Thursday, August 02, 2007

"the big picture"

For whatever reason, I found myself giving a lot of "big picture" comments at work recently. To a mother who feels that her entire family mistreats her, I pointed out that she spends her entire time at home either avoiding her family or in conflict with them (i.e., so that in the "big picture" their behavior might be a reaction to the fact that they only see a critical side of her). By focusing solely on the injustices of each particular situation, she was missing that bigger picture, was failing to see how her actions contributed to the difficulties at home.

I hope that this kind of advice is helpful. But I must admit that I find such reflections to also be a bit humbling. It forces me to reflect on how I must sometimes miss that "big picture" as well, be it with my kids, my wife, my clients. Which I know is partly just being human.

Still, I find myself thinking about how easy it is to set aside feedback we receive, perhaps especially negative or critical feedback. It's message is difficult to hear, and certainly such feedback is not always entirely true (occasionally not true at all). Still, I wonder how often we disregard truths about ourselves out of convenience, out of fear, or out of some effort to protect our ego. How often I do that.

Such clues are perhaps often our earliest and best warning signs that we're missing the big picture in some important sense. I pray that I might become more aware of such signals, more willing to contemplate them, more willing to listen to whatever call to change might stem from them. That, I think, is strength. And wisdom.

1 comment:

lorinda said...

Well said, Steve. It's easy to give someone else the big picture, but to have to realize there's a bigger picture than my perception is very humbling.hh