Every person imagines himself to be someone.
Regardless of his/her karma and social status, every person thinks he is important enough and that other people should know who he is and treat him accordingly. This is a big misconception towards reaching “the goal” and only the subject can address this misconception and rectify it.
Let’s take an example.
The manager thinks that he is the one who is managing the team and ensuring profit. The senior employee thinks that he is the one who has all the knowledge of systems and it is he who is ensuring profit. The junior employee thinks that he is the one who works the most and it is he who ensures maximum profit.
All of them are illusion-ed.
All the three subjects have imaginary beliefs somewhere in their head and their perception about themselves originates from the belief they have about themselves as well as the belief they have about others. Results are hence a byproduct of the beliefs since beliefs propel action.
In reality, nobody is even bothered about who you imagine yourself to be. So the image you are concerned about exists only in your head.
This is the primary reason why people feel threatened in their day to day endeavors with others.
We are terrified on
- How other people will treat us?
- What other people are thinking about us?
- What others are saying about us?
- How can we change a situation by convincing others?
- What can happen if you are not recognized?
- What could have happened had you received proper recognition?
And so on and so forth.
Everyone is a predator and a prey
No matter who you are, you are a prey to someone and a predator to someone. The fact that other people will know your achievements and recognize you is an imaginary expectation in your head.
So one day a king was passing through a Jungle and a snake obstructed his path.
“How dare you cross my path like that? Do you even know who I am?
It doesn’t matter who you are. So long as you are in my territory, I will treat you as a threat and will attack you to save my life and my family’s life.
But I am not here to attack you. I am just going on my journey and it is just a coincidence that I happen to be inside your territory. And if you remember, I am the same king who prevented people from deforesting this jungle so you should feel grateful and let me go.
So long as you are in my territory, I cannot afford to believe you. You had done me a favor in the past but at this moment, you are a threat and your past action cannot justify your present intent. It doesn’t matter what you will do in future or what you did in past, the reality of this situation is that you are a threat to me and if you move closer, I will have to attack you.
The snake disagrees to recognize the king. The King is craving for recognition and that the snake identifies himself as “Powerful” and gives him way. But the snake is helpless in his behavior and cannot afford to believe anyone, not even the King who had done him favor in the past.
Had the snake praised the king and given way, the king would have felt very happy. This action would have validated King’s imagination about himself. But the moment king’s expectation of recognition is not upheld, he becomes angry and prepares for a conflict which hurts both parties.
Expectation of recognition causes Inner conflict (“Antar – dwanda”)
It is the expectation of recognition that causes so many conflicts in our day to day lives.
- Why did he say that in team meeting? Doesn’t he recognize my hard work?
- Why didn’t my wife talk to me in the evening? Is she angry? Doesn’t she recognize that I am doing this for family’s benefit?
- Why did the professor insult me in front of the class? Doesn’t he know that it will hurt my image?
Praise empowers us while Insult dis-empowers us.
Whether that praise or insult is deserved or well deserved does not matter. The behavior is that every human being wants recognition and validation about what he imagines himself to be and an aberration in behavior of other people causes inner battle within the individual, which itself is completely imaginary and deceptive.
The expectation of recognition need not be always external. It can be internal as well.
In pursuit of our lives, we imagine ourselves to “become” someone else through achievements, milestones and material gains. We are not happy with who we are, rather we want to be someone who we imagine ourselves to be in coming years. This is again another expectation of recognition and when this expectation is not met, the subject fights “Antar Dwanda” (inner battle).
Result of the inner battle is always defeat (you can never win when you fight with yourself). When defeat is accepted, the subject comes to reality and expectations are either forgotten or let go and the subject turns his/her attention in recovering from the defeat. This is when expectations are cremated and reality is accepted with both hands.