For changing yourself, focus on comprehending yourself, not on criticizing yourself
Suppose someone criticizes us constantly about something we are doing. Instead of understanding where we are coming from, if they simply judge and condemn us, then their constant critical mentality will irritate, dishearten and alienate us. Instead of considering if and how to apply what they are saying, our energy will get caught largely in avoiding them and getting away from them.
When the approach of constant criticism rarely works when someone else applies it to us, why do we think that that same approach will work if we apply it to ourselves? If we become our own unrelenting critic, we may end up becoming fed up. Fed up of ourselves as the faulty person or fed up of ourselves as the faultfinding person. Either way, we end up being the losers because we are our first resource – it is we who have to elevate ourselves with ourselves, as the Bhagavad-gita (06.05) indicates. Even if someone is there to help us – be it an outer mentor or the supreme inner mentor – it is we who have to internalize their guidance at the time of instruction and then give that guidance to ourselves at the time of application.
That’s why when dealing with ourselves, we need to begin by comprehending ourselves – understanding what makes us click and what makes us crumble. If we fail to keep a resolution, instead of simply condemning ourselves for being weak-willed, we need to analyze how and why we flounder: what our thinking is when we make the resolution; how our thinking changes when we are to apply that resolution; and what is the reasoning, however misleading, by which our mind changes our resolution.
When we thus understand ourselves, we will be able to catch our faulty reasoning precisely and correct it effectively.
Think it over:
- Why does a constant critical mentality not work?
- What does comprehending ourselves mean?
- Identify some unsatisfactory behavior of yours and contemplate how and why you flounder to better understand yourself.
06.05 One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.
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