A Mirror or a Club? 725.5

One of the pleasures I get from doing these commentaries is to hear that something I said had real value to a listener. It’s particularly flattering when someone wants a written copy of a particular program so the person can share it with someone he or she knows.

I feel honored by such requests and don’t want to bite the hand that pats my back, but it’s troubling how often listeners tell me they want to use my remarks not as a personal guide but as a bludgeon to beat some family member or work associate over the head. I imagine the presentation going something like “Here – if you want to know what’s wrong with you, read this!”

First of all, I can’t imagine someone, after being presented with an essay as a form of assault, would thank his or her assailant and pledge to change. Even the best advice is rarely well-received if it’s critical. It may take a wise person to give good advice, but it takes a really honest and courageous one to take it with grace.

Respectfully, I suggest my commentaries work better as a mirror than a club. So the next time you hear me talking about integrity, cynicism, lying, rationalizing, or similar topics, please remember that you don’t have to be sick to get better. Think about how the comment may apply to your life, not someone else’s.

I’m happy to supply copies of any commentary to anyone, but it feels a lot better knowing it’s for you, something to keep in your wallet or desk or on the refrigerator to remind you of how much better you can be.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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