So, I’ve been ill. Proper ill with proper flu. As sometimes happens when you are proper ill, I had one or two profound thoughts during my week of bed-sofa-bed-sofa-bed. But I have forgotten them since. However, last night I watched Ricky Gervais being interviewed by Alan Carr and he (Ricky) said something really profound. He was being asked about recently being maligned and mauled in the press for something he had said and replied by saying he had been misunderstood. But then he said, “But being offended doesn’t make you right”. Which stopped me in my tracks.
Ricky is right. And we like to be right – but sometimes we are simply offended. Yet still maintain we are right. His observation cuts to the heart of our beliefs, and it causes me to question myself again. A bit of self-reflection can only be a good thing. ‘Looking in the mirror’ is critical if we are to grow and adapt, if we are to have our rough edges made smooth. What do you see when you look in the mirror? When you really look – not just glancing at your reflection but looking at your true self. I know that I sometimes see my false self. I sometimes surprise myself (and not in a good way) at how entrenched/bigotted/inflexible I have become. I sometimes find it hard to look, knowing that I have been busying myself with ‘things I must do’ and neglecting deeper meaning. And sometimes I quite like what I see. I am mostly comfortable in my own skin, yet anxious never to become too comfortable.
This year, I have been learning the hard way that I am not always right. And that sometimes, even when I am, it’s better to capitulate for the sake of peace. I look back at my younger more militant self with a wry smile, proud of the passion and fervour but glad I have grown since then. Glad that others have offended me. They have helped me to see more of my true self when I look in the mirror these days.