Posts Tagged ‘Self Deception’

“Just” me!

Oct 15, 2010 // No Comments » // Change Initiation | Conversational Circles

© ConversationCircles

© ConversationCircles

Hang on! Before you begin to think that I am blogging about ‘Just Me’, think not. I am sharing my learning about “Self-Justification” and probably an important lesson for you too.

Recently, I was intrigued by this simple yet truly great word – JUST.

We use this word ever so often; we use it as adverb such as just now, just do it or just a moment ago etc. We also use it as an adjective such as: this is a just cause, a just reward or punishment and deserving of a just retribution etc.

But it is not the word uttered or use outwardly that intrigued me…but the manner in which we use it inwardly, silently or even unconsciously that amazes me. For example, suppose you are in a long public-train ride and got yourself a comfortable seat besides one that is meant for the elderly; at one stop, the corner of your eye spotted someone that might need your seat more than you do. Now, I guess that the most immediate response from your heart will be to choose to let up the seat for the someone; but here’s how we may often choose to response:

  • The person on the seat meant for elderly should give up, not me!
  • What if the elderly may not need the seat as he may disembark at the next immediate station?
  • I am not alone in this…why should I?
  • What if the elderly reject my offer? This was what happened when I did the last time…
  • This is a long ride for me. I am as legitimate as anyone in this train to the seat, why me?
  • What if…

You see, we have this uncanny ability to JUSTIFY our own choice of action/behavior that is in contrary to our organic response or intention. Our reservoir of logical reasoning that camouflage our heartfelt intention is mind boggling and often disengaged us from our true way of being with others. Worst of all, the habitual “way of engagement” would become our wrong sense of being with others so much so that we deceive ourselves into believing that we are JUST in our own action.

lorryx3_via_Flickr

Last Sunday evening, it was my turn to read bedtime story to Eiffel (our three year old boy). Having just got back from a training assignment on board a cruise ship for three days, I was really tired and was quietly hoping that Eiffel will pick an easy reading and possibly a book with the least pages…To my horror, almost like he wish against my hope, he picked one of the heaviest book from the shelf titled “Around The World in 80 Days”. As I was struggling to stay engaged throughout, for a few times when he wasn’t paying attention, I craftily took more than a few pages at once as I flip the page, and every time I did that I pretend to narrate the new page with exaggerate tone and expression to cover any trace of “fast-forwarding” the pages! Eventually, if not for my clever endeavor I would not have finished the book in half the time – though not rightly so but I am JUSTIFIABLY tired! – a self-justified exclamation even before I went into Eiffel’s bed-room.

“Ok Eiffel, what does it mean when we come to this page of the book?” holding the back cover of the book high up and trying to conceal my yawning…

“it means the end…” Eiffel’s mumbled unwillingly.

“Yes, it means time to sleep and papa will say a prayer for you now. Close your eyes…” I was urging him hurriedly.

“But dad, why is it the story is so different from the one that mommy read to me the other day?” Eiffel asked unwittingly.

“Oh…Mommy read Around The World..?” I gestured at the book cover nervously.

“Mommy’s story has India, Hong Kong and…”. Eiffel was peeling off my self-deception innocently.

Justly, my deceit was exposed. But more importantly, I have learned an unforgettable lesson from our three year old boy about my way of being with others beyond my action or behavior – and my self-justification.

Points To Ponder:

  • The last time when you chose to not respond to your innate calling but act in contrary, how does that felt?
  • If you felt justified acting in contrary to your organic responsiveness, how would you think others might respond to you?

Schadenfreude: Das ist Gut!

Apr 23, 2010 // No Comments » // Conversational Circles

Picture source: INFdaily.com

Picture source: INFdaily.com

No, it’s not the computer unicode setting. I am not into German language either…the term caught my eyes and I thought it is interesting to share it here with you.

Schadenfreude is “pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.”

How ‘wicked’ I thought…but I asked deeper;

“Have I ever experience that sort of pleasure?”

“Is there somewhere deep down in my heart when things doesn’t go well with others I feel some kind of fortunate that’s not me?”

The Buddhist concept of mudita, “sympathetic joy” or “happiness in another’s good fortune”, is cited as an example of the opposite of schadenfreude. Alternatively, envy, which is unhappiness in another’s good fortune, could be considered the counterpart of schadenfreude. Completing the quartet is “unhappiness at another’s misfortune”, which may be term as empathy, pity or compassion.

The Book of Proverbs mentions an emotion similar to that now described by the word schadenfreude: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.” (Proverbs 24:17).

I had the priviledged to learn the concept Self Deception from the Arbinger Institute some years ago. The concept explains there are two ways that we are being with others:

“The Responsive Way – To see others as they are – as people. Seeing them as people, I am responsive to their reality; their concerns, their hopes, their needs, their fears. Others are as real to me as I am to myself.

The Resistant Way – To see others as I choose to see them – as objects. Seeing them as objects, I am resistant to their reality. If I see others at all, they are less than I am – less relevant, less important, less real. Seeing people as less than they are, I am deceived about their reality.”

How do you see your fellow colleagues?

Are you able to connect with yourself and them and they connect with you?

Are WE able to connect and see one another clearly – the hopes, anxieties, wishes, tears and joy?