Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Man in the Mirror, by The Rogue Blogger in Compression Pants

We haven't had a guest post in a while, and it feels like it's time for one. This one came to me from a fellow blogger who initially was going to use his name. I suggested he go rogue, just on the off chance that people take offense to what he has to say. I said rogue, of course, then told him that it meant he would have to wear tights for me to protect his secret identity.

He came up with compression pants as a compromise. Seems fair.

Without further discussion, his observations on why we don't always like what is staring back at us in the mirror, and why we are quick to lash out at others instead of entertaining the idea that they just might be right.


My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary a while back. We found a babysitter. We had an evening to ourselves, a rare luxury for us. At the restaurant we went to, there was a lounge singer and he was playing some of my favorite songs. One in particular, which I haven’t heard in a long time. One, which once again, struck a new chord with me. It was “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. Great song, right? Great message, right?

It is a brutally honest song. It got me thinking about looking at myself in the mirror.

Scary thing to do. 

Scary thing to look for. 

Looking at those times where I was given or gave myself a brutally honest assessment. I thought, during the height of each assessment, that ‘this person’ or ‘that person’ was an asshole for pointing out something in me that I didn’t agree with. 

That’s thing about mirrors. 

We only like them when they show us something we agree with. 

I had a run in with a ‘mirror’ a couple months ago. This mirror was my father-in-law. We were visiting the in-laws for the weekend and I was in desperate need of a vacation. Not a vacation at my in-laws. They are great people, but I really wanted some “me” time with my wife and kids. 

The entire weekend, I tried to relax, remove myself from the stress from work and watch the opening weekend of the NFL and get my fantasy football teams off to a good start. The kids were just being kids...but I was telling them ‘no’ and ‘stop’ and ‘don’t do that’ far more than I should have. I never saw it. 

My father-in-law did. 

After we got back home, my wife got a text from her Dad expressing his concern about my actions. We both over-reacted because of wording, but the message itself was sound. 

I was pissed, beyond pissed. 

I thought he was calling me a bad Dad. I thought he was being dick. I knew what caused him to say what he said, and I knew I was in the wrong and I knew he was just looking out for our family. I just didn’t want to see that at first. I just thought he was being an asshole, when in truth, he was just being a great Dad, a great grandfather and an honest mirror. 

I was the one being the asshole. I was the one playing off like I was wronged. I was a hypocrite. I was just trying to stroke my own ego. As a response, just to prove him wrong, I overcompensated my fatherly duties. Like, full on going out of my way and making it really obvious that I was overcompensating. He’s wrong. I am right. I am the victim here. If there ever was an award for ‘most asshole thing to do’, I won it and by a landslide.

Whenever I get in a mood, I think about that whole situation. With kids, it happens a lot. But knowing is half the battle (GI JOE!!) and sometimes getting the truth, whether you like it or not, really helps. Admitting to yourself that you need to change your ways is such an awesome feeling. Honestly, since then, I have made my life less about me and more about my family. 

I made a rule for myself to follow: don’t be a dick. 

It’s super easy to enforce. I am a better man for it, but most of all, I am a better father to my children. 

Life is full of mirrors. We call them honest and accurate when we agree with them. We call them hypocrites and assholes when we don’t.

The thing we don't always realize is that they always tell the truth whether we like it or not. 

When was the last time you truly looked into the mirror? When was the last time you changed your ways?


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