I decide the quality of my relationships

Where love is spiritual, we do not focus on the other person’s defects. We may be aware of the defects, but we share love unconditionally so that the other person is able to overcome weaknesses.

Living a successful life means having good relationships. Success in relationships depends on our character, which determines how I think, speak and act. If I am rude to someone, it is not because of something wrong in the other person, but due to a flaw within me.

Do I expect people to behave the way I want and everything to be according to my wishes? “I am the eldest (or most senior), so it should be as I say”, or “I deserve respect” — what do these thoughts indicate?

Expecting obedience or respect is just another way of begging. These expectations stem from ego. If we have made ourselves worthy of respect, we will get it without asking. Do icons or idols in temples expect respect, or anything at all? They are inanimate, but they are revered for the virtues they represent. The faithful worship them and make extravagant offerings before them.

The moment I start expecting anything from others, problems will begin in my relationships. On the other hand, if I am humble and minimise my expectations, I will become a giver. The two qualities are inversely proportional — the fewer my expectations, the more I will give — whether it is good wishes, cooperation or material help.

My relationships will then be naturally sweet. The more you expect from people, the more people will avoid you; the more you give, the more others will be drawn towards you. It is not about giving money or things — we can at least smile at others and lift their spirits. How often do we smile without others smiling first? Some people scowl just to keep others at bay. Happiness is an innate quality of the human soul, but we suppress it under various pressures or from selfish motives. What does a smile cost? It is such an easy thing to do to make others happy.

Another quality that sustains relationships is trust, which is based on honesty. If I lie and deceive others, how can there be any trust? In the absence of honesty and trust, there will be no real love, either.

 Since relationships begin with the self, I have to be honest, trusting and loving if I want others to be that way. I need to be honest, even if others are not, because that is being true to my own beliefs. The integrity of that behaviour will be noticed and often inspire others to manage their lives in that way too.

After the self come the people I am connected to, and my tasks — in that order. But what do I value? Getting my way, even at the expense of others? When I cherish my relationships, I will maintain them at any cost. Some people claim that circumstances compel them to disregard their relationships. There is no such thing as compulsion; we always have a choice and our choices indicate what we hold dear.

When I stay happy and maintain cheerful relations with everyone, I will be rewarded with a contented life. If a family member who cooks my meals is angry because of me, what feelings will go into their cooking, and how good will that food be for me? Making small sacrifices for the sake of others is worth it, because ultimately it benefits everyone, including me.

 B.K. Amirchand, a senior Rajyoga teacher, is Zonal In-charge of the Brahma Kumaris’ Punjab Zone. He is also Vice Chairperson of the Social Service Wing of the Rajyoga Education & Research Foundation.