Seeking out the positivity in others, even when it’s difficult.

March 24, 2016

 

When we do not trust others, or when we attack them harshly without looking at our own behavior first, we are hurting ourselves most of all. We are also hurting those we love, closing ourselves off because of a misguided attempt at self-protection. In either case, we are demonstrating that we ourselves do not sufficiently love because we are unwilling to view objectionable behavior as a call for help.

 

Yogis put no one out of their hearts. They love everyone, finding positive qualities in each individual, even if such qualities are well hidden. As yogis, we may recognize that some people are immature, but instead of condemning them we should look for loving ways to protect and guide them.

 

Difficult people are like antiques: they have potential beauty despite their rough spots. For example, if you love antiques, you may cherish an eighteen-century chair enough to get it upholstered again and again. Because the piece is important to us we find a way to make it functional and beautiful. Similarly, if we genuinely care about friends, family and associates, we will make our friendships sweet, defusing difficult situations and helping those who engage in an unproductive behavior to improve.

 

To categorize others in a negative way means that we have already decided they are inherently selfish, unloving, or untrustworthy.  We cannot help them turn weaknesses into strength this way. Instead, having assumed that their limitations are insurmountable, we have cast them in a mold from which it is almost impossible for them to escape. Rather than sharing our love, we have reinforced their shortcomings by relating to them according to our narrow definitions.

 

No matter how positive we are, situations may arise in which people reject our love, advice or support. How do we express ourselves in such circumstances? The wisest course of action is to remain firm and steady, without reacting negatively or giving up. We must not change who we are or alter the love we feel. If we react negatively to a person who refuses our help, something is wrong with our own consciousness. We are seeking self- gratification because we want to be viewed as magnanimous, wise or powerful. Our love is conditional.

 

We do not have to manipulate others in order to receive their love and respect. We should live simply authentically, uncontrolled by the opinion of those around us, if we are genuinely loving, people will be naturally drawn to us. The only requirement is that we express ourselves faithfully. Accepting the fact that some people may like us and others may not. Under no circumstances should we try to change just because someone does not approve of us.

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