Have you ever heard a recording of your voice and been appalled by how it sounds? “Surely there must be something wrong with that recording,” we think, “because there’s no way that that’s how I really sound!”
But guess what: That’s how you actually sound to other people. The problem isn’t with the recording, it’s that your perception of how you sound doesn’t match the reality of how you actually sound.
From Time’s article: “Why Do I Hate the Sound of My Own Voice?“: “When you hear people talking, sound waves travel through the air and into your ears, vibrating your ear drums. Your brain then transforms those vibrations into sound. However, when you’re the one talking, your vocal cords and airways vibrate. That means you receive two sources of sound: the sound waves that travel into your ears, as well as vocal cord vibrations.”
What is true of our voices is also true of us in general: we aren’t very good judges of how we really are. There is some amount of discrepancy between our perception of ourselves and how other people see us.
We call these things “blind spots.” They are the things about ourselves that we do not see clearly, or are completely unaware of. They can be habits, attitudes, fears, insecurities or other idiosyncrasies.
For example: I can see things in my wife that she doesn’t realize about herself. She is blind to them, but I can see them. The same is true the other way around.
We all have blind spots, but if you were to ask me, “Hey Nick, what are your blind spots?”, my response would be: “How the heck should I know?! By definition they are things that I am blind to! – that I don’t see about myself!”
And oftentimes our blind spots are our greatest weaknesses; they’re the things which can do the most damage to us or hold us back from reaching our goals – they’re the things which will lead us into ruin and trouble!
If that’s the case, then we’ve got a big problem! Because if there are things about us which have the potential to hold us back and even hurt us or wreck us, but we are unable to see them, then we are in big trouble! What can we do to overcome our blind spots?
The only way to overcome our blind spots is by having other people in our lives whom we allow to get to know us well enough that they can see those things about us, and by giving those people permission to speak into your life.
Not any old person will do for this. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what someone’s weaknesses or blind spots are, but it does take a loving person to be willing to come alongside someone and help them see their blind spots in a way that helps rather than hurts. This is why the Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6). Critiques which come from those who are not committed, loyal friends may often be accurate, but they can often be crushing.
Recently at a conference I spoke about the importance of bringing other people into a creative process. In this case I was speaking particularly about writing sermons, but I believe it is true of other creative processes as well. In order for you to overcome your blind spots, you need people who can help you overcome your idiosyncrasies and weaknesses, but who will do it from a place of commitment and a desire to help. I have experienced this, not only on a creative level, but on a personal level as well.
In order to become the people God is calling us to be, we need brothers and sisters.
Let brotherly love continue. (Hebrews 13:1)
For more on the subject of Christian community, check out this recent message from White Fields Church: