05
Jun
Vraja Bihari Das (Venugopal Acharya)

Taking personal responsibility helps improve relationships

In one instance, I observed closely how taking personal responsibility for our lives, thoughts and feelings can help us achieve success and also develop healthy interpersonal relationships.

Once while counselling a young member of the ashram, I noticed his agony at not getting recognition and rewards for his tireless endeavours. While he worked hard at his tasks, his team leader took all the credit and glory. This junior often complained to me and asked me to inform the senior to not be so haughty and ambitious. When I asked him if I could report that he was angry with his senior, he immediately backed out. Although he wanted me to address the situation, he didn’t want to put himself in any trouble. I could see he was avoiding taking responsibility for the pain and hurt he felt and instead wished for someone else to fight his cause.

Initially, I suggested he practice the principles of humility and tolerance; soon, I realized the practical difficulties with this approach. It was more of psyching oneself with lofty spiritual principles while internally struggling to come to grips with the harsh reality of having a need for appreciation and success. Finally, I decided to address this situation by taking shelter in the principle of ‘taking personal responsibility’. I suggested he accept the fact that he has a need for getting recognition and rewards. His first reaction was defensive; he denied this, living out an artificial assurance to himself that he was humble and didn’t need any glory. I then reasoned that if he was indeed so humble then why was he so disturbed and why was he complaining? After much prodding, he finally accepted that he had the need to be recognized, at least share credit with the leader

To be continued…

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