Not relating to someone is both natural and evolutionary

Someone asked me: “Does it seem possible that we stop relating to most people we know? The possibility makes one feel very guilty…”
I believe, as you evolve and grow in Life, it is indeed possible that you stop relating to people that you once used to relate to completely. But there’s no point in feeling guilty about this. It is simply the way of Life!
What must be understood is that just as Life keeps on changing, people too change. Not just in a physical sense, but attitudinally, culturally, spiritually. You have changed, I have changed, since we last took stock! As you grow richer with more years through this lifetime, your experiences make you different. Sometimes, they make you bitter. But more often than not, they make you better. Whether you get better or bitter with Life, and living, you evolve. Your outlook to Life changes. You see Life more clearly – and your view is shaped by your experiences. Over time, you understand people at a very basic level – not based on their social standing or their fame or their talent alone, but based on their motives and their values – which causes them to behave the way they do! Please know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this change in you. It is as natural a Life-engineered process as biological aging is. Why grieve then over something unavoidable and natural? Why feel guilty?
It is a lack of understanding and appreciation of this truism that wrecks many marriages and relationships. People who have troubled relationships actually have a serious problem with relating to the people in those relationships. Because they don’t realize this and don’t accept this lack of relating as a natural aspect of personal evolution, they struggle in those relationships. We tend to look at people who have had multiple relationships or marriages with a certain disdain. But if you consider why they chose to opt out of those relationships, you will realize that they are actually displaying a high level of maturity. They are accepting that they are not relating to their partners or associates and are choosing to move on. It is those who refuse to see or accept this reality of lack of relating who suffer.
Guilt is a very debilitating emotion. It is pointless to be guilty about anything. What is wrong if after knowing someone for many, many years, you come to realize that you don’t enjoy their companionship anymore? Why is it important to be “wedded” to relationships? Are you relating to someone that you are in a relationship with is a more important question to answer than how to save or protect or even nurture that relationship. If you are not relating anymore, why punish yourself and the other person by continuing to be together just to showcase the relationship between you both? The relationship is dead already. It doesn’t make any difference to the relationship whether or not you are there in it physically. Because you have long dropped out at an emotional, soul level.
Review your Life and your relationships seriously. Make intelligent choices on who you can relate to and who you can’t. You don’t have to necessarily announce a severance of the relationships that you don’t enjoy anymore, but you can decide not to engage in them going forward. And definitely not at the cost of your inner peace. So, stop clinging on to what isn’t there anymore. Drop your guilt. You will then be soaked in happiness!

Getting to the “un-frustrated” state of mind

Ultimately, you cause your own frustrations.
Whatever reasons you find to justify as to what or who created a situation that makes you feel frustrated, in the end, the buck stops with you. And unless you decide not to feel frustrated with your situation anymore, you will feel no better. Whether you invited it upon yourself or whether it was forced on you is immaterial.
Whenever I have used an auto-rickshaw, especially in Chennai, I have reasons to be frustrated. I am sure you have had similar experiences. The drivers are normally reckless, they don’t follow traffic rules, they speak on their phones while driving and are almost always argumentative over the fares. In the past, I used to often get into principle-based duels with auto drivers. Each encounter would leave me drained and exasperated. I would carry my rage from the experience on the road through the day and, at many times, back home too. When I saw a pattern to my irritable behavior, I discovered that an argument with auto-drivers always played havoc with my moods. So, for a long, long period of time, I simply avoided using auto-rickshaws. But, owing to my car breaking down, and me being car-less for now, I have had to rely on auto-rickshaws largely. Even now, there are many challenges and provocations in dealing with auto-drivers daily. But I realize how much better my response to each situation is now because I choose not to react to any of them – and therefore I do not get frustrated with them anymore.  
There’s no magic way to deal with everyday frustrations. Everyone struggles. Including me. But one way, that often helps snap out of series of frustrating thoughts that torment me when things go wrong, is to ask myself, “What could I have done to avoid feeling frustrated?”. As you can see, this question is not directed at taking on the blame for the situation nor is it a solution per se to the problem on hand. It is only focused on the aspect of how you are feeling at the moment. Which is, you are frustrated. Period. So, how do you deal with that feeling? When you go to the root of that feeling, you will find that you could have responded differently to the situation which would have at least prevented you from feeling frustrated, helpless, despondent. Asking this question, again and again, each time that you feel frustrated, you learn the art of “non-frustration”. Over time, you develop an attitude of tolerance and acceptance in any situation.
When you are in an un-frustrated state of mind, you begin to think more clearly, more rationally and start addressing the problem on hand from a solution point of view rather than feeling frustrated about it!

Forgiveness leads you to inner peace

When you want to forgive someone simply forgive. Don’t judge whether the person is worthy or not. What matters is whether you feel forgiveness at your very core.  
Think about it. When does the context of forgiveness arise? Forgiveness becomes relevant when someone has acted in an irrational, resentful, violent and/or a hurtful way with you. Your hurt is causing you to feel miserable about the episode and you want to see that the person responsible for this is admonished, made accountable or even punished. This is what anyone will normally want done. But as long as the act of reprimand or retribution is not complete you will continue to grieve, you will continue to suffer. In some cases, the person who hurts you may realize her mistake and seek your forgiveness. It’s possible then that you may or may not forgive her. If you choose not to, you will still be carrying the angst of the injury, the hurt in you. But, if in any situation, you choose to forgive, you will be liberated – instantaneously.
Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, the Rajiv Assassination, Nalini Murugan
Picture Courtesy: Internet
There’s so much attention on the people responsible for former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins, with the Indian Supreme Court, commuting the death sentences of some more of them to Life terms recently. This development, in the context of forgiveness, brings the focus back to what happened in March 2008. Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, Rajiv’s daughter, visited Nalini Murugan, one of those convicted in the assassination conspiracy, in Vellore jail in Tamil Nadu. According to what TIME magazine reported then: “The two women both wept when they met. Toward the end of their meeting, they compared stories about their children’s births (both have had caesareans) and even swapped small gifts, though neither revealed what they were. Nalini, whose initial death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment a few years ago after intervention by Sonia Gandhi, the president of the ruling Congress Party, apparently found Priyanka’s visit Life-changing. Nalini told her brother P. S. Bhagyanathan that she feels as if “all my sins have been washed off by Priyanka’s visit… I feel she has pardoned me by calling on me at the prison… I am indebted to her all my life.” Whether Priyanka explicitly offered forgiveness will probably remain between them. In her statement, Priyanka said that “meeting with Nalini was my way of coming to peace with [the] violence and loss that I have experienced.” Perhaps Priyanka was not trying to forgive so much as she was trying not to hate — and their meeting was a very private gesture that, after becoming public (through a media leak), has come to appear heartbreakingly heroic. “I don’t believe in anger, hatred, and violence,” Priyanka said simply in her statement. “And I refuse to allow it to overpower my life.”

Priyanka’s effort to reach out, and to be human, in the face of such a traumatic personal loss, is as awakening now as it was then. That she chose to do what she did, without investing to evaluate whether Nalini deserved any forgiveness, if at all, or not, is inspiring.
We must remember that when we forgive someone, we let go of all the pent up, wasteful emotions like anger and hatred, within us. We forgive someone for our own sake first. And through our inner cleansing and peace, we help the one we forgive too to move on in Life. Forgiveness frees the person who is forgiving and therefore is not dependent on whether the person receiving it is deserving or not. If you understand this perspective, you will never carry any resentment, any hurt, any suffering in you – ever. And you will be at peace!