Comparative Self-Reflection: Stop Giving Yourself a Smoke Enema
In the late 1700’s tobacco smoke enemas were used to revive drowning victims, alleviate headaches, stop stomach cramps, even cure typhoid.
The medical community built an enema kit for blowing smoke up you-know-where. It consisted of bellows and various implements for puffing smoke up the rectum.
We are the only species “brilliant” enough to blow smoke up our own nether sphincter muscle.
We convince ourselves we’re right and antagonists have character deficiencies.
We demonize others in order to justify self-serving decisions. In other words, it’s their fault I’m a jerk.
We scatter like cockroaches when the personal responsibility light flashes on.
A cure for self-smoke-blowing:
Stop comforting yourself by comparing yourself with yourself. Escape the fog of self-deception by comparing yourself to a noble standard.
Compare yourself with others – not so you can define yourself by others – but so you can discover unrealized potential in yourself.
Stop using, “It’s not who I am,” as an excuse for complacency.
Growth can be stressful. Development requires sweat. If there’s no stressful sweat in your life – at least occasionally – pull the dirt in over yourself and be done with it.
The lives of others reveal what you might be capable of, both noble and ignoble.
Growth ends when the strengths of others are a threat. Growth begins when they’re an example.
You don’t know what’s absent when you compare yourself with yourself. But when you compare yourself with an outside standard, you wipe steam from the glass.
A person who never compares themselves with an exceptional-other grows comfortable and complacent.
Write the names of five people you admire.
Record their character traits as you see them revealed in behaviors.
Record their strengths, weaknesses, and achievements.
What rises in you when you practice comparative self-reflection?
There’s a difference between being inspired by someone and trying to become someone you aren’t.
Whose example has inspired and/or challenged you?
This post brings up thorny issues in my mind? What about you?
We scatter like cockroaches when the personal responsibility light flashes on. So very funny. I’ve found that if one takes a different approach and grasps personal responsibility one can usually end up controlling the discussion, the dynamics and the pathway to conclusion for the challenges seen. Counterintuitive is certainly is but it works.
Thanks Roger. Yes, influence goes in a useful direction when we take responsibility. BTW, glad you caught some of the tongue in cheek in this post. Cheers
This post helps me clarify some differences I had with John Maxwell’s Law of the Mirror.
Thanks Bob. I think you might be referring to “stop comparing yourself to others.” Obviously, if we define ourselves by others, we are being controlled by others.
I feel like there is much more to say on the topic of comparative self-reflection. But I’m glad you found something useful.
This was funny, profound, eye opening, truthful and maybe one of your most thought provoking posts during our recent times. Really gets in there. Thanks.
Thanks Nancy. I guess it does get in there. 🙂 … glad to provide something to think about. cheers.
One must self-reflect to establish one’s baseline, one’s foundation. You cannot aspire to what others have done without knowing yourself. Once you have an idea to who you are as a person, then use examples of others as blueprints to what you want to achieve on the foundation of yourself.
Thanks Michael. What seems important here is don’t try to be someone you aren’t. Be who you are… be your best self.
We actively participate in the growth process. It’s not like humming under a tree.
Great post! As a believer, I think Christ serves as that standard to keep me honest (and humble). But there are certainly people who have character traits that I find endearing. I sometimes write a note to such a person, telling them the character that I appreciate and which inspires me to be more like them in that area. It’s led to some good discussions.
Thanks Glen. Especially humble. 🙂
-my relfection takes me in two directions…
– Our ability to “just be wrong” diminishes as we build our book of experoliences.. unfortunately they become our rationalizations 🙁
— we see the voice of mentors as those with more experience, we need to open our minds to those with other experiences (folks younger than ourselves).
Thanks Ken. Your contrast between more experience and other experience is perfect. I’m keeping that with me.
Intended a thumbs up 🙂 not a good day on the virtual keyboard