Whenever we read or hear the news of a young girls disappearance or rape, we shudder in our souls. Its only normal to feel compassion for this victim and hate for the perpetrator.
We wonder– How can someone be so cruel? How does someone become such a horrific criminal?Is or was he always like this? Is he like this with his family too? What made him this way?
Most of the time these criminals, are very upstanding members of the society we live in. They look perfect , they act perfect. All in all perfect personalities. But when no ones watching, we know what they can become. These people are choosing to be multiple personalities by choice not by a predetermined psychological condition.
You might think that this person is a criminal with God knows what background…How does this apply to me? I am not like that….
OK then, lets take some real world examples of multiple personalities by choice–
Example 1– Have you ever witnessed a gentleman with cultivated tones and a sensitive attitude, suddenly turn around, snap viciously at his secretary or peon, before turning back to you and resuming his cultivated persona? In that split second his other personality has come out, you have witnessed him do irreparable damage to the hours of build-up he executed for you.
Example 2– You are taking a ride with a friend. She is sweetness personified, chattering away with you – till her driver takes a wrong turn. Then, grrrr! She screams at the driver, questioning his intelligence and berating him. It takes a moment for her ‘ugly’ face to switch back into the pleasant one you know, but a lifetime for you to forget!
Example 3– Your date makes all the right moves, holds open the door, waits for you to be seated before taking a chair himself and makes light, undemanding conversation. Just as you are slipping into a dreamy state, he snaps his fingers for the waiter’s attention, or worse, shouts at him for lazy service! The dream is over even before it began…
The true touchstone of our character is the way we treat those less fortunate than us, not our equals and superiors. It is said a person is judged by how he/she treats the less fortunate. Why is it that we let go of our anger only against those who cannot retaliate? Or, unleash the demons within us when we imagine nobody is looking?
Indeed it is in moments when you feel that nobody who really matters is watching that you emerge in your true colors/personalities. And that is the true test of character – the crux is to behave well when you know you can get away with bad behavior.
Why do a lot of people indulge in deviant behaviour on the net, in cyberspace? It’s because they feel safe as they are unobserved there. How you work when you are not supervised, how you treat your children who cannot or rather, will not retaliate, how you hold up in the face of temptation calls for real strength of character.
Personified Temptation comes in abundance and it is when you still walk the straight and narrow that you truly shine. So, if a woman plays a generous, gracious hostess, but ill-treats her maid and pays disgustingly low wages, what kind of person is she???
How can intentions and character be tested till you have actually been faced with temptation? How can you say you would never ever cheat on your spouse, till the opportunity has presented itself and you have resisted? How can you be really sure that you would never steal till you have been actually left alone with a pot of gold and are totally sure nobody would ever find out if you helped yourself to some of the booty?
If and truly IF you have walked away from temptation once, what’s to say you would be able to do so a second time too?
Why are you squirming in your seat right now? Isn’t it because all those demons within you are kicking at your insides, waiting to be released? Reminding you of all the times when you didn’t act in a manner you would want anybody to know? That is the real you, the one that you let loose when nobody was looking…
The truth is not in the polished hardwood flooring but in the dust that has been swept under the carpet. It’s when the other personality takes over that the real individual emerges. Your strength of spirit as a professional lies in the way you treat your peers and subordinates, not the way you kowtow with the boss. Your worth as a friend and companion is in how honest you are with your friends, not behind their backs.
All of us have multiple personalities – for each other as well as for ourselves. Nothing wrong with that, so long as these personalities dont hurt you or others. There is a good you and a bad you and the struggle between the two is a part of all of us.
The true test of character isn’t in the non-existence of the bad you, but in your ability to identify and correct this part of your personality.
Yes, even when nobody is looking…
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Photo credit- h.koppdelaney’s photostream flickr