ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

Do You Really Trust Yourself?

Or are you the person you are because of outside forces

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It may sound a bit surprising but it is the fact that most people do not trust themselves. Their behaviors and actions are many times guided by outside forces such as societal approval, laws of the land, etc. If the outside forces are not present then the person can act and behave in an entirely different manner. This brings the question as to whether a life led in this manner is a good life. Won’t it be better if a person could be guided by his internal voice and trust his instincts rather than being guided by outside forces?

People wear mask

People who do not trust themselves and portray a personality to the world that is mainly guided by fear are actually wearing a mask. It is painful to wear a mask and requires extra energy to maintain it. The only benefit that a mask can give to a person is a kind of approval from society but the cost for this approval is too high.

Example: Ram is a father to two adolescent children. He does get excited while watching a sensual scene on the television or whenever he meets another beautiful woman. He does not trust himself and hence uses outside forces like society or his children’s approval to create a mask where he completely suppresses his natural emotions. This mask helps Ram get approval from his children and society.

Behaviors may sometimes be the same

There may be a time when the behavior portrayed by a person would be the same if he were to trust himself. But psychologically there is a lot of difference in both these cases. When outside forces guide our behavior then we are constantly stressed out while if the behavior is coming out naturally based on our inner voice then we are completely at peace with ourselves and also more confident.

Example: Manoj is a software engineer and is quite dedicated to his work. His dedication stems from the fact that if he loses his job then his wife will leave him and society will ridicule him. But in fact, if Manoj works upon himself and moves the motivation to derive from his inner self then also he would still be dedicated to his work but there will be a huge difference in his emotional well-being.

The analogy to methods of irrigation

Consider yourself to be a farmer who has to irrigate his field to grow various crops. This is analogous to a person using motivation (water) either internal or external to create behavior (crops).

If the farmer has not done self-analysis then most likely he will be dependent upon outside sources of water. One such source of water is rainwater. Depending upon rainwater is actually dangerous. There may not be rain on certain occasions causing a drought. Sometimes the rain can even flood the field thus destroying the crops.

Similarly, if the person is dependent upon outside forces to govern his behavior then it is dangerous for him. Maybe the outside forces become hostile and then the person does not know how to mold his behavior.

Now consider a farmer who does some work in creating a source of water. He can dig deeper and create a well. The water coming from the well will not be dependent on outside forces and the farmer can irrigate his field whenever he requires. The stress level of the farmer would also come down.

Similarly, a person who depends on outside forces to maintain a mask should do some groundwork. He should analyze his natural tendencies and dig deeper within himself to finally arrive at what I call the inner voice. This inner voice will be the source of truth for him. It is permanent and would relieve the person of unnecessary stress.

Example: In the earlier example of Manoj who is a software engineer, let us assume that he becomes frustrated with using outside forces as motivation to do his work. He then works upon himself i.e. digs deeper within himself and finds that software is what is of interest to him and that he enjoys the process. He also removes fears like losing his wife or societal approval and eventually becomes a transformed person psychologically. His dedication to the work remains the same but as a person, there is a tremendous transformation within him. He becomes happier and more confident.

Conclusion

Trusting oneself is actually not that easy. One has to take responsibility for one’s behavior and actions. If we leave outside forces to guide our behavior and action then it is easy to live as most of our behaviors will be in accordance with what the society or family expects of us. But living in this way is incomplete and full of stress. It is better to dig deeper within ourselves and reach the inner voice that can guide our behaviors and actions. Depending upon our inner voice is quite a stable form of guidance for our behaviors and would relieve us from wearing masks in public. The person then transforms completely and leads a more fulfilling life.

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Utpal Kumar

Utpal Kumar

Interested in the psychology behind human functioning. I write on a variety of topics with most of them dealing with personal development | MS in CS from UCSD