Every time you look into the mirror, do you say “how cool am I?” or are you like many of us, including me who says “oh, my hips are so big” or “oh, that pimple left a mark” or “my paunch shows” or “my nose is flat” and so on … its so easy to criticise ourselves and so very difficult to praise ourselves. Self criticism is an acquired habit, if you don’t believe me, look at babies and small children before they go to school. They haven’t learnt to frown yet when they see themselves in the mirror. They are thrilled with their tummies, their feet, their hands and everything about their body. I wonder who teaches us to criticize ? Parents, elder siblings, aunts, uncles, teachers, who ?
Last week, I attended the first part of my Coach certification program along with 21 other wonderful human beings. I only knew Atam from before as she and I are part of the cycling group “Pedalyatris”. The program started with asking each participant what they looked forward to in the program and the last day, we went through that list of expectations. I had put down a simple expectation as “learning” and well, that expectation was met nearly every minute of the program. But as I started to share that, I had a deep insight about how far I had come in my personal journey.
Those of you who know me well, know that I am deeply intuitive and many of you who have worked with me always dreaded my instincts about people – because they turned out to be right often. The operative word here is “often”, not always. For a long time I was cocky about my “first impressions” because they often turned out to be right and that fuelled my belief that my ability to know a person was nearly accurate. Till my friend’s marriage fell apart and my “first impression” about her spouse went completely wrong. That was the first time, I realised how wrong I could be. Then I started to park my “first impressions” on the side and not let it influence the way I worked with the person and that helped too, because I was pleasantly surprised sometimes and sometimes when reality was different, I could accept it and move on.
The insight I had on the last day of the program was that for the first time, I had not even formed any “first impressions” of my co-participants !! It was a special moment to see how far I had come and how good it felt not to be burdened with first impressions and allowing myself to enjoy knowing each individual as they were. Anyway, as my master coach Osho says, each person is unique, incomparable.
Right through the program we had just one rule, we could not criticize and what a relief it was !!. As you focus on what’s good in each person, and in yourself, you realise that you are quite cool and so is the other person. Osho was so right, and I am glad, I finally got it :). I always “knew” in my head that he was right, but getting it is something else. Its like knowing about love and falling in love.
So go out there and be the incomparable you… yes, even those you don’t like, are still unique and incomparable.
3 thoughts on “Wow, How far have I come !!”
I can always find things to like about people. It was a shock to discover everyone isn’t this way. The idea was I could learn from and adopt likeable traits. During my lifetime, the world has become more interconnected, with all the clashing of boundaries and cultures intensified. We are all in each other’s business, for better or worse, but the competitive mood keeps us from appreciating what we could all learn.
There are those who believe competition is good. I believe it depletes everyone involved. Why win if someone else must lose? How can I enjoy excessive wealth if someone else is starving? Better to concentrate on strengths and interests–unique to each individual–and find a way to harmonize like a symphony to build a more appreciative spirit for what we already have and can build upon?
Katharine – you are a rarity !! People always find things not to like in others and how to mould others in their likeness. The whole diversity and inclusion bit is currently just numbers in the corporate world, the actual acceptance of diversity requires huge maturity.
Bindu – Thank you so much. You have that maturity too, otherwise you wouldn’t recognize it in others.
I’ve been thinking of the difference between personal power and delegated power. Those who work in corporations and government, all the salaried jobbers, are not free agents if they derive their sense of self worth from their jobs or outer circumstances.
I believe in self-governance, but others are afraid of it, and are quick to give their power over to bosses and government, then resent it if bosses and government don’t behave the way they want.
This is so stifling to growth of individuals and cultures. People’s stories are fascinating if I’m looking to understand rather than find fault.