The man before us

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place

(If you want to make the world a better place)

Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

-Michael Jackson 


The man in the mirror.  That is where it all starts, isn’t it?  We’re all so quick to judge others, but do we take the time to judge ourselves first?

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
-John 8:7 (kjv)

A noble sentiment, but totally impossible, right?  And it’s not fair, either.  I’ve never murdered anyone, but I’m supposed to just accept it because I’m not perfect?  And that gossip at work; they really ought to be ashamed of themselves.  And can you believe that your neighbor got caught screwing the woman next door?  We’re not supposed to hold them responsible for their actions?

But what are you really judging?

I say that the man in the mirror is a perception, not reflection.  When we look at others, we’re really looking at ourselves.   Who is the quickest to accuse a spouse of cheating?  The one cheating on their spouse of course.  I mean, if I do it, she’s going to do it too, right?  I know you’re going behind my back at work to get that promotion.  But you won’t’ get it because I’m better.

Our judgments and expectations are really about ourselves.  We hold everyone else to our own standards.

Years ago I managed a large staff, and found it very difficult to find people who were really qualified to do the job I needed.  They took too long to finish assignments, their ideas were stale and unimaginative, their work ethic was sadly lacking.  Then one day I had an epiphany!  Wasn’t I just holding them to the standards I set for myself?  Is that really fair?  I’m a workaholic; 12 hour days are average, and 16 hours aren’t unusual.  Does that make a 9 hour day worker a slacker?  I know what my limits and abilities are, so meeting my expected timeline is a given.  And with my 16 hour days, you know I’m going to finish first.  And of course no one came up with ideas as good as mine!  The greatest test of intelligence is how much they agree with you.  Who’s going to come up with something better than you are?

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I was looking at people who were behind the mirror.  The image I expected was myself, and it was projected on those whom I was responsible for.   I expected to see myself in them.

That would be a really boring world, wouldn’t it?  If everyone was exactly like everyone else.

Definitely, we should constantly examine at ourselves and our actions, and try to make ourselves better.   We rarely do, but we should.   Instead of trying to see others as we see ourselves, take the time to really look at who they are, without measuring them to our own perceptions.  Don’t forgive the monsters that rape and kill.  Gossip and infidelity don’t have to be accepted.  There are people who are better then you are.  Your abilities, thoughts, actions and morals aren’t perfect.  Just because you shortchange your server after a dinner out doesn’t mean everyone does.  Let’s face it. So many problems we deal with daily are because we don’t accept that others are going to be different.  This is true from aggravation with the idiot that sits next to you at work, to strife in the Middle East and terrorism.    We’re not looking at the man in the mirror; we’re holding that mirror in front of the man before us.  If you want to look at yourself and make a change, start by looking at others and change your view.

It’ll make the world a better place.



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