I was recently in a conversation where we were talking about who we are and the roles we play in our jobs. We both have different roles, personalities and to-do lists but are both in positions of leadership – of influence – so the discussion around leadership skills and the style in which we manage became central to our chat. The question about how we do what we do, whether it was good or bad… and who is to judge that arose.
“What’s it like on the other side of me?”
I think that question, as posed to me once several months ago, was not only thought-provoking but a bit challenging! What IS it like on the other side of me? In other words, what’s it like to stand in the shoes of the person across from me, when it comes to interactions with ME? I wondered, if I asked that question of people around me, how would they answer – honestly? My hope is that it would be glowing and wonderful and they’d say that every interaction with me is amazingly fabulous and that I possess so many spectacular qualities, too many to list — but is that reality? Perhaps it is for some people, but would the review be consistent across the board? I had to question myself on this… and to ask the question, do I LIVE and function in a bubble of “angelic oblivion”? Do I have a true perspective of how I interact, treat and lead those around me?
*Dear friends, please know that I live with myself day in and day out and I am fully aware of the darker side – the shadow side of me… I am not asking the above questions because I think I am flawless, in fact I would probably be able to list many things that need worked on and many areas I strive and struggle to get a handle on.
I have friends who have said, and would say that I am many “good” things. I’ve been complimented and praised and encouraged but is that all true? I know traditionally people only write complaint letters to companies, not the complimentary ones, and yet when I look at my life, I’m oftentimes given the complimentary words and not the challenge…… why is that? Is there a dark side, a SHADOW side to who I really am, that people are too cautious to cross, to address? And if that is the case, why is THAT? The older I get the more I realize I know very little and that my perspective is quite skewed.
I remember when I was younger and recorded my voice (on a tape recorder) and when it was played back, it wasn’t at all what I THOUGHT I sounded like? Obviously there’s scientific reasons behind the why, inner ear/etc, etc that plays into that… but the reality was that what WE heard every day when we talked was not the same as what we heard being played back on the recording…
So I wondered… is that same principle applicable to what I think of myself and how I interact with the world and what people experience when encountering me, the reality or once again is MY perspective skewed, just like my voice on the recording.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 (MSG) says: “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the head and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”
I LOVE this so much! There is a recognition that there IS a dark side to humanity – to each of us… but GOD searches (if we allow), and He examines (if we allow), and He gets to the HEART – to the root of things (if we allow). He is about getting to the core – to the darker side, the shadow of how we life and HE brings light (if we allow) and revelation!
So what’s it like on the other side of me? Truthfully, I don’t know (I’ve never been there), but hopefully, it’s a good place — or at least a place where grace and mercy and forgiveness can be extended — when my shadow side is exposed!
*I will caution you — be intentional and specific with whom you pose the “what’s it like on the other side of me…?” question to? Not everyone has your best interest at heart and words have the power of life or death. I would say even your closet friend may not be the best person, unless you are whole heartedly willing to hear the good with the bad and ugly.