Imagine the time you were a student, preparing for an important examination. It’s late night and you are in your room, supposed to be studying. After a while, you are bored and sleepy and you pick a novel and start reading. Unexpectedly, your father walks in to your room and before you can cover up, he sees what you are doing. He walks out without saying anything.
What happens? You are overcome by a terrible feeling of guilt and embarrassment. You feel miserable. You know you have done something wrong, but still do not know why.
It could also happen in office when your manager suddenly walks on to your desk to find you browsing some sites instead of working on an important assignment.
All of us have this difference between what we are supposed to be doing and what we are actually doing. But the interesting part is that such things happen without us taking notice of. We would have actually sat down with a plan to work on something for the next two hours. After a while, we get slowly distracted. There is an uncontrollable urge to check your personal mail or see who is on the chat or look in to the bulletin board. And invariably this is the time someone chooses to have a glimpse of how you are working.
This extends to other things in life. Say if you have promised your wife that you will never smoke again and you yield to your urge and puff away in office. You come home in the evening soaked in guilt. Your wife asks – did you smoke today?. You say – No. She is so happy about you keeping the promise and you are asking yourself – what kind of person I am?
When this involves another person (someone is expecting you to do something) it normally ends up with them forming perceptions or opinions on you. You manager might decode that you need constant monitoring or your wife is actually smelling your cloths to confirm that you haven’t really smoked.
But the real problem is what happens to you. Every time when you come to know of this ‘difference’, it pulls down your self-respect. And you see this phenomenon extending to all other things in your life – at your work place you are not doing what you should be doing, your wife is not what you expect her to be, and eventually your life is not what it should really be. The more you lose your self-respect, more doubtful the mind is and this further creates the difference.
I think it’s extremely important to ‘be true to yourself’, to live a life with self-respect. In my view, there are three things to set right.
- Managing Interruptions : There are two kinds of interruptions. One is external (someone walking over to you to clarify something) and the other internal (your mind says – forget this boring presentation, let’s look at what’s new on the bulletin board). These internal interruptions are the ones that cause the problem. Here some suggestions:
- Try this out. Next time before you sit down for a task, set your mind – I am going to do this for the next two hrs. No interruptions. I will look in to anything only after that. I think over a period of time, you will see a great improvement
- The other issue is to do with planning the day. Spend some time every morning to plan the day. This will avoid drifting of your mind
- If you have this problem for long, it could be because of a lack of purpose. Set some definite goals, which will provide a direction to your mind
- Another important point to take care is the restlessness of the body. If you don’t exercise regularly or have lot of mental clutter, the body is restless and in no time the restlessness passes over to your mind.
- Unable to keep up a promise : Big or small. You have promised someone something and then don’t honor it. This creates not only self-respect problem but also perception problems. Being true to yourself also means that you only make promises that you can keep. Start with simple things and you will master this soon.
- Inability to stick to your decision : One night you take a decision that you are going to rise early and exercise regularly from tomorrow onwards. The next day, you wake up as usual late and as you are hurrying to reach office on time, you despise your self and are convinced that you can never take any decision in life.
The suggestion again here is, start with simple things and don’t take a decision for your life time. It creates lot of fear which is sufficient to doom anything ever before you start. Take a decision for a day, or a week or whatever is comfortable.
I think if we are able to get rid of this ‘difference’ and be true to ourselves, life is bound to be much more peaceful.