How do you react when you hear/read something that you perceive as negative/critical about your country/culture? Sad? Angry? Uncomfortable? Would you react differently if you heard it from someone who comes from a different country/culture than your own?
The reactions to the Maclean’s article on Winnipeg got me thinking about this. I’ve met very few people who have not been touched when they’re heard something about their own country/culture that they perceive as negative. Probably nearly all of us have or will experience it in our lifetime. I think it touches us because it doesn’t match up with our version of truth about a part of what makes us who we are, our identity.
I’ve also yet to meet anyone who is 100% perfect all the time – a person with no faults. The same I think can be said of the cultures/countries in the world; there are positive aspects and negative aspects that we either hide, ignore or deny.
Just as it goes for personal self-improvement; if you don’t acknowledge the negative aspects of yourself and accept them as part of who you are, you can never deal with them or improve them. Through acknowledgment we make it easier to understand ourselves and consciously make improvements.
To some extent, the same I think is true for our cultures/societies. We might not like what we see in the mirror being held up to us, but improvement won’t come if we cannot acknowledge a problem exists. In fact, acknowledging it without even being able to see it opens up understanding and the possibility for solutions.