Blog: How to look at yourself objectively – By Flamur Abazaj

Everyone looks at their mirror every once in a while, and look at themselves (or maybe nowadays more commonly through the selfie camera). How many times do you look at it and not expect a reflection of yourself to appear on it? Hopefully never. The laws of physics very accurately explain how the reflection of light in an orderly way (called specular reflection) on a mirror’s extremely smooth surface causes a counter image to be created, identical of what stands on the opposite side. One thing that laws of physics do not explain, however, is who you are, and who you think you are.

To look at yourself objectively, firstly, there a couple of question one needs to ask themselves. What is objectivity? How is it different from subjectivity (Spoiler alert: It is the opposite more or less)? Also, how can one be objective in their judgement, especially when it concerns their own beliefs and methodologies?

By the very definition objectivity is usually perceived as the ability of excluding bias, prejudice and other sidelining effects from one’s judgement and/or verdict. The problem with that is that in most cases, it is very difficult to exclude the above-mentioned incentives when talking about yourself. It is by human nature that we want to protect things that we believe to be true and that we are willing to argue and even fight over them, and usually there is nothing wrong with that as long as those emotions are not presented physically. However, there are many cases where not being objective can result into many undesired situations. Also, there are cases where the inability to remain objective can cause problems professionally. A police man cannot let their subjective systems interfere with how a case is assessed, the same way a judge cannot change their verdict because they do not like the way the accused is dressed.

If being objective means that you exclude a bias, prejudice or similar from your judgement, being subjective is the opposite of that. Being subjective means that you will include your bias, personal feelings and beliefs into a decision.

It has happened often to me, after leaving an argument with friends or others, that I came back to myself and thought that maybe my perception of the conflict was unfair or close-minded. Also, that I may have given arguments that may only be true for my own perspective, without having regarded how something might look differently from another angle. I believe that is the first step that most people take when becoming more objective.

It is necessary that events and feelings in many cases are regarded as facts and data rather than emotions and expressions. This makes it easier to measure the result of those events and on the other hand, allows for a better understanding of the situations as it is, rather than what we want it to be. As was mentioned earlier it is difficult to be objective when you are emotionally invested. Therefore, if you are regard those emotions and feelings as data rather an automatic expression of your beliefs and impulses, you can go back to yourself and try to understand why it is that you react a certain way towards certain topics and/or arguments. Being self-aware and to self-reflect are the first steps towards any change within you.

There are several ways that one can exercise being objective. Such can be the realization of your own limits, finding and analyzing your week spots (we all know at least one person that knows one of your weak spots, and they use that to make fun of us), “interview” people to gain knowledge on multiple types of personalities and belief systems, reversing your thought patterns and so on.

Personally, my favorite type of methodology is to do sort of a role play. There are several ways of doing it. The most obvious would be to try and change your perspective with someone that you have had a debate with after it is already completed. This way you can retrace what happened, you might gain a better insight into why the person reacted in certain ways, and it can also help you understand how your reactions influenced his responses and the overall flow of the debate.

Another useful way to role play in these situations is to set yourself into the perspective of a third person with a neutral stand point. Neutrality is very important for objectivity, because usually in a conversation (whether it is an argument, debate or anything else) or a relationship there are three positions. The first position is yourself or me, while the second position in the other person or you. Usually in such an event the exchanges happen between these two stakeholders. However, there is a third, too. That would be a bystander, someone with no stake in the argument. You can refer to that person as she, he or they. You can easily (depends on your personality, ultimately) take a third position in a thought experiment, and retrace what happened at the event. This way you can analyze the exchange between you and the other person, and understand how to make better arguments and be more rational and objective in the future.

Another important note is that you should always keep on mind the Logic Principle. The logic principle in simple terms means that whatever makes sense must be true. It uses two main tools to work. The first one is, *drum rolls coming in exponentially….* Logic. Big surprise there. The other one is the scientific method, including scientific laws, experimentation, observation and so on. The usual very important science stuff. Nowadays these methods are often argued against by many groups, but we should never forget that it is exactly these methods and approaches that have allowed us to prosper to great new heights as a species and civilization, where we get to have all the information in the world with us in our pockets, and even ask our virtual assistants to schedule appointments and look things up for us or maybe even tell us jokes.

Objectivity is a great tool to use and exercise in our daily lives. Through this writing, I am not trying to undermine to importance of emotions and feelings and other similar things, such as personal and group beliefs and identities. However, objectivity is very important because it allows us to become fairer in our judgement without allowing anything else to interfere with it.

I personally believe that a great person (no, I am not going to say man) does everything within their power to make the world a better place through their own ability to help. It doesn’t matter if you are doing to by using your skills, assets, or something else. The important thing is that you are doing it, and that you are being fair.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein