Monday, February 17, 2014

Self Awareness

My client recently said to me that her complaints about her partner are just a reflection of her own inadequacies. I have learnt it to be true in many personal conflicts. But it was only when she put it so succinctly that I ruminated over it. (For a moment our counselor-counselee relationship reversed)
Ask yourself the same question- How many of your complaints about family members, co workers and friends are in the same category. Are you really upset at your boss for not showing you enough respect? Or don’t you respect yourself enough and hence the need for reverence from someone else.
Here is my theory on this-
We know who we are to a large extent at a subconscious level. We know our faults, our strengths, our limitations and our skills. But to function in a fairly effective and efficient manner, we live in denial about a few weaknesses. The awareness is just below the surface but not yet out in the conscious mind.
It all starts in our childhood. We pretend to be better in order to be accepted and to live up to the so called social/family/moral standards. By the time we are adults, the pretense becomes our reality. This gap between the real self and the projected image is good to a large extent. I look at it as an evolutionary change. It allows us to function successfully and be masters of our destiny. But larger the distance between the two, more the stress in your life and more the conflicts in your relationships.
So, what is the prescription here? Does one express one’s inadequacies explicitly? That clearly wouldn’t do. Imagine talking about your diffidence in a yearly appraisal meeting! For a common man motivated by the usual human drives, it is difficult to be completely honest outside of self. Only a Gandhi can write “My experiments with Truth”.
What would help is being aware of these failings and living with that self-awareness. Being conscious about this knowledge while the required, almost obligatory pretence goes on, is the first step. Responding with that awareness in personal interactions is the next. The resultant change that you see in yourself is the seed for evolved living.

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