Healthy Minds, Healthy Souls: Letting Others See Themselves

The best way to help others’ see their wrongs is to get out of the way and let them see themselves. We are called to step back and simply be a mirror. Too often we are quick to get in between others’ and their own self-reflections and their own realizations. We try to get people to see what we think they don’t see or may never see about themselves. We get angry, we try to lecture over and over again, as we assert how they “should” be living.

We must remember that natural consequences are the best teacher and serve as the greatest motivation for people to change certain behaviors. In other instances, we must accept that some things never change! God has designed all of us with certain gifts and certain potential’ we were not all meant to possess the same ones. Part of having a diverse world is learning to accept people for who God has made them to be, and letting natural consequences teach the rest!

Take for example a situation I see often in families. There was a woman the other day who was telling me all her unpleasant feelings toward her husband’s mother. She would say, “Every time they leave from a visit, I find myself so aggravated.” She pointed out everything his mother did wrong or what she did to offend her while at their house. All the while, this woman began to notice that with each subsequent visit, her partner become increasingly more defensive, and even began to sing his mother’s praises, when he used to talk about his frustrations.

She feels alone in her feelings, her husband feels defensive, hurt and disconnected from his wife. What would happen if instead, Jane took a step back, allowing her partner to become aware of his own frustrated feelings? Saying nothing at all sometimes creates the freedom and space for others’ to explore and express their own feelings about what has happened.

Attempt instead to be a good, active listener without passing your own judgments. What are you ultimately doing? You are staying connected to the person who matters most to you and keeping Christ at the center of your marriage, trusting in God that others’ will ultimately see what you so desperately want to point out and make them see.

Remember, we don’t have to always be in charge of “making” these insight happen for others. In fact, it sometimes has the opposite effect! Sometimes, the best messages are the ones left unspoken.

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