(…or, Making Each Other Look Good)

“It takes one to know one – and vice-versa!” — Alfred E. Newman

“Nothing is either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.” — Shakespeare

The idea that we need to make each look good is a figment of our imaginations. If we all agree to be honest, no matter what, then looking good takes a back seat to truth. That’s a good thing. People like the truth. Some say, “the people can’t handle the truth,” but the truth is that the one who said that was afraid of what would happen if people ever find our the truth. So, when we “make each other look good,” we are probably hiding the truth. Because as a rule, no one really looks that good when the truth is known. One of the best definitions of friendship I have ever heard, is “A friend is someone who you know, and still like.” Now, that’s the truth. Most people you enjoy spending your time with are people just like you. If you’re fat, you prefer the company of other fat people. If you are thin and perfect, you prefer the company of other thin and perfect people (“Perfect” is here used as a pejorative stereotype with the understanding that no one is perfect, but some just people think they are). If you are a fearful, weak politician, you prefer the company of other weak, fearful politicians If you are a couch potato, well, shall we just say that active people put you off? So, making each other look good, creates the anti-dynamic pooling of like people. Which begins by becoming exclusionary almost immediately and   ultimately becomes an extravagant emperor’s clothes closet and a self-congratulatory, mutual admiration society of misinformation and mischief. So why do it? If people look bad, they probably deserve it. But, then they can learn from their predicament. If people are really good, then those role models shine brightly and others adapt to them. That’s good. But if there are lies and constant misleadings, then the role models that emerge may look good but definitely are not (hypocrisy stains everything), and when others adapt to them they learn quickly that trust is out the window (cynicism takes over). Plus, those who want the truth can’t get it, and those who are willing to take chances for truth are never allowed inside (discouragement). Is there any of these things in your community, your company, your life? Fight back with the most fearsome weapon known to man… honesty. And remember the good news, as you sally forth, “It takes one to know one- and vice-versa!” You may start out alone, but that will change.