Does everyone know you but you?

It is probably rare for a person to stop and seriously wonder: “Do I see myself the same way others see me? Or does everyone know me but me?”

Which is the REAL you? The person you, in your mind, think you are? Or are you really the person everyone knows based on your actual words and deeds?

Jane Seo, a 24-year old Harvard graduate, has recently been in the news.

First Jane cheated.

Then she lied.

Then she fabricated false evidence to cover her lies: she went back and rode a bike over the Fort Lauderdale half-marathon course she claimed she fully ran, so that her GPS would place her on the entire course.

Then she tried to rally allies to her defense by posting the GPS data she created with a bicycle on social media as “evidence” that she had not cheated or lied.

But the evidence against her was unimpeachable, and she knew everyone knew it. She was left with the course of last resort: a contrite sounding apology.

Seo’s so-called apology stated “I made a horrible choice” because “I wasn’t feeling well” so “I PRETENDED to run the course” (EMPHASIS added).

I count several horrible choices, including the choice to continue to deceive yourself and others about the kind of person you really are.

I personally know people who don’t draw the line at right and wrong, they draw it at what they think they can get away with. And if it turns out that they couldn’t get away with it, no problem, because they’ve had years of practice spinning legitimate sounding excuses.

And what gets me about these people is every one of them thinks they are a good person! They operate seemingly oblivious to how most people around them see them.

Most of us are too polite to tell others they are a mess. Perhaps since they aren’t getting any¬†feedback to the contrary, they think they’re okay. But our self-understanding shouldn’t be left to others anyway, it is far too important a matter to delegate. It is up to us to be real with ourselves.

Which is the REAL me?

Am I the person that I, in my mind, think I am?

Or am I the person everyone knows based on my actual words and deeds?

Whatever the case, for me, Jane Seo’s story is a cautionary tale. I know I’m tempted at times to blur lines as well, especially inside my own head. Stories like this are reminders to me that self-honesty is probably the most important life skill any person can have, and hold on to.

As the great philosopher, Rick Patino, once said “Telling the truth puts a problem in your past. Telling a lie makes the problem part of your future.”

Genius! As tempting as it is to lie to ourselves and others about the kind of person we really are, telling the truth, no matter how difficult, puts the problem in our past. Telling a lie makes it part of our future.

For our own well being, we all need to make ourselves the same promise Job made to himself: “Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me” (Job 27:5).