reputation

Tony Ryan - Saturday, February 04, 2012

In the past week in Melbourne there have been 2 front page stories about one of our ex footballers. The first story being about him visiting a jail and having cocaine traces on his clothing . The second story being the footballer refuting any evidence that suggested he is taking cocaine. This led me to question what most people would do in a similar situation.

 

I do not know either way if the footballer in question is taking cocaine. If he has been wrongly accused then I think he has done the 100% right thing in defending himself in the same forum that promoted the accusations. However if he is using then I believe he should have come out and admitted to the use.

 

I think that we live in a society that encourages us to place reputation ahead of truth. Firstly we seem to place appearances as our gospel which places enormous pressure on people to appear strong, confident and honest. Secondly we think on a very shallow and reactive level and as such punish those who seem to act in any way that challenges our sensibilities.

 

Hence whenever our behaviour is questioned it is natural for us to want to defend our reputations for fear of being rejected. I see this as destructive on so many levels. When we do manipulate the truth of a situation to protect our reputation we still know the real truth. Hence unless we fully look into what we have done and how we feel about it we are likely to carry guilt. Further I believe that it is guilt that drives much of our destructive behavior including the addiction to external substances, activity or people.

 

Also I believe that when people manipulate truth to protect reputation they are contributing to the fear and guilt of others. Human life has many dysfunctions and most of us are affected at some level. When reputation comes before transparent communication the extent of pain, fear and insecurity in the community is deeply hidden. Hence when a person knows they have certain weaknesses they feel even worse because others/society do not seem to be experiencing similar issues.

 

Therefor I believe that every person who experiences trouble in life can become a positive influence on others by accepting and honestly communicating their vulnerability. Not to be a victim or to make excuses but to educate themselves and those around them. All too often the more pedestalled a person is the less likely they are to be transparent about weakness. This starts with parents and teachers and extends through to our politicians and celebrity figures.

 

Public figures have an especially gifted opportunity to shape their society. If I was well known I would like to think that I would use this position to educate others about the struggles that we all face. To bring a deeper questioning to life and how we judge ourselves and others. Our world may presently be about how we appear but this does not create real joy and freedom for anyone. However if we drop our protective walls and communicate transparently then suffering,weakness and addiction will be greatly reduced.

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