By Shivi Verma
Hinging on the heart’s ability to forget hurts and love the other despite differences is the key to having lasting relationships, says Shivi Verma Relating to people is not easy. There was a time when I used to be a soft target for criticism, personal attacks and belittling. And since I had implicit trust in my critics, I tried to get their approval by cultivating the qualities they accused me of not having such as alertness, dynamism, extroversion, diplomacy and a helping nature. But somehow they were never enough. I lacked confidence, they said, not realising that I was hinging on their approval to gain confidence. Constant comparisons with other, more accomplished peers eroded my self-esteem and I developed an active hatred for myself. Finally, I got tired of trying to win them over. Only when spirituality happened and the Divine responded did I realise that I was worth something. I freed myself of the need for their approval. There were enough people in this world to value me for who I was, and I was better off looking for them, I decided. And as I gradually shifted from this need, I realised I was finding great centeredness within. I became happy, confident and proud of the qualities I possessed, without giving up on improving myself. Now I would not let anyone intimidate me. To some extent it worked. But now I had problems with the way others were. I often found them biased, close-hearted, boastful and self-righteous. And while I had been submissive to their criticism, they were quite reactive and volatile if I brought their shortcomings to their notice. I wondered if there was any way to get along with people. My becoming a better version of myself was not coming to my aid. When I began encountering this pattern in almost all my relationships I realised I was erring badly somewhere.
My focus on weeding out problem areas for facilitating healthier relationships was all wrong. I realised that all the flaw-finding had nothing to do with forging a healthy relationship. The more I focussed on their loving, kind and caring hearts beneath all the surface hostility and lacunas, the more I was likely to elicit the response I was looking for. Flaws are a part of people and they will mostly be. But the more I focussed on their loving, kind and caring hearts beneath all the surface hostility and lacunas, the more I was likely to elicit the response I was looking for. It isn’t that I don’t get upset or affected by other’s uncaring ways. But I am sure it’s the other way round too. My own lack of tact and diplomacy has also hurt people. Time has taught me that all this is unreal and temporary. The only real thing which matters and is real and lasting is the love-filled heart. This heart has space, acceptance, tolerance, faith and power to tide over all the lacunae and shortcoming of human nature and the ability to project back to people their real, true, pure and unblemished self. And from the heart’s perspective human weaknesses are not craters on the surface of the moon, but dark beauty spots on the face of a beautiful maiden. So now if I feel resentment entering my heart against anyone less than perfect, I do not reject them. I focus more on the ability and the power of our hearts to love, forget hurts and accept people despite their weaknesses. And so far it has yielded great returns in terms of better relationships.
About the author : Deputy Editor with Life Positive, Shivi Verma is a devotee who found all her answers in loving God passionately.
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