Nurturing appropriate Self-Image

The four basic aspects of mind are Chitta (Memory), Manas (aspect of feelings and emotions), Buddhi (aspect of gross and worldly intelligence) and Ahankaram (self-image).

The impressions – sensory, emotional and intellectual accumulated in our memory store house (chitta) interacts with our manas and buddhi to determine our actions, habits and hence our personality.  Some of these impressions are in our conscious mind and are easily accessible to us.  This depicted as IC  in the below figure is what we think we are.

Self Image

There is a larger part IU – The unconscious/unknown aspect of our personality, is what we do not know we are.  These two aspects – IC and IU together determine our true personality.

However, in human interactions there are three other elements of I which come into play.

  • IO – The others’ I’ is what others think we are.  The way others interact with us depend on IO.
  • Unaware of what Iis, we develop our own perception of what others think we are – the perceived I denoted by IP. Generally people try to be acceptable to others and attempt to build their IP.  In a society where we interact with hundreds of people every day there are hundreds of IPs which we continuously try to work upon. One source of stress…
  • The so-called intelligent and smart people in their attempt to become successful in life put forth another image IM – The Mask I what we want others to think we are. (Do you remember the “silencer” in the movie three idiots?).

Ignorant of IO, we make a continuous effort to work upon IP and/or IM trying to match the two. In the process we completely forget the true aspect of our personality determined by IC and IU. An effective personality development program brings to the fore the unknown and unconscious aspect of our personality IU, provide tools to identify and work on our strengths and weaknesses.

As we have understood earlier, this is a time-consuming process which the busy 21st century global citizen does not have. Hence, the shortcut approaches taught in average personality development and soft skills programs focus upon cosmetic elements like interview skills, negotiation skills, communication skills, etc. helping to design a good mask IM and try to align it to the perceived I – the IP.  This approach at best can bring short-lived, short-term benefits. No doubt people are stressed out spending all their energies in living a split life – in continual denial of their conscious true self. Do you find people around blaming other people, things and situations in life for their sorry state of life? No doubt there is dearth of exemplary leaders in the society today.

The true leader in us is nurtured by working upon these core aspects of our Self-Image – IC and IU. Such self-image when rightly communicated will match with Io. This is simple but the road less traveled in building healthy relationships.  Any self-image which has a mask would get exposed sooner than later and is a major cause for strained relationships.

Practices like play-back meditation, journaling, sakshi bhava meditation (witness attitude), etc. helps to increase the IC and cut IU developing deeper self-awareness. Self-awareness is the first step towards building a better self-image.

When we are aware of our strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and needs we can work to enhance our strengths, overcome our weaknesses, eliminate inappropriate aspirations and fulfill all our needs in harmony with others. Pratipaksha Bhava meditations, sankalpa in yoga nidra, self-hypnosis, etc. are some of the tools available for the same and work not only on the wakeful conscious state but also on the unconscious state of our mind and build a positive self-image.

Playback meditation followed by Daily-SWAN-journaling are integrated practices which brings together time-tested ancient Indian Wisdom and 21st century tools to suit the needs of 21st century global citizen in nurturing  a healthy self-image.

Intervention at the stage of sensory, emotional and intellectual inputs in daily life help determine the formation of appropriate impression and develop positive self-image. This is also an approach to handle our emotions and stress in daily life.

IP, IM and IO depicted in the above figure overlap to varying extents on IC and IU in different people and in the same person at different times. One cannot determine this on their own and need expert guidance. Hence, it is advised to take the assistance of an expert in determining the above, learn and deploy appropriate tools to nurture a positive self-image.

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  1. Being Humane – Man is not an emotional being | Ankur Learning Solutions

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