Conscious of your conscience?
Social beings that we humans are, we talk and listen non-stop, right? Some of the information that falls on our ears gets retained in our heads, while a good chunk of it we discard. And yet on some of the remainder, we ruminate. Amidst all these everyday sounds and discussions, isn’t there an inner voice that talks to us too? Awareness really, that guides us on the rightness or wrongness of what we do.
We call it conscience.
Conscience is a mental process involving thoughts and feelings. Together these cognitions and emotions form our moral philosophy. Do you listen to your conscience though? Are you familiar with its language?
Sleeping conscience: At times the conscience gets lazy. It is in the fourth stage of deep sleep where awakening is nearly impossible without vigorous shaking, as if it did not exist at all and had nothing to contribute to life’s daily events. Has this ever happened with you?
- You ignored your homework and focused on the TV?
- Your grades were poor but you still did not study?
- You arrogantly asked your parents for a new bike?
- You were rude because you wanted to have your way?
- Your friend was upset but you still did not offer help?
- You refused home food because you wanted pizza?
Where might the conscience have been at that point when all of this happened? Possibly asleep, oblivious, deaf, blind or simply unconcerned?
Overtalkative Conscience: At other times our conscience is overtalkative — like a commentary that won’t stop. While some time ago we worried about the conscience consistently sleeping, these days an overcharged conscience is troubling many of us. Let’s see how this is even possible.
- Have you sometimes felt awkward about having fun?
- Do you feel guilty about eating your favourite food?
- Are you cautious of stating your preferences openly?
- Do you feel exceptionally sad when a friend is upset?
- Are you in a bad mood if your exam does not go well?
- Are you laden with guilt when you have a good time?
These point to excessive morality focus. A conscience that is sitting like a watchdog to bark and bite every time we falter even slightly.
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Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.