Mirror Mirror on the Wall…

mirror_mirror_on_the_wallI’ve read time and again that the people in your life are a reflection of yourself. They are your mirror – an opportunity to see both the good and bad qualities you possess. This week I was given a few opportunities to see a reflection of a quality of mine that is in need of uh…‘tweaking’. I know – hard to imagine that I have any less than stellar qualities but alas it is true.

In the past several years, I have had the good fortune of being made aware of the behaviors and habits that are not serving me. While I didn’t always welcome this awareness, it has made me stronger and has helped me to model better behavior to those around me, most importantly my children. I’m not always great at it, but I’m getting better.

I’ll share the example that was brought to the forefront this week.

Some of you may have seen the posting on social media where you ask your kids questions designed to see how well they know you. I saw a few of my friends post their responses and honestly I was cracking up at nearly all of them. The kids were of varying ages so that contributed to the belly laughs.

I decided that it’d be fun to ask these questions of my two teenaged children. I chose to ask them separately so that I’d get their individual answers as opposed to the ‘group-think’ that can sometimes occur when kids collude.

Their responses for the most part were on the money. My children know what makes me happy and sad. They know my favorites foods and drinks. They know my dream vacation spot. In short, they know what makes me tick. I was slightly surprised because we tend to think that kids look at their parents simply as ATM machines or chauffeurs or short-order cooks. We don’t think they really know us. I’m here to tell you, they do.

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Well, it was all fun and games until a deeper truth was exposed. Knowing that my offspring are clear that I function best with coffee and wine and lobster in my life was not so funny anymore.

“You don’t listen.” Eeks.

I consider myself an above-average listener so I had to take a moment to process this data point. Since my goal for the exercise was to simply secure responses and not invoke discussion, I wrote down the answer and moved on.

Afterwards my ego wanted to toss this aside. Teenagers! What do they know? However, it could not be ignored because it wasn’t the first time I’d heard this last week. I use this simple formula – my own life-hack – when I’m told things about myself.

“Tell me once, shame on you. Tell me twice, shame on me.”


Since this was the second time those words were uttered to me, well – guess I’d better pay attention.

I’ve said this a million times in my newsletters and in conversation. I’m a problem solver. I get the facts of the challenge at hand, process them and boom! Problem solved. Next? This has served me quite well on many occasion except when my brain gets ahead of me – which it has lately.

Several decades of life experience want to pour out of my head and into your waiting hands so that I can fix what’s broken in you. While this is done with the best of intentions, it’s not always what’s best. Why?

Maybe you don’t want a solution. Maybe my expertise is not quite as expert and I need to learn more. Maybe you just wanted to be heard without interruption.

For the remainder of the week, I found myself repeating this simple phrase as I moved from conversation to conversation. “Just listen. Just listen.” But this one-sided approach will not completely help me overcome this challenge.

You Are Not Alone

I’ve learned that I cannot solve my own problems. I cannot ‘try harder’ to change a behavior. I need my partner to help me. So before I attempt to make any life changes whether they be as simple as dropping a few pounds or having a difficult conversation or breaking a bad habit, I pray. I ask God to help me.

This week, I thanked Him for this awareness – tough as it was to face, I thanked Him. ‘Cuz you can’t change what you’re not aware of. Then I asked for His help. I asked Him to slow down my brain so I could pay attention to the person talking to me. I asked Him to fine-tune my listening skills so I could really attend to not only what the other person was saying but the deeper meaning lying just beneath the surface. I asked Him to help me hold my tongue which is only in its happy place when it’s moving.

Then I just needed to trust that it’d be done. That He’d help me. That in due time I’ll get better and better. It won’t happen today or tomorrow but it will happen. I can’t do it on my own but with God all things are possible.

I encourage you to pay attention to the reflections in your life this week. What are people saying to you? More importantly, is it coming from more than one person? Feel free to use my ‘life lesson alert’ hack to identify those areas where change is needed. Then call upon my Partner and yours to help you make that change if you are being guided to do so.

I can do all things through Christ who is my strength” (Philippians 4:13)

Jen’s Gem: Ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone.


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