Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Being Human and Accepting Your-SELF

Have you met with any of these incidents or similar? (I am sure, you as a human being, would definitely have had):  failed in exam/initiative/venture, feared/worried to face your manager or client, caught red handed in your misdeeds (intentional)/mistakes (unntentional) in public or in office; been an object of joke/insult and couldn't retaliate;  been cheated, rejected in love etc.  

Do you possess any of these emotions or thoughts? (I am sure, you as a human being, would definitely have had): mood swings, worry, anger, fear, hopelessness, ego, jealousy, selfishness, despondent, demanding, pity, bored, impotency, highly sexual, money minded, stingy, inferior, not good looking, not having good dressing manners, undisciplined etc.

Whenever you have been through one or more of these feelings or thoughts or incidents, what is it that you did as a first thing? What was your afterthought? And if these were repetitive, what opinion did you form about yourself? Most probably, if not always, you would have had felt bad and regretted, or forgotten after sometime, or started questioning yourself, or picked up self-help books to fix it, or escaped to smoking, drinking, and drugs in a worst case scenario. All was done in a desperate struggle to avoid the memory of these feelings or thoughts or incidents, to fix them and ensure that they don’t come back again, to run away from them so that you feel comfortable and you feel OK with your-self.

One of the very first and a wrong thing done in such scenarios is to read the self help (motivational) books. Most of these books jump start with where you have to be, what potential you possess. Indirectly, showing you where you're now!! Above this, the self-help books come with a load of ideals on being, integrity, confidence, faith, courage, belief, high self-esteem, morals, value etc. Reading them during such a phase, without resolving the basic issue, puts anybody in an abyss.

When a negative feeling cripples the daily life, or disturbing to others, it is definitely a problem and has to be resolved. But, that’s not the case always. See these day-to-day examples:
- You’re bit jealous that your colleague got a good performance rating.
- You worry a bit more than others, even for small things.
- You’re untidy or stingy.
- While walking on the road, you slipped over a banana peel.
- Forgot to put the pant zip was a victim of joke.
- You watch pornography movies and feel bad about it (of course, later).
- You had failed in an exam.
- You stammer or get little nervous, while in official meetings.

Many a times, these feelings or thoughts cause no harm(unless we create around it) and we still hate them, want to fix them, resist them or feel bad about having them!

A human being is made up of flesh and blood. It takes in yummy food, but, also produces urine, poop, sweat everyday and passes it out. This process is god’s creation and nature’s formation. On the ditto lines is the design of a human’s mind with so called positive and negative feelings and thoughts. The human mind is built up of fight-or-flight system. All the so called negative emotions such as fear (pointer to indicate that there is a danger in your environment), jealousy (pointer to indicate that there is a danger in your environment), shame (pointer to indicate you're not feeling worthy), worry/hopeless (pointer to indicate that there is some uncertainty), anger (pointer to indicate that you're not in control of the situation) and so-on and so-forth are part of this fight-or-flight system. The moment, you define anything as a “problem” the FIGHT/FLIGHT system gets activated. You decide to FIGHT (self help books, criticize, and go to temple/yoga/meditation classes) or FLIGHT (cigar, drinks, drugs). This is natural; It is BEING HUMAN. Did you read that - BEING HUMAN?

At the end of the day, any human being wants to feel OK with himself/herself and that there is nothing wrong with him/her. Most of the time, we expect only good qualities within us and loathe the bad things, though smaller. We forget that these so called negative emotions, which we loathe, are PART of human being’s life and tend to reject them. In the process, we start rejecting ourselves, causing low self regards and self esteem. We are not robots that we have only a set of good/great feelings like faith, hope, dignity, self-pride, high self-esteem, self-worth, good communication skills, courage, etc. and can programme ourselves only for them and say - NO ENTRY - for other feelings. The emotions and thoughts are like a spectrum. See these examples for the range of feelings:
1. Highly worried – Worried - Secure (comfortably worried) - Careless (not at all worried);  
2. Hopeless – Confident - Over confident
3. Ashamed - Low worth – Worth – Very worthy.
The emotions and thoughts can't be compartmentalized. They are not Boolean in nature. We are humans.

Often, there are so many things told in the literature, TV, school, parents that we, the human beings, are great. This greatness is associated with being ideal, which in turn is associated with some set of good qualities and characteristics. The biggest of all things in life is BEING HUMAN. Is human being made up only the good and godly qualities? 

One of ways to work with these feelings is to learn accepting your-SELF. If we define such feelings as PROBLEMS, the FLIGHT/FIGHT system is activated immediately. Before getting into that, is it possible at the first place to accept that, which is in you, without labelling it as “bad”, “negative”? Can you just see, understand or feel the emotion or thought? And in many cases, if it is not causing you or others a problem, can you just stay with that feeling? Just accepting and understanding this (accept + understand = empathy) is a big relief in itself. It removes the grip of that negative emotion on you. The so called greats of history and time were also human beings and they too had all these negative qualities, negative incidents in their life, but, they accepted it and moved-on. However, you shouldn't disguise the acceptance as a route to escape and hide yourself. For ex: You can't say that you’re a human being, you have desires and so breach the trust (not being celibate) or run away with someone else's money. The demarcation is like a double edged sword. The acceptance has to and will help you to move-on in life and stop criticising your-self.  It helps you in stopping the crippling criticism and make you realize that you're human being and all the traits treated as negative/sub-standard are also part of a human being's realm and not that of a robot's.

At the end of the day, it is essential to understand and realize that - "You're OK, as you're" and let the rest of the internal communication start from this state onwards.