Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Looking at Yourself, Objectively

Personal Development Seminar (9)
Personal Development Seminar (9) (Photo credit: TijsB)
by Marilyn L Davis

When someone asks you to look at some aspect of yourself that you find objectionable, you will notice that you become defensive, angry, embarrassed, or impolite.

You will sometimes become openly hostile to the individuals who are trying to point something out to you. This hostility should be a clue for you. The immediate question you need to ask yourself is, "What am I defending?"

You may discover it is your ego; it can be your illusion of yourself that you have wanted to project, or it may be that you still judge particular aspects of your behavior as so bad that you absolutely refuse to acknowledge that they are part of you.

The only way to determine if there is truth in what is being put out for you to look at is to quietly, objectively take in what is being said and see if it is true; honestly determine the truth or lack of it for yourself about yourself. Becoming defensive, argumentative, and combative will not allow you to look at anything.

It is easy to become defensive when your family, employer, or your peers focus on your short-comings, but they all have a responsibility to help you see things about yourself that you may be denying, justifying, or minimizing.

They realize that they will also be, or have been, in a position at some point where someone asked them to look at something that they too might have judged as objectionable.

Notice that you are usually eager to hear the statements that you judge to be compliments. You like to hear praise for some aspect of yourself; you swell with pride and feel stroked.

Criticism and compliments can both be helpful

The reality is that when you learn to take both criticism and compliments as merely comments on aspects of yourself to look at; you will have made great strides in seeing yourself from multiple perspectives.

There has been much written about our blind sides. One reference is the side away from which one is directing one's attention. There are times that we would prefer that everyone in the room had their attention directed somewhere other than at us! Easier and less embarrassing ways to identify and change your thoughts, actions, and behaviors is to learn to do an honest self-appraisal.

When you look at the negative aspects of yourself, see if you can redirect or refocus them. Let's say you are an arrogant "know- it- all". How might you use your knowledge about a subject in a more constructive helpful manner?

Try not being the first to respond to questions about a subject from others, actually demonstrate some humility, and stop trying to get the first word in or the limelight.

It would probably require a shift in attitude on your part, but if you approach it logically, you may be the resident expert on "x", but you know that you legitimately do not have experience and expertise in "y", only an opinion.

Assessing your strengths and talents as well as your limitations and negative or unhealthy aspects will give you broader perspective on who you are.

Arming yourself with this knowledge, you can put effort into changing the aspects of yourself that need modifying or changing and instead of the "know- it-all" who volunteers an answer to everything, you may become the expert that is asked.

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