Let’s continue with our condensed Meditation Gems series. Today we’ll discuss appearances, an ancient concern. As far back as Aesop‘s fable, The Ant and the Chrysalis, the moral “Appearances are deceptive” is present. We have to acknowledge that self-confidence relies greatly on how we see ourselves. Whether this inner perception represents the stairway to a broader and successful vision of life, or is the path to ruin, depends solely upon ourselves. The things we think about and the things we do define our true identity. People afraid of failures skip from one idea to another almost endlessly, and thereby rarely get hold of success. Facing the hard circumstances of the real world, our fears would recommend to step back in order to avoid (possible) injuries. Self-confidence provides the fuel to fight these fears. The world belongs to brave people. Nevertheless, being brave does not mean to live recklessly, as self-confidence also allows us to realize our limits as imperfect human beings. The key word is balance. For self-confidence, bravery must join forces with humility. Being afraid of failure opens the door to appearances, but being unaware of failure leads to frustration. When the required balance is disrupted, desperate for filling up the void, we tend to recur to a harmful resource: appearances. With appearances we try to fill up the gap in our souls, related to our need for faking our limitations and guising them as “intentional” patterns in our life.

Wait up. We have known a lot of people who used appearances deliberately, in order to deceive others. Again, that ‘s just our sense of appearance struggling against ourselves 😉 Those people who like to use appearance to hurt others, are really being devoured by a great void and a huge loneliness. Appearances are their bastion to run away from such pain. They think they will “conquer the world” by acting in that fashion, but they only are losing the fight. And the price to pay is solitude. What a high price. But that’s beside the point. We know that life’s treasures belong to true warriors. And no true warrior hides her shinning armor. Being a warrior means to receive injuries. No success is accomplished without receiving injuries. It’s our scars, our last and first places, our defeats, our victories, the beings we have loved, the places we have visited… the only heritage of eternal time.

Appearance is a term linked to lies. It says how we want other people to see us, covering our true colors. Do we let how other people see us have too much influence on how we see ourselves? Do we live by keeping up appearances? More important, do we think that everyone is betraying us? Remember, balance is crucial.

Manny was the general manager of Lois’ company, and as such, he enjoyed wide decision authority. He was coming along well with his work, he was a model worker… apparently. However, one day the main secretary of the company resigned. She had worked for Lois’ father, who started the company several years ago. Before leaving, she told Lois: “Appearances are often deceiving. Beware.” After that caveat, Lois started to carefully look over the company books and stats. She was shocked. She discovered that Manny was involved in dirty and treacherous agreements with rival companies. Even some books reflected mismatches between the sets of figures. That’s why although we must avoid misjudging others, we have to be equally vigilant to protect ourselves of being framed by others.

Appearance, when established in a human being, tends to grow. Appearance sprouts more appearances in order to subsist. The cost of that growth, of course, is self-confidence. And when masks fall, we discover that behind the mask only a dark void was left. We, as imperfect humans, are also leaned toward misjudging others. First, all the things we perceive about others are heavily affected by our beliefs, fears, prejudices, feelings and experiences. Thereby, we don’t analyze information in its pure form… it’s impossible. We always process information influenced by our mindset, which may easily be a door to deception. And our body’s chemicals also alter our mood and attitude. We don’t see reality as it truly is, but as we want to see it. And appearance is the perfect disguise for everyone attending the party of farce. The summarized moral of the post is this: “beating appearances is a matter of living a balanced life.” When balance crumbles, appearances breathe.

Finally, let’s remember Socrates’ wisdom: The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world, is to be in reality what we would appear to be.

Live happily.