It is a pity that our education system doesn’t teach people how to build relationships with other people. The world would be a much better place if it did.
Unfortunately, all we are ever taught at school are subjects that will help us how to get a job. We are not taught how to live. Because just like any other subject, living is an art, a skill that needs to be learnt and practised if we are to enjoy life and live in peace with ourselves and the world around us.
Some of the most important life skills we need to be aware of are those that govern human relationships. Without a firm understanding of these laws, people will always find it difficult to develop long-term, deep-rooted friendships which are the foundation of a happy life.
So today I present 6 of these laws in the hope that you might contemplate and incorporate them into your daily living.
1) Don’t bitch about anyone, ever.
This is the most valuable lesson that I ever learnt and it will bring you more peace of mind than any other strategy I know.
Bitching about others is ugly. It is telling people that you believe that you are better than them, that others have faults but you are perfect. Bitchy people are insecure and need recognition of how good they are and they do that by belittling others because it gives them a momentary feeling of worthiness.
But the truth is that when you bitch about others, you actually alienate yourself from people. People will begin to realise you are two-faced and will not trust you and before too long, you will not trust other people around you either. We judge people by our own standards, so if we bitch, we start to believe others are bitching about us too and this generates a feeling of paranoia.
Instead, spend time focusing on your own faults and do everything you can to perfect them. This will help you to become a kinder, happier person and attract the same kind of friends and people towards you.
2) Do not judge others.
When we see people who act in a different way to us, we tend to judge them. We tend to portray a fixed personality onto them such as being a “good” or “bad” person without ever understanding their full story.
“She’s lazy! She leaves work earlier than everyone else”. Maybe she is a struggling, single mother who has to pick up her daughter from school every afternoon.
“He is so tight with his money”. Maybe he is struggling to support his sick wife and 2 children at home.
“He never drinks. He is so boring”. Ex-alcoholic, desperately trying to stay sober maybe?
Do not judge people by your own experiences in life, but try and understand them. Learn to accept people the way they are. Changing a person to fit into your ideal is very difficult. But changing your attitude to someone is very easy.
3) Learn to Listen.
There is a Hindu God of wisdom called Ganesh who has a human body and the head of an elephant. He is portrayed in this way because an elephant has huge ears and a tiny mouth. This is a symbol that in order to have wisdom, one should listen more and speak less.
Listening means really listening to everything that is being said without judging and without just waiting for that person to stop talking so that you can tell your bigger and better story. Listening is like one-way traffic. You can’t speak and listen at the same time, so if you are having a conversation in your head when you are supposedly “listening” to another person, YOU ARE NOT LISTENING. Clear your mind and pay them all your attention. The best way to do this is to become genuinely interested in other people Have compassion for them and you will then find it easier to let go of your ego and focus on what they are saying instead.
4) Never Lose Your Temper
Getting angry and losing your temper helps no one! It is a sign that you are not in control and it will only make a bad situation worse.
If you can learn how to control your anger, you will be able to think in a more rational and reasonable manner and therefore resolve any problems more quickly, easily and efficiently. The reason is that when we are calm we think with a different part of our brain called the Frontal Lobe. This is known as our humanistic part of the brain which allows us to see things more clearly and creatively. But when we become angry, we think with your animalistic, defensive part called the limbic system which acts emotionally and irrationally. When you become angry, you will often say things that you later regret. This will result in feelings of guilt. It also diminishes the respect and confidence people have in you too. But learn to control your anger, people will always look up to you as a leader, a person who is in control, a person who they can depend and rely on when the going gets tough. The best way to learn how to control your emotions is by learning to meditate.
5) Learn to see things from the other person’s perspective.
Quite often, if people have different ideas, views or opinions from us, the first reaction we experience is anger. Why? Because we are defending our long-held beliefs that we feel are a part of us. When someone challenges our opinion, we almost take it as a personal attack on ourselves and as a result, our barriers come up and we miss an opportunity to learn something new. If someone has a different opinion to you, stay calm, open and try and understand them instead of resisting their opinions. Once you fully understand them, then you are in a better position to question whether or not you feel their opinion or idea is correct or not.
6) Learn to forgive.
I remember a lady who came to see me once who said she was having problems forgiving her husband who left her for another woman. She felt angry every time she thought of him and would sometimes be unable to sleep at night recalling how hurtful and selfish he had been. I asked her how long ago this had happened.
“16 years ago” she replied.
It was not her husband who had caused her to suffer for the last 16 years, but herself.
She said she couldn’t forgive him because that would be letting him off the hook.
What hook? There was no hook. He didn’t care whether or not he was forgiven, but that imaginary hook had kept her mind in a place of anger, hatred and sleepless nights for 16 years!!
Learn to let go of the past.
Forgiving is no letting the other person off the hook for what they did. It is letting yourself off the hook so you can be free from suffering. No one is perfect, not you, me or anyone else who has ever walked on this planet. That is what being human is all about – making mistakes and trying to learn from them. If you want to let go of your pain, learn to forgive people who have hurt you, not for their sake, but for yours.