saata VOL: 3, ISSUE: 3 - November 2019 facebook

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Significance of Self-Strokes - Jayanthi R Prasad home
Jayanthi I am a practicing Psychotherapist with 20+ years of experience (planning to start group therapies shortly) in training teachers, counsellors, and psychotherapists. I have been volunteering in Samadhana counselling center for 13 years and practicing in Divakar specialty hospital for 8 years.

I have worked extensively with schools, which entailed meeting and interacting with school teachers and principals. I have had the opportunity of meeting them both on and off-campus.

It wasn’t until recently that it dawned on me that Principals of schools and colleges receive a lot of strokes/ appreciation from their teachers, students, and parents. They are made to feel special, important, respected and are celebrated as gratitude to him/ her heading an entire institution.

I recently bumped into a retired college principal who was training the same set of trainees before me. My memories of this man being a wonderful person with a positive attitude. I met him after a few months of his retirement. In my conversation with him,  though his choice of words and language that he was using were the same as earlier, the spark in his voice was missing. He seemed dull and wasn't as energetic as he was before. This got me thinking about my aunt, a retired College Principal.

I realized that the strokes which were a natural part of both these Principals,  stopped after they retired and they didn’t know how to handle it. This was because they started feeling entitled to the strokes that put them on a pedestal. The moment the strokes stopped they began to experience a huge emptiness.
My aunt had an interesting career. She taught across several places of Karnataka and she normally took buses to travel between these places, with Mysore being her residence.  She either stayed in a hostel in Chikmagalur or traveled to towns like Belur. Travel was a very integral part of her life. Few months after retiring, she started complaining that she couldn’t travel in autos and luxury buses as it made her feel uncomfortable. Soon, she even started feeling uncomfortable in taxies. 

After I reflected on the behaviours of my aunt and the retired college principal, I found a few common elements. I saw very clearly that the mental status of a person determines the person’s physical health & physical ability. The non-availability of strokes from external sources has created a feeling of deprivation internally. This deprivation is impacting their health. The man that I met was in the first degree of sadness and my aunt has graduated to the third degree.

After retirement, we might feel that our utility has reduced and hence start giving ourselves negative strokes too. This is a cause of concern which deteriorates our mental health and in turn physical health.

This observation made me realize the importance of positive self - strokes. Strokes from the external environment are temporary, have to stop eventually and can never be considered permanent. I believe that mental exercise is more essential compared to physical exercise. The mental exercise of positively stroking self (affirmations) is important to maintain one’s health, especially after we retire from a career.

Like Eric Berne said, “positive people give and receive positive strokes”. Positive strokes can come without hindrance from the self. And the positive strokes from the self is the only consistent and constant source of strokes. Let us give positive strokes to ourselves and lead happy lives.

Head or Tail
Solutions & Winners of Previous Issue
arr Raleigh 2019
- Chitra Ravi
arr A Recap of Learning, un-Learning and re-Learning
- Nalina Viswanathan
arr Significance of Self-Strokes
- Jayanthi R Prasad
arr Ethics Workshop - Participants' Experience


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