Getting to know yourself
Psychology can play a useful role in the process of self-appraisal and personality development. And that was the essence of Dr. Anuradha M.Uberoi's talk at a seminar in the city.
THE MOST baffling jigsaw puzzle you will ever come across is yourself. If you ask, "Who am I?" and choose between "I am a brain" and "I have a brain", you will probably end up facing the wall "Then what am I?"
Human beings are fragile, but surprisingly, mental robustness co-exists with fragility. Psychologists insist that no mind is either completely robust or completely fragile. What Dr. Anuradha M. Uberoi, psychologist and directrix of the consulting firm, innovative Consultants & Technologies, Chennai (mobile: 98410 42520), said implies that robustness increases with self-awareness. So if you know yourself well, you are likely to be more robust mentally than your peer who does not.
"Every person is a combination of assertiveness, submissiveness and aggressiveness. I am yet to come across a person who is just one of the three," she said. One could suggest that Adolf Hitler was completely aggressive. But he was also sensitive to Eva Braun. That would immediately mean a non-zero score on assertiveness/submissiveness.
At the recent media workshop in Chennai, attended by only a handful, Dr. Uberoi highlighted the implication of each personality type. "A submissive person is unwilling to insist on his rights; an aggressive person thinks only of his own rights, and doesn't care for others; but an assertive person insists on his rights without curbing that of others, " she said. Obviously the last type shows a robust psyche. "What type each one of us is depends on our upbringing and our early experiences," Dr. Uberoi said.
Given that a person is a combination of all three traits, with one being predominant, it is easy to identify if a person is assertive, aggressive or submissive. The steps to correct the imbalance, if any, can then follow.
The first move is to answer a questionnaire. The evaluation takes three minutes on an average. Setting the balance would obviously take longer. But what is interesting is, you will identify the dominant trait in you in a matter of minutes.
Dr. Uberoi says that dialogue with one's self is important because that is the channel for self-appraisal. If you tell yourself again and again that you are useless, you will soon be so. But self-admiration is not the same as self-respect. It is the latter that can lead to assertiveness, where you respect another person's psychological space without ignoring your own.
Dr. Uberoi claimed that her system made significant difference to some corporate units.
The Environment, Health and Safety Manager of Whirlpool India, Pondicherry, S.S. Majumdar, said," Dr. Uberoi's approach made a lot of difference to me and my colleagues who had attended the workshop some years ago. We learnt to say no, and became aware of our body language."
The intervention designed by Dr. Uberoi is likely to provide a solution at the workplace in a corporate setting. The question is, will the change be long term or will it provide just a workable mask for people to get along at the workplace? According to a psychiatrist, fundamental changes happen slowly, and the time input from both the client and the consultant must be very high. One wonders if this is possible in high-priced, short-term packages consultants usually offer.
On the whole, you cannot deny that few of us know our dormant trait because in most cases our responses are, as Dr.Uberoi said, "context-sensitive." We are submissive to our parents, assertive with our subordinates and aggressive with careless road-users. What matters is, once you identify your strengths, you could work on your weaknesses. The path to being a better person is neither by hook nor by crook.
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