A few months ago, I had to rent a car for a month. Unfortunately for me, it smelled like cigarette smoke, but it was the only one they had available, so I was stuck with it for 30 long, stinky days. As one who hates the smell of cigarette smoke, it was exceptionally unpleasant.
When I finally turned the cursed vehicle into the rental car company a month later, I told the lady at the front desk about the cigarette smell and asked what the penalty was for stinking up cars.
“It’s $250, but people don’t care. They’re going to smoke their cigarettes no matter what – they don’t even realize how much it stinks.”
That conversation reminded me of the times I’ve done interviews with friends and asked for feedback about areas where I need to change. It always surprises me how easily people pick up on the stinky areas of my life that I convince myself I can hide.
It hurts to hear that kind of feedback, but I never regret it, because seriously – who wants to go around thinking they smell great, when the truth is they’re just used to the stench?
It’s important to invite people to tell us the truth about ourselves, even if we already know it; because what we don’t know is how hard it is for people to put up with our quirks. I mean, it’s one thing to know we’ve got a temper, a potty mouth, or an excessive need for affirmation, but it’s a whole other thing to have to look into the face of someone as they describe what it’s like to live on the other end of those issues.
I’m not going to lie; it really is embarrassing to allow people to tell us the ugly truth about ourselves. But the good thing is that it provides a fresh opportunity for us to humbly take that stuff to God and ask Him to help us change – not for the sake of our egos – but for the sake of the people who live with us day to day.