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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Human Nature - two sides, multiple sides or masks?

Often, most people tend to just judge someone by the cover, or take their personality on face value. It is often when something happens, then people start realizing that there may be two sides to the same coin other than what was initiated displayed on the surface.

Different Sides to a Person
For instance, a very kindly and amicable high school principal - well liked by all students and her staff in school, well-received by parents of the students and is a model community member. One day, her maid dies at home and upon police investigation, it is found that the same mild, sweet-faced principal has actually bludgeoned her maid to death. In fact, at home, this principal has been abusing her children and maid at home. Everyone who knew her from school and the community was stunned to silence.

Does the above sound familiar?

Or how about this... Your supposed best friend at work - a supportive, diligent and caring colleague-turned-friend, someone whom you always turned to when you were stressed out and confided in. One day, a secret of yours went viral around office, or some callous remark you'd made of the boss was made known to him. You found out that the culprit was this supposed best friend at work - the same bitch whom you found out later, has been eyeing your position all the while and wished to get rid of you so she could take your place.

Does Everyone Wear Masks?
Yes, William Shakespeare said that "All the world's a stage, and the men and women are merely actors"... We are performing on life's stage on a daily basis, probably even playing charades, but sometimes not all of us are aware of it.

Some of such examples would be, us behaving differently with various groups of people. For instance, our family members may view us as being impatient, lazy or gregarious, but to friends we may be generous, outgoing or diligent. To colleagues we may be efficient, and in church we may be patient, etc.

Or we may even behave differently with different friends - such as being loud and wild with one, being docile and sophisticated with another group etc.

For some of us, we are versatile deliberately. Well, yes, it may be a masquerade party for us to portray the image that we want others to see us as, but it may also be a natural habit to just blend right in. After all, not everyone can accept all sides of our character, so those that we can try to conceal, we do.

For others, they may find it easier to express themselves around friends other than in front of their own family members, or vice versa, thus they appear to be different when they are at home and outside. They may not even be aware of this difference unless a third-party observer points it out to them. It need not be something drastic - it could be something as simple as them being snappish towards their parents at home but outside, they  lack the guts to do so to friends so they appear to be doormats with no tempers to their friends.

Different Sides That are Compelled to Surface
Often too, love or pain can bring out the best or worst in someone - no, we are not talking about turning over a new leaf or changing of own accord, because that would be an entirely different topic from the current one about our inborn, natural "different sides".

An example would be, say, a very stingy boss who saves and scrimps way beyond the frugal limit. If anything, he has even overstepped the reasonable limits of being miserly, cutting down costs on what are deemed to be "commodities" or basic essentials for the office and staff remuneration. However, one day, he learns that a staff's mother or his own distant relative is seriously ill and needs massive amount of money for an immediate transplant. This somehow tugs at some sympathy strings in his heart, and he actually forks out the money to help the patient in need.

Does this stun those around him? Yes, I believe it does. How about the following example?

Let's say, a kindly, benevolent and mild woman working a simple white-collar job to support her son ever since her husband passed away. Her son is all she has, and she loves him very much - he is the only reason she has to continue living on, in fact. One day, her son is killed in a random gunshot or kidnapping case, and the said gently woman is devastated. Gradually, her pain triggers her to track down the killer and she kills him with cold calculation - something she never knew she would be able to do, but yes, she has done it for her son. As William Congreve said, "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned" - well, sometimes, a parent's love may drive her to different heights too.

No, the miserly boss and the mild mother did not change - the other sides of their usual characteristics have always been a part of them, but concealed. Circumstances have brought out these hidden characters, it takes no effort to change or adapt at all, it all comes naturally. Sometimes love, pain and sympathy may drive us to reveal sides of us we even forget we have in us.

Therefore, never believe that anyone is 100% the way we see them as. Every badass - even sluts, even violent criminals, even calculative businessesmen - has a soft side to them that they will show only when faced with certain people, for instance a violent criminal may be very kindly towards children because of their innocence. No, it doesn't make them right, but it does not make them a complete monster as well.

Same goes for the "good people" out there. Do not believe that they are so nice they are harmless or completely foolish. They may harbor thoughts that they never share with others, or secretly instigate their partners to play the "bad person" so they keep up with their Mr Nice / Mrs Nice image. Sometimes, when faced with danger or hurt, the "good people" may turn nasty or show their dark sides too - like a dormant creature being released out into the world to attack.

That is not to say that we should start looking at everyone with suspicious eyes or becoming paranoid. We can still enjoy the surface-personalities everyone present to us, but always be prepared to think twice before acting for instance, lending money to someone, hurting someone or judging someone by one or two deeds alone.

This article is written by the author of this blog, and no part may be reproduced or distributed without permission. Copyright  © thearcticstar. All Rights Reserved.

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