It is an extremely human response to not look inward after a mistake or crime, but rather to look outward and to affix blame and guilt on a convenient object.
-Robert Greene The 48 Laws of Power
Criticism is one of the most difficult things for many people to deal with especially when it come from others. But more importantly, self criticism is even more difficult to face.Whether we are affected by the guilt of shame or by the shame of guilt, confronting the realities of our imperfections and inadequacies is an arduous task. To rid ourselves of the guilt and shame, we choose to paint a pretty picture of ourselves for the outside world to see. We placard ourselves with a facade of false strength and confidence. We portray an exaggerated image of who we really are by embellishing our appearances, qualifications, and personalities. For example, when we interview for a job, we doctor up our resumes to highlight our qualities, dress up professionally to send a good visual impression, and alter our personalities to make ourselves fit for the job.
A good friend of mine once told me that to make an incision is to cut into and to make a decision is to cut out. We must first make the incision (cut into) by looking into the mirror to discover and/or confront our insecurities. Then we must make the decision (cut out) to remove such insecurities by holding ourselves accountable for our actions and coming to terms with our imperfections. The power of the mirror is that we see a direct reflection of ourselves. Eye to eye; face to face. Instead, we are more comfortable presenting to the world (and ourselves) our shadows which is a distorted representation of us, hiding all of our features and changing size and shape when the light shines and angle shifts. The same happens when we are under scrutiny. As the light is being shun on us and we are being evaluated from different angles, we change who we are, hiding our true features.
We remove ourselves from any wrong doings.With many of our shortcomings, we easily pass along the blame elsewhere . We eliminate all sense of accountability. But for all the insecurities that we have and for the many pitfalls we blame others for, we must first look inward. The mirror shows us our imperfections, it displays our blemishes, and believe it or not, it reveals the expression of shame and guilt that we are otherwise attempting to hide from the world.
So before the decision to hide, make excuses and blame others for our imperfections, insecurities, and inadequacies, lets first make the incision by looking into the mirror and peering inside ourselves to discover and come to grip with such factions. Change begins inwardly and impacts outwardly.