You suffer only because you are resisting what is and are refusing to accept a situation or a person!
Yesterday, I delivered my “Fall Like A Rose Petal” Talk to over 300 employees of Tata Consultancy Services. A young lady manager, who appeared to be going through a lot of emotional distress, wanted to know whether it was possible at all to live “without suffering when people close to you don’t understand you”. She broke down as she asked me this question – she was seeking perspective because I have talked about my poor chemistry with my own mother in my Book.
This was my response: All our suffering comes from our wanting people, things and events to be different from who or what they are. If someone is not understanding you, and is causing you emotional trauma, they are obviously having their own reasons for their opinions. Now, the misunderstanding or absence of understanding occurs only because the opinions between the two of you are divergent. So, accept this fact and move on. You can only repair a situation – or a relationship – if the people connected with it allow you to. You can sit down and talk only with someone who is willing to listen. You can mend fences with someone only if they are willing. You can make new beginnings only when there is willingness from either side. When the other party is not willing, when there is an urge to interpret you than understand you, what is the point in you laboring over the relationship and suffering, expecting that person to behave differently? My advice is always to try and fix any relationship by having honest conversations. The key operative word is ‘honest’ here – be in the face and speak your mind while according the other party complete dignity. If these conversations fail to improve the chemistry between you both, after at least three attempts, accept that this is how things are meant to be between you two people and move on.
Suffering itself is a completely wasted emotion. How can anything – or anyone – be different from what is – from the way they are – by your pining for it or them? Suffering, wondering why people do what they do, is therefore totally, totally avoidable – in fact, as the Buddha says, it is optional!
Later in the evening yesterday, I ended up at a party where a member of my immediate family, who has chosen to not understand me, too was present. We behaved like strangers. No hostility. No avoiding each other. Just complete strangerhood. The party was a nice one – I enjoyed it! And that’s all there is to Life. If you can relate to someone, great! If you can’t relate to someone, great again; accept that there is no relationship and move on. Where there is acceptance, there is no suffering!