Acknowledging, Admitting, Acting


This weekend, during a televised interview with Anderson Cooper,  John Mayer will admit to being a jerk.

It won’t exactly be a startling revelation.

It seems that Mr. Mayer, who boasts an extensive and well-documented public record of insufferability, crude offensiveness, and wild oat-sowing might be the last person with a television to understand that a decade of behavior befitting a member of the Sheen family is incredibly hard to overlook.

That said, it’s important to realize that admitting you have a problem is always the first step.

“The first step towards what?” is the real question though isn’t it?

Humans, myself included, have a rather long history of living in denial about our imperfections.  While it’s easy to see in other people, denial seems to only sneak up on us, like when we happen across a picture of ourselves that we don’t like.

“I hate this picture, it makes me look fat.”

I had a brave friend tell me that the picture wasn’t making me look fat.  He was right, I had gained weight and simply refused to recognize it… and my language gave it away.

If I hadn’t been living in denial, I would have said, “This isn’t a very flattering picture of me.”  It was easier to blame the picture or the photographer than to accept the truth.

I had to acknowledge the problem if something was to be done about it.

After acknowledging that I’d put on weight I realized that it felt better when I acknowledged it; people were initially pretty sympathetic and they were very encouraging to me.

“You are heavier, but you carry it well.”

“Ya, but you’ve got a full head of hair.”

“You’ve gained weight, but you aren’t fat.”

I have good, supportive friends.  I like encouragement, so I mentioned my weight gain more often; so I could feel better about the fact that I didn’t look the way I wanted to.  Going around acknowledging my problem didn’t actually help me with my problem, it just made me feel better for a while.

Eventually the encouragement stopped.

People who love us don’t want to hear us being down on ourselves, and there’s only so many times that you can encourage someone without seeing any effort being put towards positive results.

See we’d rather talk about our problem until it seems normal than put effort towards results, but “normalizing” isn’t a step towards progress, it’s a sidestep away from action.

After acknowledging and admitting comes the long painful process of change.  Changes must come to our desires, thought processes, and finally our behavior.

I had to acknowledge my problem, admit to my part in it, then take responsibility for becoming a different person than the one who put all the jelly donuts in my gut.

Admitting we have a problem is truly the first step in any recovery, but it’s only a positive step when we carry out the other necessary steps towards completion.

I know, because my alarm clock and a gym membership are only helpful when I submit to them.

My life is a physical rehab against the abundance of carbohydrates and a middle-aged metabolism, and acknowledging this doesn’t do anything about my weight.

Eating less and exercising more does.

John Mayer’s “stunning admission” can really work out well for him, but only if he’s really interested in not being a jerk anymore.

Acknowledging his buffoonish shenanigans, but then using them as an excuse, would simply be an ill-advised attempt at Public Relations rehabilitation.

John Mayer may be “Waiting On The World To Change”,

But I’m rooting for him to change.

One Response to “Acknowledging, Admitting, Acting”

  1. Brian P February 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    I just read this morning the part in Genesis where Jacob blesses his 12 kids before he dies. Well, for 2 of them it sounded like a blessing but the others… yikes! I don’t think he had the same hang up with telling people what they wanted to hear.

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