Michael Jackson had it so right when he talked about the man in the mirror. He talked about looking at the man in the mirror. His mandate was to look at ourselves. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and took responsibility to consider what you offer, don’t have, do or don’t do, what you can bring to the table?
When focusing on yourself, it is amazing how much you learn and this self knowledge can give you power to change yourself and then influence your community and the world. When you look in the mirror you see the pimple, or blemish, the crowsfeet developing or an uneven skintone; you see your imperfections and you see the beauty of your strengths and can begin to take ownership.
Recently President Barack Obama said that 43 percent of registered voters chose not to participate. Yet, when a president elect emerged, half of the country (according to the popular vote) was outraged. Those who didn’t vote obviously need to look at the man in the mirror. Their flaw to be passive and not participate contributed to the outcome of the election.
Oh how easy it is to blame others when it is really your own lack of intelligence, weakness, ignorance, incompetence, inability, stupidity or ineptness. How much easier it is to blame others because they are what you consider to be the wrong color, religion, race, gender, ancestry or socio-enconomic status. When the playing field is fair and unbiased and you have to compete, it is so much easier to try to find other qualifications to focus on in order to give yourself an edge, an unfair win.
Americans, as a society, have chosen to favor blaming others rather than taking a look at themselves, the man in the mirror. Others are the focus:the poor, the disenfranchised, the immigrants, the nonwhites, the people who aren’t Christians are all the others, those who choose to live their lives in ways that are not congruent with a particular consensus are the others. The others are perceived as having the problem which makes life so difficult to tolerate. But is this really true or is this a contorted view that focuses on the outside rather than the man in the mirror?
What happens when the mirror is placed in a way that the only thing to look at is yourself? What happens is that the focus is placed on you. The non Christian is not as scary because you are praying to love your neighbor and praying for your neighbor; the nonwhite is not as scary because you see just a person passing by and aren’t spending time focusing on their race or ethnicity; someone’s sexuality is not glaring because you instead are focusing on your own.
America is a one of a kind place in this universe. It is a place of diveristy. America brings together people whose lives are so different because they come from ancestry and countries which are all different. America is a melting pot and as each person or family or community comes, they contribute to the ecletic ingredients in that melting pot. But, it is the differences that each comunity or individual or family brings that keeps America able to be refreshed with newness to add to the melting pot. With this in mind, it is the differences we bring. We have that uniqueness to bring because we carry with us our own personal heritage, race, ethncity, culture, ancestry, belief, sexual identity, religion, experience, creativity and gift.
I am not suggesting that we all go through life with blinders on. We have an opportunity in America to participate in choices about many of our likes and dislikes. Let’s get back to the election. Forty-three percent of Americans who were entitled to vote chose not to vote. Voting is an opportunity for the man in the mirror to influence the melting pot. Unfortunately, it is feared by many that the choice America has resultantly made, while many chose to not vote, will result in changes that speak to the hatred for certain groups, practices and freedoms.
Now lets get back to focusing on the man in the mirror. This is a time to get in the mirror and have a hard look. Look at the beauty and the ugliness. Then use that personal reflection moving forward. Work to purge your own ugly. Look in the mirror for strength and weakeness and lean toward your strengths. Let the mirror experience result in a better you, one that after looking in the mirror exudes the most strength and beauty that is possible for you personally. You will feel better when you feel beautiful and strong and more likely not to feel threatened by others, the others not like yourself. Moreover, your strength and beauty will shine through for everyone to see.