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Using Self-Knowledge Techniques to Learn about Myself in the Workplace

Experience submitted by David Hayes

When I was trying to delve more into seeing and improving my psychology some years ago, I remember going through a particularly hard time at my place of work.

I had a manager who at times would become quite unreasonably negative towards me. It was a difficult situation. I felt I couldn’t say anything against them or point out their negative attitude to them as they would just react badly and it would make the situation worse and possibly I would lose my job. It became a struggle to go to work each day to possibly get berated. I was always on alert, wondering when the next barrage of negativity would be thrown at me.

What kept me going and helped me get through that was applying Belsebuub’s explanations of self-discovery techniques. In this way, I came to view the situation as a valuable learning opportunity and I was determined to get something positive out of it. That is, I did my best to be in awareness, to see my own negative thoughts and feelings going on and remove them instead of responding with them, to remain calm, and try to learn from the situation rather than run away from it.

Analysis of an Ego

I would talk about the situation in the Belsebuub course I was doing at the time and I received a lot of support from the group which also helped me to keep going.

There were some group practices we did during Belsebuub’s course where we tried out a technique called analysis of an ego. In this practice I could see various ways how at different times in the past I behaved towards others a bit like my manager now was towards me and what the egos were that drove me to behave that way. Seeing the horribleness of the egos behavior, by way of being on the receiving end at my workplace and in these meditation on an ego exercise sessions, gave me a great determination to remove those elements from inside myself, to change for the better.

I viewed the manager as being a mirror of myself and my own horrible egos inside and I felt sad for them and for the way I was and prayed for these egos to be removed from me. The analysis and prayer helped me to start to change and gave me a strength to tackle the egos in the moment as they came up.

A work colleague had said they could not believe the way the manager treated me but I didn’t complain about it to them. I just took it all as being my own negativity reflected back at me so I would be on the receiving end to hopefully learn from it and have the opportunity to reduce and remove those egos.

A Mistake that Lead to a Breakthrough

Public domain image found here. (image has been modified)
Public domain image found here. (image has been modified)

After a while of working on myself in this situation a moment came when I had made a clerical mistake in my work and I was called into the manager’s office where the mistake was pointed out to me in an accusatory way. It was a simple mistake but my manager wasn’t very understanding of the fact that I hadn’t done it intentionally. I kept myself in awareness and felt detached from their negativity and responded as best I could. My response was to apologise and genuinely thank them for pointing it out to me because now I could be aware of where little mistakes can be made.

I returned to my desk to continue on working which was in sight of the manager’s office and did my best to remain aware and observe the negative thoughts come up which wanted to retaliate and argue with the manager and put them down. These thoughts in turn stirred up my emotional center, there was a churning feeling, a knotted anger there that felt justified by having been treated badly.

Instead of going along with these thoughts and feelings and allowing myself to sit there and stew in it, I did my best to eliminate these negative thoughts and feelings as they arose, by praying for them to be disintegrated. This was another technique I learned from one of Belsebuub’s courses. I was keen to get free of these inner states and aimed to gain understanding of myself and I also hoped the manager would get some insight also about themselves.

After a short time in this self-observation and elimination of the egos I noticed in my peripheral vision that the manager looked up from their desk and looked over at me working away but I didn’t look back, I just kept working and let them look at me whilst I did my best to remain in awareness and clear of any egos. I felt they were surprised by my unexpected response of genuinely thanking them for letting me know about the mistake and they were looking to see if it looked like I was now fuming over what had just happened.

Again, I just did my best to remain in awareness and clear of any egos and wished for them to have understanding. They turned back to continue with what they were working on but it seemed like they were still a little baffled that the response I gave isn’t what they expected and that I seemed unperturbed.

An Important Change

A little while later it occurred to me that the situation just suddenly changed, it got better and I no longer had that negativity directed towards me from that person, although we still worked together, they were much more friendly from then on. It seemed by reducing and removing my own negative internal responses towards them it broke the chain of negativity between myself and my manager. Their egos no longer looked to get a reaction from me in order to feed.

Eventually a new worker started in our office and before long they were then subject to the manager’s negative behavior. It showed me that whilst things had gotten better between us and I was changing, they were still the same and just needed another outlet to direct that behavior towards.

Belsebuub actually has a great video about how to handle it when people are negative towards us:

Going through all this was a great opportunity to test out what Belsebuub says about awareness, self-observation and the inferior centers, the analysis and elimination of the egos, and monitoring dreams and even though it was hard I learned a lot about myself.

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12 comments
  • Thanks David for sharing that story.  I never realized the importance of fighing against the feelings of negativity towards another person until I saw what can happen when I did. I learned that from an experience I had with a particular coworker whom I didn’t get along with for the longest time.  There came a moment when I was faced with the choice to either continue to behave in an uncivilized way towards them or make a radical change within me.  The day I changed my attitude, thoughts and intentions towards my coworker was the day I started to feel different and lighter as if the heavy weight of the egos I carried were starting to lift from me. It was sobering to see how my change in behavior had influenced my coworker to change their attitude towards me as well.  Soon afterwards we started to became more respectful to one another and with time we even became friends.  It wasn’t until I had learned about self-knowledge that I was able to objectively reflect on the events that had initiated and prolonged the conflict between us that I was able to gain some valuable insight towards it and myself.

  • That’s a really neat experience, David. Ironic that a difficult situation (the mistake admonishing) that would normally lead to a further strenuous relationship actually turned out to be a catalyst for a shift in a positive direction because it was approached with the aim of reaching understanding instead of with the aim of becoming a “winner” of an argument or proving another person to be worse than us, etc. It’s actually quite a beautiful illustration of the power of change and understanding.

  • Thanks for sharing David. It’s interesting how the situation shifted as soon as you overcame something within – shows how the events in our life are often just scenarios for us to learn from, a reflection of our inner world and what we have to learn about most.
    I remember a time when I really resented going to work. Part of me was like “ooo I just want to live in a mystical community where everyone’s at a really high level and not waste my time on these mundane tasks.” Then a teacher of mine said something along the lines of: “work is such an incredible thing; so many egos that you would never see otherwise are tested, AND you get paid for it!”. This really helped me to change my attitude to the ‘mundane task’ and see it as a real challenge, rather than ‘time out’ of working towards the spiritual.

    • I’ve also acquired a similar understanding Ella. Feeling, especially earlier on, that I wanted to get away from all that unpleasant stuff in order to do ‘spiritual things’. But when I would finally get away from it all, thinking that would be ideal for a spiritual work, I actually found out that the difficulties of a job and an everyday life are that which sparked the struggle and effort within me, which generated strength, change and learning within.

  • Thank you David very much for sharing this breakthrough you had! I found it amazing, the way you could feel how the lack of your own inner anger-response “baffled” the manager, and how his egos could not find anything to latch onto, and so later dissipated, and not just during that one situation, but in your overall relationship with him too. Its really incredible, this insight into how these subconscious states work, as if they had a life of their own within us, literally searching for a “prey” to feed themselves. Once your manager’s egos realised they can’t get any food from you anymore, they turned to the new victim, most likely without the manager being consciously aware of what had happened.

  • Hi David, thank you for sharing this hard earned experience. It’s really encouraging to read how you had the discipline and understanding to go through this situation with clarity and awareness as your main priority. It can be painful and difficult when people hurt you like that, but it’s so worth it to go through it intelligently, really learning how the whole situation is provoked, facing the things within us that are not pleasant to see, and turning the whole experience around in the end.

    I’m so grateful for the techniques of observation, awareness and reflection that Belsebuub has given, because they really give the tools to change our circumstances, as we ourselves become different.

    • There were some hard moments on a consistent basis for quite some time but it wasn’t all bad all the time thankfully but even the bad times diminished and disappeared it seems as a result of applying what I learned from Belsebuub.

  • It’s great that you chose consciousness David, in these moments that are so precious as they give us an opportunity to find out about ourselves and to disintegrate those egos that keep us down. I can imagine how hard must have been having someone so negative towards you and naturally we would all react in some way or another. Although hard at times doing exactly what you did seems the best option as not only your boss was not negative towards you anymore but you got rid of your own reactions, which will serve you well when something similar comes up.

  • That’s a great experience David, and important share since we all face those types of situations at work and to ‘work’ towards a more honest, understanding and caring approach has incredible outcomes, instead of the negative spiral we go down in and drag others with us. There is a lot to see in your experience – so thank you!

  • What an amazing transformation of the workplace, David! I’m very happy that through the self-knowledge techniques you were able to not only cut down on your own negative feelings but also to change the dynamic with your boss.

    These sorts of experiences make me wonder to what extend every relationship we have with others is governed by what we have within…

  • Amazing David – I love to hear these type of accounts that show how by changing inside we change our circumstances. It must have been such an incredible realization to see that the situation had changed. I can imagine that working through this unfairness was far from easy but relating how you did it is very helpful for anyone who may be in the same situation.

  • Thanks for writing about those events in your ‘school of life’ David. The different moments in your experience are very relatable, going up against those things inside ourselves, it’s a real battle!

    I can very much relate to what you’re saying about having Belsebuub’s teachings on self-knowledge, those techniques and tools, as my way to get through difficult times, such as when people are negative. Whereas otherwise I would have most probably acted back negatively, or gotten very depressed about life and questioned why such situations were happening etc. But the information and tools Belsebuub explains about allow us to turn such difficulties into inner learning and personal growth in a real way. A real gift!

About Belsebuub

belsebuub mark pritchard
Image © Mark Pritchard
Mark Pritchard (Belsebuub) is an author and spiritual teacher that has been writing about and demonstrating practical techniques for self-discovery for more than twenty-five years. Read more

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