Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Embracing Feedback

mirror-with-ornate-frameLooking in the mirror is so much a part of our routine we rarely even stop to think about the process. We simply do it to observe our look – how we look to ourselves and how we look to others – as we start the day. Maybe we notice that dark splotch of skin that we want to cover, or that random acne that somehow still manages to pop its way into our lives, or the dark circles that tell everyone how tired we are, or even the cow lick of hair that will only go down with high performance gel. You know, the kind that they use to seal the seams of the space station closed. At any rate, at the end of all of it we get to see where the little imperfections are and adjust to take care of them so that we can look our best.

If we are really being honest, most of us would probably choose to swap out that frequently used bathroom mirror for the Evil Queen’s in Snow White. It’s just more pleasant to have the thing tell us what we want to hear and if it ever comes down to the point where it doesn’t, then we just eliminate the threat. The fact of the matter is that some of the best leaders are those who have learned to see value in and embrace feedback. Feedback is the messages and signals that sometimes only the bravest or even most aloof around us actually dare to communicate. This feedback is invaluable because it actually, like the mirror, exposes something about who we are and how we come across that can build and encourage people, tear them down, or simply create an atmosphere counter to the one we desire to set.

We both love and hate the feedback of putting our hand on the stove because the nervous response immediately prevents further injury while at the same time causing a good deal of pain. But the feedback is invaluable all the more. Scripture tells us that mercy and truth kiss, which means that how we give or receive feedback is almost just as vital as the message itself. For those who expose something in our character, personality, or interpersonal relationships with others, we can often throw the baby out with the bath water because we don’t like the packaging. For all of us, its important to realize that “iron sharpens iron” and God specifically has placed people in our lives that will love us enough to articulate the image of how we are seen and where the imperfections lie. Hopefully, we won’t jolt at the audacity, but rather welcome the necessary information. When we learn to honestly evaluate the message and embrace the process, then we get a better picture or image of ourselves and begin to recognize how God uses everything to make us more like Him. We become better team builders, better leaders, better parents, better spouses, and better employees. Begin to love that God loves you enough to not leave you where you are, but to continually shape you into his image.

Written by Jonathan Stells

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