I bumped into a friend and profusely thanked her for having a husband who was so kind and helpful to us during a two-week trip out of the country.
After listening to my stories about all the kind and helpful things her husband did for us, she said, “Well. If only he were as kind and helpful to me as he was to you guys.”
My jaw dropped.
I didn’t know what to say next. And she just kind of gently touched my hand, and sadly walked away. I was flabbergasted. No wonder she had this deadpan look on her face while I was talking to her.
Then suddenly I had this flashback about our neighbor who loved to give food packs to orphanages — and oh, how she also loved having her pictures taken with them, all smiles and hugging them tightly — yet she was so mean and stingy to her maids!
We kids called her Jekyll and Hyde.
Really. Our private lives can be so different from our public selves.
But it’s our family members, helpers, and (sometimes) our neighbors who really know. And believe me, the truth leaks out, no matter what.
Which is why we should motivate ourselves to be consistent in our attitudes and behavior, in private and in public. Whatever for? Well, for one thing, psychologists say that the best way to make your kids disobey you, resent you, and get disgusted with you is to be a hypocrite. It’s also the best way to motivate your staff to laugh at you behind your neck, disrespect you (even secretly) and sabotage you whenever they have the chance.
People who wear masks lie even to themselves. We can be experts at deluding ourselves.
When we can quickly switch our Jekyll & Hyde persona without batting an eyelash, then we’ve already developed fragmented personalities. It may or may not be a psychological problem — but definitely an issue of habitual deception either way.
The good news is that we can get out of a Jekyll & Hyde existence pretty easily. It’s a matter of choice and discipline.
First, we have to be convinced that it’s wrong, harmful, and dangerous to ourselves (first of all) to be hypocrites. It destroys our credibility. It provokes people to disrespect us, be suspicious of us, even hate us. Ergo it definitely lessens our opportunities for advancement, if you look at it even from a purely utilitarian point of view.
Second, we must develop the habit of being authentic every single day. Be kind, be truthful, be mindful of the way you express your thoughts and feelings whether you’re at home or outside.
At the very least, we must practice GMRC wherever we are — whether we’re with people who we consider insignificant, or VIPs that social climbers love to kowtow to, or be associated with.
Third, if we find it difficult, at first, to be sincerely kind and polite, no worries! That’s ok. What’s important is that we do the right thing.
For instance, we might feel like being mean to someone — but decide not to act on it.
That’s good. Our right decisions must override our feelings (when our feelings lead us to do wrong). Being kind even if we don’t feel like it is not being hypocritical. It’s doing the right thing.
You know the saying, “Feelings can be cruel masters but are very good followers.” It means don’t be a slave to your feelings. Master your feelings. When we do the right thing even if we don’t feel like it, our feelings will follow.
Fourth, plan ahead and pray to be kind, honest, good to people. Planning ahead helps us to curb our baser instincts. It makes us purposeful, intentional. For example, plan ahead to be kind to a person who you don’t like but will be meeting later that day. Most probably you’ll be nice to that person because you planned it.
Fifth, be honest about your thoughts and opinions — but in an inoffensive, non-judgmental, non-intimidating way. Don’t be balimbing. Don’t be a chameleon. Don’t be a pushover either. Just firmly stand up for what you believe in.
Sixth, don’t badmouth a person behind his/her back and then be all nice and chummy in front of him/her. I know — we’re all guilty of this! But there’s still time to change strategies. Often, we badmouth someone because we’re emotional. We’re so irritated or so angry with the person. Then maybe we get to forgive the person somewhere along the way — but we’ve already badmouthed him. Or maybe we’re just habitual back-biters with no shred of conscience at all. Well, it’s not too late. Just make a decision to stop bashing people. It’s never too late to stop doing the wrong thing.
I’m just skimming the surface here, obviously. There are countless more ways that we can kill the Jekyll and Hyde virus in us. What’s important is that we be vigilant about annihilating it. And even if we fail at times, we must bounce right back and keep doing the right thing. Bit by bit. Until it becomes a habit.
The habit of being authentic, of being real, is a lifelong process. But as we keep developing this habit, we’ll surely see a preponderance of huge benefits: true friendships, personal and public integrity, high credibility, trustworthiness, good EQ, good work ethics, the respect of family, friends, and work mates, etc.
Expect to reap the fruits of being sincere, authentic! People will love it when they know that you’re the genuine article.