Self betrayal – the root cause of Self deception
Self-betrayal is acting contrary to what we feel we should do in a situation, for another person— not acting despite wanting to.
Examples: (i) in a mall we get into an elevator. As the doors start to close, we see someone scurry around the corner & race towards the lift. In an immediate moment we feel that we should hold the door for him — however in subsequent , momentary hesitation ( should I / should I not ) we don’t do anything & the lift moves on — we’d then justify / legitimize our act by thinking that the other person is lazy ; if he wanted , he could have run faster to the lift …. What did he do to get in that I should extend myself to help him?
(ii) Moment you felt like helping your spouse / child, but did not get to do it
(iii) You felt the need to apologize to someone, but did not do it
(iv) You had some information which could have been useful to a coworker, but just kept it to yourself
(v) A manager knows but fails to do a pre emptive review of work which can go wrong; when it does, he blames team member for not forewarning him but not blame self that he did not review in advance
In an act of self-betrayal, other person’s ‘faults or shortcomings ‘suddenly become more relevant to us, after we fail to help them. We begin to see the world in a way that justifies our failure / inaction. It makes us feel that what we are doing is right
Self betrayal is the germ that creates and sustains the disease of self-deception.
Like being in any other emotional state; a blame game (self-deception) too clouds our thinking & invariably leads to inaction.
Why does self-deception happen?
- Most common human reaction (like reflex action), faced with a situation is to absolve self-- try to explain how we are not the cause. Being inside the problem, it’s difficult to see what the problem is. Since self-absolving is the default mechanism of the mind, it’s logical to find fault with someone else, to establish ‘outside of myself ‘cause of problem. Since we do not see ourselves as a ( problem or ) part of the problem ; we also do not see ourselves as a part of solution – our search for solution remains illusory ; leading to inaction .
- Non alignment of our actions, beliefs with our core values can also lead to self-deception.
- Training programs which focus on enhancing functional skills do not work here, since self-deception is about orientation of mind. It’s essentially a coaching task – to bring in awareness & a shift in perspective.
Corporate implications of Self deception
- In a state of self deception we see people (culprit) and ourselves (victim) as self-justifying images created by us.
Over time these images become our characteristics.
- By blaming others we help them to get into their own ‘self-deception’. Then they blame us for blaming them, which in a way justifies our blaming them. We feel their blame is unjustified & blame them even more. They in turn do the same … In this cycle entire focus & energies shift to blame game / saving self rather than focusing on resolution. Since self-deception from one person prompts self deception from others; in a way we collude to give each other reason to stay that way.
- Under self deception we think someone else is a problem & we spend a lot of energy trying to change others. We can’t see how our perception of problem ( that others need to change ) itself is a problem
- When we blame others, it is not because they need to improve. We blame them, because their shortcomings justify our failure to improve.
- Since we’re too busy focusing on self we can’t focus on results.. Even most people seemingly focused on results may not be really focused on results – they value results primarily for building their own reputation.
- Self deception has many symptoms from lack of motivation & commitment to stress & communication problems. It can show through lack of engagement , conflict , poor team work , backbiting , misalignment , lack of trust , lack of accountability These can be severely detrimental to an Organisation’s objectives .