Tag: Temperance

The challenge of relationships

People must be taken as they are, and we should never try to make them or ourselves better by quarreling with them.  Edmund Burke

One of the many reasons relationships fail is because we have a lot of expectations from the other party and consciously or unconsciously we keep finding faults over trivial matters and blow it out of proportion.  Other times we are so full of ourselves that we fail to understand that we are actually irritating the other person by our selfish and self centered ways.  There are times when we believe we have the right to harshly criticize, articulate uncouthly our feelings particularly when irritated or hurt and worse of all take liberties in ascribing motives to people’s behavior that does not appeal to us. When we let our differences become barbs, turn our expectations into demands and dogmatically spurn friendly overtures to pamper our own ego that is when the first signs of cracks in a relationship show up.

It is tackling our own ego that poses the real problem in maintaining relationships.  Many a time we make an issue of a perceived slight to our ego. It could be a comment that we do not agree with or it could be indifference that we think is deliberate or it could be completely misunderstanding a gesture,  a communication or even non communication.  Other times we want to be given importance, want others to take the lead in touching base with us and far too often we seek to control the relationship. If we step back to take a good hard look at the reasons why we do not get along with some people, why we do not enjoy the company of others and avoid like plague certain individuals we cannot deny the fact that we are in some way at least partly responsible for the situation. Perhaps we need to also look at why the same people could possibly be giving us a wide berth too.

The challenge in any relationship is to balance expectations, minimize presumptions and maintain open communications. This is easier said than done because our personal styles are so varied, we succumb to the pressures of our own emotions and attitudes. While some of us are loud, arrogant and on your face there are others who appear docile, submissive, fearful but are constantly scheming. While those inclined to adopt the aggressive style easily provoke and snap of ties the latter are prone to mask their feelings and yet cunningly severe ties by pushing relationships to the brink. While individual styles play a crucial part in cementing or severing relationships, one can make an attempt to become aware of how to change and soothen ruffled feathers and restore balance and relationships.

The fact is we can with effort on our part, an open mind and honesty of purpose always improve relationships, cement relationships and nurture new relationships. For this the first step is to meet, greet and respect people.  The next step is to acknowledge people, praise them when required, be patient if the need arises and give them their due. To scale up a relationship to a different level be more candid without being offensive,  be honest without being moralistic and be open to all feedback without being judgmental. Patience, respect and acceptance are three virtues that will help us maintain healthy relationship with all those whom we interact with.

Remember: It doesn’t matter what the other is being, doing, having, saying, wanting, demanding. It doesn’t matter what the other is thinking, expecting, planning. It only matters what you are being in relationship to that.

Try this:

  1. Recollect three pleasant memories and one unpleasant memory of your relationship with the following people. Ask why you enjoyed the relationship and how you could have helped improve the relationship that was unpleasant.
  • Your father
  • Your mother
  • Your siblings
  • Your best friend in school
  • Your favorite teacher in school
  • The teacher you disliked immensely
  • A current colleague or batch mate
  1. Name one person who comes to mind in the following situations
  • An actor or actress you dislike
  • A player/ sportsman who you feel is overrated
  • An idol/ icon who you would love to meet
  • The sweetest person you can think of immediately
  • A person known to you personally for whom you feel really sorry for.
  • Someone you need to really apologize to.

(In the first three cases are you justified in your feelings since you do not know the people concerned personally)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Forgiving friends…

It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend. Madame Dorothee Deluzy

Forgiveness does not come easily to anyone. We find it hard to forgive because often the hurt caused is too raw and painful to be condoned. Our ego and self respect won’t permit us to let bygones be bygones. We are seething with anger and revenge is uppermost in our minds and forgiveness will dilute that feeling which we see as a manly sign. There are times when social and peer pressure force us to abandon all thoughts of forgiveness lest we have to face the wrath and fury of our own supporters. Whatever the reason, it takes a large heart and plenty of love to forgive someone who has wronged us.

When we feel wronged by an unknown person we are quick to take affront simply because we believe the other person is careless, inconsiderate and deserves punishment rather than mercy and forgiveness. We would rarely venture to find out the real cause of the problem or misunderstanding which possibly could throw up new revelations. Yet by nature we are quick to condemn and almost reluctant to admit our mistakes if we realize it. If the wrong is done by someone whom we do not get along with or dislike or someone we consider an enemy our immediate reaction is that the deed was done deliberately with wrong intent and with full knowledge of the perpetrator. Our immediate  thoughts are to get even and possibly extract revenge for what we visualize as deliberate acts. At this point forgiveness is far removed from our minds and our fury and rage blind us to any possibility of reconciliation.

Nothing can be as hurtful as realizing that someone who is a friend has betrayed us or let us down deliberately. The hurt stems from the fact that we never expected someone who is close and intimate with us to become a villain in our lives. On one hand we cannot imagine such a situation and on the other hand the reality hits us hard and hurts us deeply.  At this point we believe that an enemy can be forgive because we expect only such behavior but that it would be stupid and spineless to forgive a friend who betrays us.  More than anything else we feel foolish that we have trusted the friend, are embarrassed that we could not see the friends nefarious intentions and connive ourselves that he deserves no mercy and definitely no forgiveness.

If we pause and let our rationality talk to our senses we would slowly realize that by not forgiving all we end up doing is wasting our energies hating someone, constantly imbibe negative thoughts of getting even and taking revenge and perhaps waste our life in the pursuit of an imaginary pleasure got by doing harm to avenge our hurt. On the other hand if we allow ourselves to be pragmatic, down to earth and sensible, forgiveness will knock the sails out of the person who expects nothing remotely as this gesture for his / her deeds. In fact it might shock them into realizing their grievous fault and they in turn could seek pardon. In the end both the person forgiving and the person forgiven would have unburdened their heavy hearts and lightened their conscience and enjoy the rest of their lives.

Remember: “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” Bryant H. McGill

Try this:

  1. Ask yourself if you have the tendency to be sarcastic, caustic in your comments, foul mouthed in conversation or extremely critical about others. This could cause a lot of unwitting hurt to people who are close to you but who cannot really express their hurt to you. Next time be aware of such behavior and check yourself. If by chance you realize your mistake apologize for such behavior and you will find that you will be better accepted and appreciated.
  2. Ask yourself if you still dislike and distrust some of your classmates for some of their comments or behavior that had caused you hurt then. Perhaps they have forgotten those incidents but it is you who is carrying it with you still. Can you make an attempt to meet up with these people or begin communicating with them as if nothing ever happened. You will realize that you feel much more relaxed and relieved when you let go the past hurt.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Bless us with patience…

God grant us patience!  William Shakespeare

Just visualize the scene where as a family we are sitting in a restaurant and debating what to order. We take our time about ordering the food, since most of us take an eternity to make up our minds. Finally when we give the order to the captain, we have this compulsive urge to instruct him to ensure that the food is served fast. While we dilly dally about our choice of food, we have no patience to wait for the food to be served. In a day and age where instant coffee and instant noodles are standard fare, where pizza delivery is timed in a clock work fashion and where ‘please hurry up’ is a standard appendage to any request, the virtue of patience is at a very high premium.

Contrast this with natures wonder called life cycle. It still takes 9 months from conception to delivery for a human being. If you plant a seed today, it might take years for someone to be able to enjoy the fruits of the tree. Look at the wild animals patiently stalking their prey or imagine the patience of the migratory birds for they have to fly very very long distances which take days on end. This phenomenon opens our eyes to a very critical weakness in most of us living in the fast paced world- lack of patience. You may disagree and say you are very patient and perhaps you are right too. If you are still reading this post, give yourself a clap for your patience; for the net speed may have been too slow and yet you persisted or the contents up to this point may have tested your patience but you optimistically go on.

On the other hand, examine your own investment strategy. Do you believe in quick money and indulge in daily trading in the stock markets or regularly buying the lottery or gambling? On the other hand are you a long term investor and / or do you prefer slow and steady returns as in bonds and debt markets? Examine your own tastes in music and sports. Do you prefer the classics to rap and metal music? Do you like to watch golf or F1 racing or prefer tennis to a football match? No doubt the choice is based on your personal interests and factors other than just your patience level, but it may give you a clue to your personal operating style which could have patience as dominating variable.

When we get impatient we also get irrational. We are then overpowered by irritation, annoyance and get easily provoked. That is when we attempt to speed up decisions leading to poor decision making, try to short circuit the system and end up messing things up and often lose our bearings and consequentially end up looking foolish and stupid. Worse still, impatience makes us lose time for in our hurry we botch up things and setting that right almost invariably takes double the original time frame. Patience is a virtue that will bring us peace of mind for then you will never be riled or ruffled.

Remember: “Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience.”

Try these:

  1. Observe your own reaction when caught in the tail end of a line that does not seem to be moving or caught in slow moving traffic. How do you analyze the situation? Do you curse the people in front of you or do you simply work up a rage and abuse one and all or do you calmly use it as an opportunity to think and introspect or if in a car increase the volume of the music and make the best of a bad situation?
  2. Name 3 activities that you think really test your patience frequently.  What are the alternatives that will enable you to cope with that activity with least irritation and most profit?
  3. Ask yourself the following questions .Do you enjoy teaching children?  Do you think you can spend a couple of hours at the home for the aged or with mentally challenged people?  Can you work with slow learners or Alzheimer’s patients? If you answered yes to all of the above….GOD has BLESSED  you with the virtue of PATIENCE…please return the favor and go and volunteer in one of the above activities.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

The weak can never forgive

The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.  Mahatma Gandhi

It takes a lot of inner strength to forgive simply because it is human nature to seek revenge. Even as I write this post, the verdict on the 26/11 accused Kasab has been delivered and he has been sentenced to death. The TV channels have extensive coverage going on and interviews with next of kin or friends of the victims are passé. The overwhelming majority of those airing their views are satisfied with the verdict while a miniscule lot maintain that it is life sentence that is more appropriate mainly because they are opposed to the death penalty on grounds of extreme cruelty and not at all on grounds of mercy or forgiveness. In this context many of you reading this post will be asking how one can condone such a dastardly act and forgive the perpetrators.

In my view as long as we have a robust and fair judicial system, as is the case in India, the system must be left to take care of the matters of law and justice. More importantly forgiveness should not be confused with pardon; forgiveness is not holding a grudge and ‘not seeking revenge’ as in an eye for an eye, whereas pardon is ‘condoning the crime and the culprit’. As Gerald Jampolsky says Forgiveness is letting go of the past. Quite often we are so obsessed with the crime that we let it eat up our life. When we can’t forgive, we are actually torturing ourselves for we try to rewind the past and pretend to live in the present and in the process end up neither living nor being realistic.

Often the hurt is deep because the incident is too personal, the act could have been deliberate and premeditated and the logic or reason for the crime too trivial to rationalize. It is but natural for most mortals to feel cheated, brutalized and terrible pained by the event and then forgiveness becomes a very tough choice to exercise. When our spirits are drooping, our pain too numbing and anger seething we are extremely vulnerable to irrational ideas and revenge is one of the immediate ideas that comes to mind. Forgiveness demands that we sacrifice this idea of revenge but then unless we are strong enough to put up with the pressures of societal pressures and our inner turmoil, we can’t ever forgive those who have brought pain, suffering and misery to us.

True forgiveness is in making peace with ourselves. It demands equanimity, resolve and above all self belief. This implies that we reconcile to the new change that is thrust upon us, being pragmatic that the past cannot be relived and that we need to put the past firmly behind us and proceed ahead with hope,  faith and charity. Hope in the future, faith in ourselves and charity for the sinner.

Remember: To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” Robert Muller

Try these:

  1. The best therapy for a guilt ridden person is a good confession. While Catholics can go to a priest for confession, the non Catholics have to rely on a good counselor or confidant or on your honest self to list out your sins. When you acknowledge your vices and sins and unburden your  heart, and feel truly repentant you will find your heart feeling a lot lighter, your conscience clean as fresh page and a song on your lips. Begin by forgiving yourself.
  2. Click on the link ‘Forgiveness’ on the right of your screen. Go through the various posts listed there and attempt the various Try These mentioned therein.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Do unto others …

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. Confucius

This is a clarion call to practice temperance in both action and deeds. It is easy for us to be critical of others and to chasten people who do not meet our expectations of them. The classic example is that of most parents, who goad their children to study, frown at them when they are too playful and have an unrealistic expectations that the children must excel in academics consistently. If they only pause to reflect on their own childhood, schooling and performance perhaps they would realize that they are inflicting the very pain that they were subject to and possibly resented and detested.

Things don’t change too much in the general personal life, family life, professional life and social life. We sulk and resent others, who point out our faults and yet we won’t bat an eyelid when we are even more harsh with our spouse, children or family members when they make minor misdemeanors that we resent. As passive sports enthusiasts watching the players on TV how often do we criticize and curse players when they flounder at critical stages and how readily we find excuses for our mistakes and poor performance. Would we tolerate the same criticism if it was directed to us?

 In our anxiety to get favorable output or results, we often become intolerant and too demanding. This results in us setting very stiff targets for performance leading to unrealistic expectations and failure is never treated kindly. Just pause and reverse the roles and ask a question if we can meet our own targets? If the answer is a loud no, then are we fair in being harsh, rude and possibly nasty to others; for we wouldn’t want to suffer the same fate under similar circumstances. So the yardstick we use for others must be the same one that you will judge yourself with. The rewards and punishments must also be in similar proportion to what you deserve.

Remember: The Lords prayer has a line that is the forerunner to the above quote ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’.

Try these:

  1. The next time you go through the report card of your child, ask yourself what was your performance whilst in the same class. It is grossly unfair to expect your kids to extraordinarily well as compared to your own achievements. Also be careful not to compare performance of your child with that of another classmate. Comparison if any must be with the average class performance and the ability of your child.
  2. Any criticism, punishment, ticking off must be in proportion to the deed or offence. Ask yourself if you are letting your emotions get the better of you when you award a punishment or you criticize or tick of someone. Pay close attention to your choice of words, tone and timing too. Also ensure that any negative feedback is never given in public but done privately.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com