The Man in the Mirror

Listening to the radio the other day on my way home from IKEA. IKEA is my muse, I love observing humanity over breakfast. I do most of my writing there, it’s my version of Starbucks these days and let’s be honest, where on planet earth can you go for 1€ and have breakfast, unlimited cappuccino, free wifi and endless humans to observe? Anyway, back to the drive home and the song on the radio…..The Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson…..I start belting it out at the top of my lungs. Yeah, you don’t get to judge me.  If you could walk and talk at the end the 80’s you can sing along too! However, about halfway through the song something weird is happening, I can feel my eyes brimming with tears……for the first time I not only hear the lyrics but I listen to them. When the next song comes on the radio and for the rest of the ride home I tune out everything except the following lyrics that keep playing over and over in my mind…..

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 Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change

Tears are now streaming down my face because I am so busted! I can’t tell you how many times I criticize and judge those around me. No one can accuse me of discrimination either because I spread it around. From my 12 year old step son who touches all the bacon on the plate with his fingers before settling on the piece he wants, to the woman on her phone with a voice so loud that all 7 billion inhabitants of planet earth can hear her ……. both are going to be on the receiving end of my look of righteous condemnation. You know the one I’m talking about, you open your eyes wide, arch your eyebrows and glare down the end of your nose at them. However with my step son, I was going to make this a teaching moment, I go one step further, I proceed to lick the palm of my hand, touch all the bacon on the plate and then sit back and glare at him as if to say “so there, what do you think of that?” His eyes went from me, then to his father with a quizzical “now what?” look. His father, who wasn’t about to let the bacon go to waste, shrugged and grabbed a piece and since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…. I know, I know, not my finest moment, my limited parenting skills are glaringly obvious…..

Why do I let these things get under my skin? Seriously, I allow these things to make me so angry and steal precious moments and sometimes hours of my life…..(yep it’s true, my mind can replay the scenario all day if I allow it and condemn that individual over and over and over again) …….. why is that? In the grand scheme of things does any of this even matter? Who gave me the authority to judge and criticize others? Who do I think I am anyway, the etiquette police? Just because I am a legend in my own mind doesn’t mean the rest of the world sees me that way…….I know I’m sure your just as shocked as I was by that revelation!

If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change

The picture of righteous condemnation I painted above is small example of what most of us do on a daily basis and the scary thing is that I have found that I am very good at making righteous condemnation scalable. From the person who cuts in front of me at the check out, to entire cultures that don’t act or behave in the way I think they should.

If the song wasn’t enough, this verse clarified it further …….

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour.” Matthew 7 1:5 Msg

Yes, that’s straight from the Bible, surprised? Like I’ve said before, the Bible is a great guide on how to live your life.  You see, I don’t have permission to ask others to change, the change needs to happen inside of me first. So if I wanna make the world a better place, I need to take a look at myself and then make the change …… just like the lyrics…..

I’m Gonna Make A Change,
For Once In My Life
It’s Gonna Feel Real Good,
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

Come, sing along with me, together we can make the world a better place……Tiffany


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