By Shivi Verma
When Shivi Verma learnt to remove herself from the picture, life began to make sense
I had a belief that my life pricked because of the presence of bristly people in it.
I often wondered what prevented people from being simple, considerate and kind? I had innumerable experiences of being let down by the same people who had lavished me with attention when they needed company. It was a pattern I could foresee. A friend coming over to my place, inviting me profusely to her party, and ignoring me royally on the appointed day when I turned up all dressed up for the occasion.
It used to cut me up. At that time, I did not realise that each one of us was mirroring the other. The feelings of weakness, uncertainty, and fear with regard to people make us rely on assumptions and throw attitude. Happily, the fortuitous intervention of the Divine in my life, cleared many misgivings. I understood that this was a mirror effect and required a certain awareness and conviction to break. My fear of not being treated well by my host made me so awkward that I invited that very reaction. Soon after, I was invited to a high-profile party in Delhi by a friend whose father had contacts with the film world. As I had suspected, the moment we entered the party, she left me in favour of her more glamorous friends. Any other time I would have felt miserable and lonely. But this time, I took myself out of the picture. I decided that nothing was about me. Things were happening and I was simply the watcher of the events before me. I made some fun observations of people around me and had a wonderful evening.
Ever since, this method has freed me of dependence on people for my happiness. The greater importance I gave to myself, the more power I gave the other person to please or hurt me. I also realised that it was a fallacy to believe that anyone was against me, since nobody was interested in me. Each person was the centre of her own world, and cared mostly about herself. She was interested in me only inasmuch as I related to her. As another character in her own life story, nothing more. This didn’t mean that my conduct had no bearing on my surroundings. But this depended on the amount of importance I gave myself while interacting with people. If the reference point was myself, errors of judgement were bound to happen. But if the focal point was the happiness of the other person I could hardly go wrong. Since then my world began to smile.
The greater importance I gave to myself, the more power I gave the other person to please or hurt me.
If someone was nasty it had nothing to do with me. It was about their own life story and their perception of reality. And if someone was nice, it was about their own good temperament. Based on this premise my reactivity decreased. The moment I ceased being the centre of my world, the world too stopped reacting negatively to me. As the baggage of self-importance slid off, making bonds with people became easier. After all others too were in search of love, respect and good treatment, like I was, and if I could give it easily without riders, fears and selfish interests, where was the space for anybody to consider me a threat, and treat me shabbily? And if they did, it was about them and their life story, so why react violently unnecessarily?
Deputy Editor with Life Positive, Shivi Verma is a devotee who found all her answers in loving God passionately
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