict us for who we really are…both the good and the bad.

We train our friends and family to be so aware and cautious of our feelings that they can never give us mirror-feedback. We train them well to sugarcoat what they tell us even when we ask them tough questions….even when they know they have to give it to us like it is.

We do it at work, we do it in group projects at school, and we do it to each other.

What does this boil down to? Simple: We are terrible at taking objective feedback and criticism…even constructive criticism. It scares us. We associate unaccepatance, failure and some other really powerful stuff to it.

The truth though, is that we need objective feedback, we need constructive criticism. We need that person who will tell us like it is and point us in the right direction of thought and behavior, WITHOUT killing our spirit.

Don’t surround yourself with negative people who are just critical of everything and can’t be constructive. However, when you do have someone who has the capacity to be constructive and objective in their feedback, then you must work at being able to receive it. You must work at being able to give the right interpretation to what is being said.

Successful people don’t worry too much about “feelings” as in “how the feedback makes them feel” NO. They are more concerned with the soundness of the information itself. In the next installment(s) of Paintings, Instagram and Mirrors, we will talk about how to GIVE constructive criticism and how to RECIEVE constructive criticism.

So….get as many paintings of yourself as you want….get as many instagrammed impressions of your character, personality, job, spirituality, marriage, business, ministry as you want, but get some mirrors and get some good people in your life to hold them up.

Stay tuned for “How to GIVE constructive criticism” and “How to RECEIVE constructive criticism”. You and some people in your life may need to read that.
Like IJUSTMETME on Facebook  HERE and Subscribe on Youtube HERE for great content! Twitter is ijustmetme.  Feel free to comment below but certainly feel free to share this. (See the “Share” icon below)