Firstly, I am sorry for this late post. I have been busy enjoying my summer holidays, with no computer available. This short post is about a life principle I learned about in the beginning of this summer holiday. I was reading a book by Veer Bhupinder Singh Ji, an inspiring humanbeing. He conveys his message in an easy manner, both in his books and talks. You can easily connect to what he says. Now I will share the life principle I learned by reading one of his short books.
We humanbeings try usually to look positively at ourselves. Usually we don’t see our own flaws, and if we see them, we ignore them or tend to focus on something else. I read somewhere in one of my psychology books that when we see ourselves, we see ourselves as a whole entity. We have an image of ourselves of how we are – the sum of our personality, our personality characteristics. If some situation arises where we show something that deviates from the personality profile we have of ourselves, we attribute (here: put the blame on) the situation in itself. Let me explain by an example. Let us say that I see myself as an optimistic girl, always laughing and living life. One situation arises where someone irritates me a lot, and I shout at this person with anger. Now how would I most probably explain this situation as this deviates from my image of my personality profile? I will explain that it was the situation that caused me to do this, but most of the time I am that optimistic girl, who always laughs and enjoys her life. However, my psychology book writes about the difference in how we view ourselves versus how we view others. When we view others, we often attribute the reaction or act person is showing, to his or her personality characteristics. So imagine a situation where I see someone shouting at another fellow with anger. If I will react like we humans normally do, I will say that the person who is shouting, is an angry person by nature. I will not consider that it might be the situation that caused the person to react the way he or she did, as I would do if I had done the same thing as that person.
Basically psychology is telling us that we look at ourselves and others differently, and we judge ourselves and others differently. Now what should we ideally do? Most people will surely agree that we should look at ourselves and others equally. We shouldn’t ignore our flaws (In punjabi: Avgunn – will be used further) and just focus on our positive sides (In punjabi: Gunn – will be used further). Furthermore, we shouldn’t just focus on the avgunn in other people and forget to focus on their gunn.
Veer Bhupinder Singh Ji gave a life principle through his book how to develop ourselves to become better humanbeings; How to turn our avgunn into gunn. In our social interactions, we meet with people who are full of different characteristics, reactions and acts. There are some aspects we can like with the other person, and some we might dislike. The normal response when we dislike something is slandering (talking behind the back of that person) or criticism of that specific characteristic, reaction or act. Gurbani warns us against slandering. Veer Bhupinder Singh Ji says in his book that there is one way we can use what we see as avgunn and gunn in other people, to help us develop as better humanbeings. We can promise ourselves that whatever gunn we see in other people (here he defines gunn as a quality that correspond to Gurbani, Our Guru’s Words), we will try to develop that in ourselves too. Furthermore, instead of criticizing other people for what we see as their avgunn, we can try to let go of that avgunn ourselves. In this way the qualities of other people will be a guideline for our own better development. This will make our weakness, our strength. In this way we will have a greater connection with our Guruji.
Simple life-principle: Take the gunn in other people (defined as those qualities, reactions or acts that correspond to Gurbani), and make a promise with yourself, to develop them in yourself. Instead of slandering or criticizing other people for what we see as their avgunn, remove those avgunn in yourself. If you reflect on what you see as avgunn in other people and observe yourself objectively, you will get surprised that most of those avgunn exist in yourself too, but you attribute those to the situation, and not to your personality characteristics.