Each of us should ask himself or herself this question regularly, just to make sure that he or she is still on track to lead a decent, and hopefully useful, life. If someone else asks any one of us who he or she is, do we always give a truthful answer? Many are dissatisfied with the reality of their lives and try to "improve" on nature, as, for example, by exaggerating their qualifications and/or successes.
However, it must surely be easier to accept the vagaries of life, if one is willing never to pretend to be other than one is. If one tries to pretend that one is somebody else, life must get terribly awkward. I feel very sorry for those whose only wish is to make out that they are something other than what they really are, since they tend to become laughing stocks when they manufacture their own c.v. without sticking to the truth and they get caught out.
As I have often said, the legal profession is so meticulously (and even nit-pickingly) regulated that any interested or inquisitive person can always check any claim which any lawyer such as myself might be tempted to make. This has not prevented some lawyers from making exaggerated claims about their past and inventing non-existent successes. On the world stage (where, somewhat to my surprise, I found myself while in my genuinely exalted post at the International Chamber of Commerce) there are fairly often lawyers who make wild claims, but they are usually (even if, it has to be admitted, far from always) quickly exposed. It has however to be admitted that many in a wide range of other trades and professions are able to get away with monstrous claims, very often in order to impress others around them socially, or, of course, to succeed in politics.
The greatest claim that one can make for oneself is that one has tried to be decent and honest at all times. But I assume that we all at some time or other let ourselves down. I know that I am far from perfect, although, in my own defence, I feel justified in saying that I do try. The next question is "do I try hard enough?" On a close examination of my conscience, I have to admit that I could on many occasions do better. Such realisation of one's own imperfections should neither make us gloomy nor lead us to give up hope. Those of us who are Jews, Christians or Muslim believe that God is loving and everlastingly merciful, and many of our brothers and sisters of other faiths have this same belief. Recognition of our own imperfections should spur us on to improve, and not to give up hope.
This however does not help those who feel driven by their inferiority complexes to make unfounded claims. Their problem probably arises because others have not shown them the respect for their dignity which is due to every single human being, however lowly he or she may appear to be to the worldly. I have seen many examples of cases where ordinary folk have shown a shocking lack of respect for children and older persons, and it could be that such experiences have driven others to feel the necessity to invent for themselves a more "superior" self.
Be that as it may, we tell untruths about ourselves at our peril, since, as I have written above, we might get caught out. It has often been said that a boastful person can become more and more entangled as the lies become more and more complex. Let us all play safe by keeping to the truth, which saves us from having always to be on our guard.
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