Appearances may be deceptive

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The other day I met a family in the lounge of an airport. It was a man, his spouse and two kids. The man was wearing a religious mark on his forehead and looked very spiritual. But as soon as we entered the lounge, this person started consuming alcohol and other beverages like the other mortals around him.

I have nothing against his consuming alcohol or any other beverage. Ultimately, it is his personal choice and preference and nobody is entitled to comment on it. But, what caught my eye is that the appearance of a person may be deceptive at times.

This man looked very spiritual and one believes that a person of this type may not consume alcohol. This could either be our mindset or underlying my hypothesis that appearances may be deceptive.

I met another family in a restaurant. They looked from the lower economic strata of society but were doling out money to everyone. Sometimes physical appearance can be misleading and you form opinions about people, which may not reflect reality.

I have met people of different hues in life and generally noticed that appearances are indeed sometimes deceptive. A person may look calm and serene in appearance but may be short tempered and hotty in his disposition.

The interesting aspect to understand as to why this happens as we grow up in life. As a kid, all of us are spontaneous and our appearance will be symptomatic of our moods. One can easily make up the emotions of a kid with the appearance on her face. On the other hand, as we grow up we possibly try to camouflage our emotions and try to hide reality from the world.

This could be because we are conditioned to behave in a particular way in a particular situation. Any dissonance is considered deviant. This then gets reinforced in our psyche and then becomes a way of life. We start believing that we have to smile at the world even if we are in distress.

Of course it may be true that some people are more dramatic than others. They are good in their histrionic skills and hence can act different from what they are feeling inside. This may be more natural for some than others. My belief is that is difficult to have an internal state of emotions and express something else on the face. But that is the life which appears around us.

While it may be true that all of us try to hide our emotions sometimes, it may be desirable to express ourselves as we feel. This may be easier than done. However, the more we are able to practise, the lesser dissonance we may have in life.

As in the photo, Niagara Falls may look cool on a cloudy day. But it may not be safe to try and swim under the falls even when it is calm. Appearance can be deceptive.

Personal credibility in life is all about predictability. If our face cannot predict our emotions, then others may consider us less reliable. Hence, it is fair to state that face is an index of the mind. The more we are predictable the better for us and for all the people around us.

Let our appearance reflect the reality within us.

S Ramesh Shankar

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