If I do it, it’s right, if others do it, it’s not

I find life interesting in many of its dimensions. One of the most fascinating things for me is to observe and study human behaviour. If I do behave in a particular way, it is fine, if others do the same things it is not acceptable. Let me illustrate with some examples. If I get up late from bed, it is ok since I came back home late from a flight and I can justify it. However, if my kids get up late, I will scold them without even asking the reasons for it. Rather, I will term it as indiscipline.

This behaviour is manifest in the family, community, organisations and even in society. If I disrespect someone in the family through use of inappropriate words, it is ok as I am the head of the family. However, the same behaviour by my spouse or my siblings or kids is not acceptable and I blame them for lack of family values.

We can see a group of village elders pulling up the youth for smoking in the village square but when the elders smoke, they are disrespectful of the community norms. I can get away by having long hair or by growing a beard and justify it by some family ritual. When the same is practised by my kids, it is considered indecent.

Organisations are no different. The boss can get away using foul language with his team members. However, when one of the team members uses the same language, it is admonished. Similarly, the manager can come late to office and she has valid reasons for the same. However, when one of her team members is late, she loses her cool and reminds the team member of office etiquette and discipline.

Today, it is reflected in the behaviour of nations across the world. We see one super power bullying everyone if those countries do not toe their line. This super power can invade any country and kill anyone in the name of protecting humanity. However, when the same actions are initiated by another country in some part of the world, then this super power considers it violation of human rights, freedom and liberty.

If I go in knee deep water near a waterfall it is fine but if my kids want to do the same, I may say it may not be safe as in the photo above.

Although, I find this behaviour by individuals, communities, organisations and nations amusing, I have not been able to get to the root cause. I cannot understand as to why I tend to justify my ill behaviour by reasons beyond my imagination and find the same behaviour reprehensible when displayed by others. It is like an obese doctor advising his patient to control his diet and maintain his body mass index. It is visible but not comprehensible.

Life is a mystery and we need to discover it every day of our lives.


S Ramesh Shankar


29th January 2020

2 thoughts on “If I do it, it’s right, if others do it, it’s not

  1. What’s right and what’s wrong?

    The act of judging gets limited by one’s point of view in a given situation.

    Often we are less present to the concerns, motivations and circumstances of the other person, and may be harsh in our judgment of their actions.

    But, “If I do it, it’s right, if others do it, it’s not” may not be always true for those who tend to be self critical.

    Liked by 1 person

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