Watching a rerun of TV’s The Office, a character who is a notorious drinker introduced herself in an office meeting by saying, “Hi, my name is Meredith, and I’m an…”. Obviously, this was a reference to something that she might say at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, as in “Hi, my name is Meredith, and I’m an alcoholic.”
That got me thinking about how refreshing it would be if we all started our day by acknowledging a character defect that we wish to work on.
“Hi, I’m John, and I interrupt people because I think I’m more important than anyone else.”
“Hello, I’m Wendy, and I lie about nearly everything.”
“Howdy, I’m Kevin, and I blame others for my own problems.”
“Hey-ho, I’m Chris, and I’m a chronic procrastinator.”
It’s true that admitting you have a problem doesn’t make the problem disappear. But it certainly makes you more accountable to others. I think some people hesitate to mention any of their imperfections because they don’t want to out themselves. In reality, it’s quite likely that your character defects are as glaring to others as Rudolph’s nose was to his fellow reindeers.
If you’re up for the challenge, try this. Tell one other person, someone you trust and who cares about you, an area in your life that you wish to improve. Ask them to hold you accountable, and give that person permission to check in with you to see how you are progressing. You don’t have to wear a sign on your forehead announcing to the world what you desire to improve. But if you truly desire to get better, be honest with yourself and one other person.
Socrates’s quote still rings true: The unexamined life is not worth living. Are you ready to look in the mirror and show someone else what you see?