The burden of self-consciousness is best lifted by becoming conscious of a purpose bigger than the self

Self-consciousness can be a big burden for many people. When they interact with others, especially in public settings, they are choked by their self-consciousness: “I am too fat; I am not fluent enough while speaking; I am not smart enough …”

How can we deal with such self-consciousness? By properly understanding our own place and purpose in the overall scheme of things.

We all are finite beings; naturally, we have some limitations. While being conscious of our limitations may be functionally necessary, being conscious only of our limitations can be psychologically damaging. Such self-consciousness becomes like a heavy burden that buries us alive, leaving us with no self-confidence or energy.

To overcome self-consciousness, we need to get out of ourselves. Suppose we see someone sleep-walking near the edge of a tall terrace. Even if we aren’t fluent in speaking and even if we are shy about speaking in public, we will still call out loudly to warn them about the danger.

What enables us to overcome our self-consciousness? Consciousness of something bigger than the self – in this case, consciousness of the danger the other person is in.

Gita wisdom helps us expand our consciousness by explaining that our life is meant for something bigger than ourselves – we are parts of the ultimate reality, Krishna (15.07). He is the omni-benevolent Lord of everyone (05.29). When we strive to do our various roles and responsibilities in a mood of service to him, he can empower us beyond our capacities. And soon, we start seeing that, despite our deficiencies and defects, we too can do some good and make a difference.

When we thus appreciate the potency of working in a mood of service, we start replacing our self-consciousness with a far more empowering service consciousness.

Think it over:

  • How can self-consciousness burden us?
  • Explain with an example how getting out of ourselves can help us overcome self-consciousness.
  • How can Gita wisdom help us grow out of self-consciousness?

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To keep small things small, keep big things big
Be terrified about how terrible you can be, to never become that terrible
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5 Comments

  1. This is so helpful. They always are. I have shared them with friends as well. Many thanks. These really make a difference in my life shaping my faith in God. Amen.

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  2. The example given is indeed motivating. It is coming across such simple examples which counts a lot on the path of progress.

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