Q: I Am Self Critical and Replay Every Social Encounter, How Can I Stop This Habit?
“That’s a bad habit. Self-awareness is good, but a self-critic is not good because it is never to the point. When the moment is gone, then you criticise yourself. Awareness is in the present and criticism is about the past. You cannot undo it, you cannot re-do it. It is gone, and gone forever; nothing can be done about it. It is simply foolish to waste even a single moment thinking about it, because again in thinking about it, you are wasting the present, again doing the same. Be aware in whatsoever — relationship, work, meditation… whatsoever it is.
When something is there, when something is happening, be aware; never be critical.
“Because in that moment of awareness, something can be transformed. If you are alert, you may not do many things; you will do other things. If you are aware, you will not be able to make the mistakes that you go on criticising. Awareness has never been anything for which there is any possibility for repentance.
“A man who is aware, never repents. Whatever he could not do, he has not done. There is no point in pitying oneself, in criticising oneself, feeling sorry for oneself; they are all diseases. So drop that.
And it is an ego-trip. You do something and then you start improving on it in the mind. That simply shows that you have done something which falls below the image of your ego.
“You have been angry and you always think that you are a very very good person, and you are never angry — and now you have been angry. Then later on you see that your self-image has fallen down. What to do? Now in your own eyes you feel condemned.
“How are you going to show your face to others? And you have been broadcasting so much that you are a good man and you are never angry, this and that. Now what about that advertisement that you have been making? You cannot say that you have been angry or greedy or a miser or whatsoever. There is only one way: pulling yourself up by your own shoestrings, you straighten yourself, repent.
“You say ‘This was wrong. I should not have done this. I should have done something else’. Now you are painting your image. You are saying ‘Maybe I was angry, but it was just a moment’s error. I am repenting for it. Look — there are tears in my eyes. I am not a bad man at all’.
“You may even go to the person to whom you have been angry and ask his pardon — but that too is an ego-trip. You will again start feeling good, a very good man! You have retained your respectability again. Your self-image is again enthroned.
“If you really feel that anger was wrong, then forget about the past. Now whenever anger is there, remain alert. That is real repentance. Remain alert. I’m not saying don’t ask people’s forgiveness. Ask — but not in repentance. Not for anger but for your unawareness. Can you see the distinction?
“If you have been angry, go to the person and say ‘I have been unaware. I behaved like a fool, a drunkard. I was unconscious, drugged. I have done something but I was not there’. Ask forgiveness for your unawareness, not for your anger. And remember the real problem is not anger. The real problem is unawareness.
“So next time be more aware. Whether it is anger, hatred, jealousy, possessiveness, a thousand and one things are there… but the real disease is one: unawareness. These are all facets of the same thing. So if you try to change that — these problems — you will never be able to cope, because they are millions.”
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Osho, Emotions: Freedom from Anger, Jealousy, And Fear