Courtesy Corporate Skills


Self-realisation is the first step to self-improvement

BY Shyam Hettiarachchi

Let’s take a look at a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘walking towards the light,’ and set about overcoming our dark side. All the steps we take in our journey towards self-realisation begin with the same first step – which is to admit that there is an area for improvement.

In this case, it is our dark side. As human beings, we have our triggers and blockers, and these triggers and blockers bring out our dark side.

Admitting this to ourselves and taking the bold step towards self-realisation is the moment where we take a deep breath and exhale, as though it was our first real breath. It’s our very own aha moment.

Need versus want is a debate that has stood the test of time. For a more pragmatic perspective on the debate, we need a pen and piece of paper. What happens when we visually represent what our needs and wants are? What happens when we see them in front of us?

Well, our aha moment only becomes stronger.

It’s quite simple when we see what’s in front of us, and we have given ourselves validity for what we really need and want. Seldom do people realise that this is probably the most powerful self-authenticating aura that they exude as effective leaders.

Our past has defined and moulded us into who we are today. We must reflect on our past as we’re the sum of our experiences. Together with the situations, we need to reflect on the emotions we felt. Our behaviour is moulded more by our emotions than we care to admit.

The emotions reflect some unfulfilled needs in our lives; and as adults we are still trying to bridge this gap. It is important to be constructive when you reflect on your past and not dispense blame.

Be accepting, open and forgiving. We cannot change our past. We can however learn and move forward. We are human beings; it’s okay to be flawed; it’s time to accept and move forward, one step at a time.

The poison of expectations comes from within and from others. Expectations can either propel people to achieve or produce pain and failure. We must be mindful and decide for ourselves what expectations we can impose on ourselves. Self-destructive behaviour is most commonly a result of trying to escape from unrealistic expectations.

And the tailspin begins, and we are left dealing with the cumulative effect of the expectations and pain that we inflicted on ourselves. Seldom do we realise that we are the ones who decide to offer others permission for what they can expect from us. This is the most empowering step in overcoming our dark side. It is time we look at these expectations realistically.

All of this comes to pass with the conscious practice of self-knowledge. Our value is not determined by our performance, positions, titles or achievements; it is defined by us and what we want as human beings during our lifetime. Self-knowledge is the culmination of what we have discussed so far.

Visualise the fusion of these powerful aspects that spark a chain reaction that culminates in self-realisation and self-knowledge. This level of empowerment is what we offer ourselves, and no one can take it away from us.

For this retention to begin generating its power within us, we must believe in ourselves and value the persons we’re at this very moment; not who we were or could be.

We need to feel complete and comfortable in our own skin, knowing that we’re a constant work in progress, which brings out the best version of ourselves while we continue our life’s journey. This is the Zen moment of overcoming our dark side.