Bias. If I had to choose one word. Personal bias is the most powerful factor that gets in the way of self-development. It's easy to remind our parents to keep their hands out of the cookie jar, it's natural to tell our children to stop their bad habits and it's all in good fun when we remind our friends about their mistakes. But when it comes to looking at ourselves, well, that's a whole different story.
And it's because we don't have our parent's cravings, our children's urges or our friend's impulsiveness. But we have our own. And our own version of those feelings are often victorious over any sense of reason that tells us to act in accordance with our values and our goals. So how do we deal with this bias?
It's like playing tug of war. With yourself. Playing a game of tug of war that has your goals and values on one side and your cravings and urges on the other -- well, the good news is that you'll always win. The bad news is that you'll always lose. That's what makes it so hard. Or so easy. Depends how you look at it. And most likely, you might just settle for a tie. A few points for this team and a few points for the other. Problem is, did you achieve your goal? Did you live up to your values? Eh, not so clear, huh?
That's where an outside source of guidance, wisdom and caring comes in. Cue the angelic voices and halo-ridden therapists. But that's not really true. Actually, it's completely false. Not just the halos and the angelic voices, but even the bit about wisdom and guidance. Let me explain...
What you actually need is something more like a mirror. Often, the mirrors we choose are the ones with the perfect lighting, make us look a little thinner, throw in a Snapchat filter and whala!, that's the real me! Or is it? (Bias, remember?) So that's probably the biased version of you. But what if I were to have somebody hold a real mirror, with real lighting and my real expression on it? Gasp! That's what my driver's license looks like! Funny thing is, it's the drivers license that we use for identification. They might be onto something.
Holding up that mirror for you to face will make your true self an inescapable reality -- that's what makes therapy work. Seeing the real you, deciding what to do about it and developing strategies to actualize those hopes. So, in truth, I guess you really could hold up that mirror to yourself. But more often than not, you start making your mirror-face, turn to your good side and start seeing a slightly skewed version of the real you. And it's hard to genuinely perfect something that has been deceptively skewed to perfection.