It is quite an interesting question and many can answer according to what they have experienced in their lives. Each of us want to have a good relationship with our peers, loved ones, bosses, neighbors, and many other people in our lives. When one practices a healthy relationship, one can live a good life anywhere with anyone.
Today I will share the story of my life and how I found a way to practice a healthy relationship with others.
Growing up, I clearly never understood myself. I believed I was the most important person in the world, thinking everything revolved around me. I felt special and believed God is always looking after me; just me, myself, and I.
No matter how much I tried to understand the world, I could not know anything beyond myself. In my lifetime, I had conflicts with myself and the people around me. I did not treat people well enough to make them stay. I always found a reason to dislike them or gossip behind their back. I was a person who believed in perfection - I wanted everyone to be perfect to my standard of my expectations. To me, a good person is the one who was kind, loyal (to me), and made me happy. I had a lot of insecurities- for example; I was scared to be yelled at, given instruction, or being corrected and the list goes on.
I argued with people more often and was very loud so as to scare them. I wanted to prove that I was strong and couldn’t accept losing any argument. It did not matter what kind of argument, even if it was about tomatoes, I still would want to win! I wanted to be right and win all the time.
I did not like it when people were angry at me. I protected myself to the extent it hurt me when someone spoke ill of me. I would defend myself and hold grudges against them. I would speak ill of them too and spread negative words about them to others.
My insecurity came from the fact that I lost my dear mother when I was 3 years old. We were at the time living with her husband (my stepdad) who was very abusive to her and me. She suffered a lot around him and his family. I witnessed what she went through till death took us apart. When she passed away, I stayed with my step-dad and his family for a year and of course, they never treated me well. I missed the care and unconditional love that I received from my mother.
When I moved in with my dad and his family, it was different, there were many of us and we were very happy together. But still, I had a lot of pain within me. I had high expectations towards everyone, especially my stepmother. She tried her best but I was never satisfied. I often compared her with my mom, I wanted a lot from her. I was very protective of myself and feared being harmed. This fear was so deep and I didn’t know where it came from.
When selecting friends at school, I wanted the ones whom I could dominate and control or who could not harm me. I had lived my life protecting myself. If someone spoke ill of me, I would hate them and never speak to them again. Being around me was like walking on eggshells. I got angry over little incidences and it was very uncomfortable to others. I like to be liked, being listened and respected. I was very uncomfortable with people who were very confrontational and loud. So I preferred being friends with my sisters and cousins because they could understand and accept the way I was.
When people wouldn’t listen to my opinions (which I thought were always right), it made me upset and hence I tried to get their attention and affection. If it wouldn’t work out, I avoided them and considered them to be my enemy. I was very hard on myself and thought worse of myself too. With this mind, I treated others the same.
I was very competitive with my friends and siblings. I would always want to be the best of all and feel the urge to prove that I am better than anyone. I was jealous and envious of beautiful girls and wished it was me. I remembered how envious I was to my best friend when she started dating a popular guy from school. I wished that it was me who was dating him. I was jealous of my sister who everyone thought was very beautiful. Wherever we went together, she got compliments on her looks and it was painful for me. Everyone liked her and thought she was kind, beautiful, and funny. When she asked me for help in her academics, I would not do it because of my mind of envy and jealousy. I let her fail her exams and it made me prove myself at least I am better than her academically.
I remember when my cousin got higher grades than me in a National examination and I cried a lot and blamed him for cheating the exams. I believed I was better than him, I was not happy at all. I cried so much that day. Looking back now, I was absurd. I was never happy when others achieved well. I did not give a hand of help to people who I thought were my competition. I did not live well with others.
When selecting my love relationships, I was fond of guys who were very open-minded, western, humble, and not aggressive at all. People who wouldn’t control and hurt me.
I looked down and judged men who were very aggressive towards their female partners and went to the extent of fighting against them. I did not have wisdom on how to treat them. I came out as a very aggressive feminist.
I was very judgmental towards African / black men and didn’t want to date any of them. I believed and feared that they will be aggressive towards me. So I kept my circle of relationships open to people who were western and culturally evolved.
Then time passed, my worries, fears, anxiety, and lack of trust and empathy weighed on my shoulders. It was too much to carry the load by myself, therefore I decided to find the road to redemption. So I started meditating.
There, I learned that my burdens, pain, and discomfort are inside my mind. What I have experienced during an early age - I have carried the burden throughout my life. All my decisions and how I treated others were based on my past experiences.
My meditation teachers explained why it is very important to do meditation.
The most important thing for human beings is to live an eternal life. Because man is living inside his human mind world, which overlaps the real world, he is incomplete.
The human mind is made of karma, (live lived), habits, and body. Karma is the life that one has lived since birth until now. When man is born in this world, he comes with this body that has habits inherited from his parents and ancestors. All pain, burden, and relationship difficulties are caused by the fact that man is living inside his human mind world that is fake and false. It must be destroyed and eliminated completely.
When you throw away the Karma, Habits, and Body - then only Truth will remain. Truth is the original foundation and creator of all creations. Truth is what is known as God in Christianity, Buddha in Buddhism, and Allah in Islam.
When man has Truth, he can be born from there and live an eternal life in the land of Truth (Heaven, Land of Bliss, and Paradise). He will have wisdom, know all the ways of the world and live well.
It is important to make that Truth exist within me and the Land of Truth exist within me while living.
No matter what I did, I couldn’t live well with others because of my human mind.
Self-reflection through the Meditation method has helped me to see how I have lived my life since I was born until now. I could also see how I did not accept others and always imposed my way of thinking and standard towards them. Because I could not accept others, they could not accept me too.
The conflicts and hindrances were caused by what I had in my mind. So using the Method I was given -
I threw away the root of my mind that caused me to behave the way I did. I could see all of my fears, pain, jealousy, expectations, hatred disappear day after day.
I am amazed with the benefits that I have seen in my relationships and life at large.
Because Truth is the true wisdom itself, I now know how to live well and treatotherswith respect and compassion.
The more I meditate, I gain empathy towards others and I see the pain they are going through because they are also living inside their mind world. The urge of competing with others and proving that I am right has disappeared. I can now understand, accept and listen to them. I am grateful to the existence of others and I can see my mind through them and are able to discard it.
My journey to healthy relationships would not be possible if others did not exist.