Saturday, September 5, 2009
Managing and Developing Self - Indian Way
Author: Varun Jha (LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/varun82)
Self-management is a psychological term used to describe the process of achieving personal autonomy. The goal of self-management is to shift supervision and control from a parent, caregiver, job coach, or employer to the person him-/herself. Self-Development is taking personal responsibility for one's own learning and development through a process of assessment, reflection, and taking action.
We can identify our life as a process of self growth and development from birth to our present state wherein the permanent core identity of ‘I’ is augmented with additional features during the process of living. This gives each one of us individual distinctiveness and uniqueness. We call this uniqueness as individuals’ ‘Personality’, consisting of specific motives, traits, dispositions, desires and the likes.
The above process of an evolving and changing personality to an extent, (based on the commitment), can be self managed by any one during the very act of living. Internal Conflicts are created when we try to go out against a certain value, when there is a violation of value. For instance, on the one hand we have greed and on other hand we have a value for doing what is right. Greed, which arises from our needs and our insecurities forces us to violate someone’s right or makes us to act in a dishonest manner. When we act in the universal values, such conflicts are resolved. The one who wishes to gain self knowledge must have the ability to refrain from the temptation to indulge in sense pleasures.
Desire is a product of ignorance. Some of the desires are helpful, some are hurtful, and some both helpful and hurtful. There could be some desire conducive for our self growth. As we grow, our needs gradually reduce and we discover more satisfaction with ourselves. This is what is called growth. The ultimate goal is to become free from need, which creates desire. As soon as a desire arises, instead of blindly following, it is important to ponder about its usefulness. In some cases, where desires may be related to the necessities of day to day living, it should be fulfilled. But there are some needs that are cultivated; needs that aren’t there, but are perceived to be needs.
Anger erupts whenever one is frustrated with himself. It erupts whenever one feels helpless. One feels helpless whenever one cannot make his way out. One feels that others should conduct themselves in a particular way to meet his expectations but unfortunately it doesn’t work. That is why there is a clash of conflict between people with their own expectations.
Whenever one’s demand or expectations is not met, one feels angry because of feeling of rejection, helpless and not in control. Jealousy erupts on account of a feeling of deficiency in oneself. It happens when somebody is better, more accomplished, or smarter than other.
To worry is something natural. We must, however, recognize that mere worrying doesn’t help. Worry will not accomplish anything. If we find ourselves worried about something, we must confront the object of worry and act upon it. If we can alter the unpleasant, we should try to change things to make situation more pleasant and agreeable. When there is something inevitable in life that we can’t change, we have to accept it gracefully. Anxiety occurs when we are not willing to accept the unpleasant realities of life. Prayer will also help in reducing anxiety. In every situation there is certain things we can change and many things we can’t change. Whatever we can change, we should use our will and courage to change.
We should not grieve for things that we need not grieve for. Grief arises when, number one, we do not understand the realities of life, and number two, we are not willing to accept these realities. We do not understand that the whole universe functions according to a certain order and that we cannot change this order. If we understand this reality, we will be able to deal with it comfortably. Sometimes, even when we understand, we do not accept it. Hence, in order to deal with the grief in our life, we need both understanding and acceptance.
It is the human nature to have expectations. So, we have an opinion about ourselves. Usually, the opinion is that I am inadequate. The expectation that we have of others, they originate from the expectations that we have from ourselves, and we have very big expectation of ourselves, and that is we expect ourselves to be complete, we expect ourselves to be perfect, we expect ourselves to be free of every limitation. This is the expectation we have. The more we act out of self interest the more selfishness circulates in the mind. This is called “contributor” attitude. Attitude of consuming or grabbing creates further obstacles in our lives. More one become a “grabber”, more insufficient they feel with themselves. Thus, by contributing we are not obliging but doing what you should be doing. Lord Krishna says that Kama (indulgence), Krodha (anger) and lobha (greed) are gateway to suffering. More you submit to these impulses, more ineffective, manipulative, vulnerable and weaker you become. Pratipaksh Bhavna (Bhavna = attitude. Paksh = position or side. Prati = opposite) is the method to overcome these. This means deliberately taking the opposite sides. For example, when anger arises, the opposite of anger is what we call Shama – forgiveness, accommodation. Forgive him. See the person behind the behaviour. Thus, Control when it comes to Kama, Compassion- when it comes to anger and Charity when it comes to greed.
One of the important aspects of managing the self that Bhagwad Gita teaches is called responsibility. There is a very famous line in Bhagwad Gita - Adhikara means freedom or adhikara also means responsibility. Human being has ambitions, freedom of choice, free will. But, Lord Krishna says that a privilege or freedom will be a blessing to you only when that freedom is accompanied with responsibility. Call it responsibility or call it a duty, every individual has it. A responsibility/duty towards parents, teacher, others. Emotional maturity is being able to manage one self and one’s emotions. An immature person cannot be a leader because he cannot make right decisions. For judging the situation, for leading, for making right decisions, you must have maturity, what you call emotional maturity. You must be able to have a balanced mind and maintain an equality of poise, a balance, even under unfavorable conditions.
Spiritual growth entails movement from tamasik (with greatest impurities refers to inertia, ignorance, and darkness) tendencies to Rajsik (represent activities and ego related with it) and then towards satwik (represent purity, knowledge and all noble aspects of human life) state, with reference to thoughts, desires and action. It is accepted fact that higher levels of management require high EQ. For natural, sustained and effortless behavior, high spiritual quotient is what is required which automatically meets the requirement of characteristics of high emotional quotient.
Self-management may take a great deal of time and energy to implement. However, having an individual actively participate in changing his/her own behavior may be the key to reducing or eliminating behaviors as well as to maintaining appropriate behaviors. Once the person can monitor, evaluate, and reinforce his/her own behavior, everyone benefits.