Do you get annoyed with yourself when you screw up? I sure do.
On the one hand, it’s normal; it comes with the territory of being human and therefore must be forgivable. On the other hand, I find it hard not to be annoyed with myself when I mess up too often or badly.
I wish I could catch myself ahead of impending train wrecks and avert them but I do seem to repeat some mistakes with regularity, even if less dramatically over the years.
Here’s an example which relates to an ego problem I have: attention-seeking. My step-son just got married. It was a thoroughly happy occasion and I love his new bride. The ceremony and reception were inspiring, fun and elegant, and we guests were so well taken care of.
For no logical reason, and with little self-awareness of what was happening at the time, I felt sort of isolated. Some small part of me wanted more attention than the groom’s mother and dad were getting. Of course, I knew that this auspicious occasion was not about me, but at the time I wasn’t able to discriminate lucidly with the discerning faculties of my higher self.
No one would have known that I wasn’t having the time of my life. But, the pettiness of my mood deprived me from actually having as wonderful experience as I might have had.
I do think I can be more aware than I was by learning to be more selfless. Honesty helps.
Bernard Bouanchaud, in his book The Essence of Yoga, says that cultivating discernment requires constant effort. But the reward is that one “perceives persons, situations and problems objectively and positively.” In other words, the reward is happiness and freedom.
The ceaseless flow of discriminative knowledge in thought, word and deed destroys ignorance, the source of pain.*
*Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, B.K.S. Iyengar.