Sometimes, it is best to lay a relationship to rest a.k.a Relationship In Peace – RIP!

Life is so incredibly demanding. Sometimes, you may have to have the most uncomfortable conversations even though you may never want to have them. But have those conversations and liberate yourself, despite the pain that they may entail, because without them, you will agonize, grieve and suffer.
Let’s take an example. You just don’t have the chemistry going with someone in your Life. You have tried. She or he has tried. But it has never worked out. Over the years, you find that your equilibrium is lost in this person’s presence. And you take ages to recover every time from that ‘encounter’, that ‘conflict’ or even that ‘chance meeting’. So, you are now in a hermit mode, having ‘retired’ after being ‘tired of trying’. Not out of ego, not out of hatred, but out of wanting to just anchor in peace. Peace for you and peace for this other person. And then you get a call from ‘a someone’ connected to both of you, inviting you to consider a truce; appealing to your sense of maturity, to your conscience to let go of ‘past issues’, of ‘baggage’, to forgive and to ‘resume’ ties. This is the time that you must take charge of your Life. Ideally, you may want to duck this peacemaker’s call or conversation. You may want to hide from this opportunity. But don’t. Stand there. Be in the face of it and evaluate the opportunity objectively. Examine if you believe that the chemistry with the person in question can ever be restored and made to work. Examine if you and the other person, both and not just one, really will benefit from this ‘reunion’. Examine if you will be happy meeting this person. If the answer is yes, and only if it’s a yes for all three statements above, proceed. Else, stay away. Peace, inner peace, for both of you, is more important than a sense of reason and victory for the peacemaker. Not that the peacemaker means any harm. Or is doing something for ‘showing off’ (not that there don’t exist such pretentious peacemakers on this planet!). But just that, it is important for each of us to know what chemistry works, with whom, when and where. And more important is to employ this knowledge intelligently and profitably for all concerned.
Chances are the peacemaker, and observers, will opinionate and even chide you for being ‘bull-headed’, ‘heartless’ and ‘unreasonable’. But you explain your point of view while remaining unmoved. Just double check if you are not operating from a position of ego and hatred by asking yourself the following questions. If there was an avenue for rapprochement, would you have waited for a peacemaker to broker a deal or would you have reached out? Do you wish this other person well or are you still seething with rage? Have you been at peace in all this time that you have stayed away from the relationship? When you ask and answer these questions, truly, honestly, you will be able to confirm if your ego is coming in the way or if peace is the way. If it is the latter, have the difficult conversation with the peacemaker, any observer or even the person in question. This conversation must be gone through to free you of any pangs of guilt, of any emotional burden. Don’t avoid it. “Remember”, as American novelist, Nicholas Sparks, writes in “Message in a Bottle”: “Nothing worthwhile is going to be easy.”

So, a simple rule of thumb to feel unburdened and free in difficult relationships is to 1. WANT the peace 2. HAVE uncomfortable conversations although you may want to hide from them. 3. DON’T operate from ego or hatred. 4. DO what’s right and best for both people involved__you and the other person. 5. DON’T try to be a martyr or a hero__just be who you are. And, fundamentally, recognize that it is sometimes perfectly fine__and the best thing__for some relationships to be laid to rest, a.k.a, Relationship In Peace__R.I.P!  
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When you are fully aware, you need not suffer anyone, anymore


There are some people in whose presence we feel extremely uncomfortable. Something in the way they conduct themselves puts you off. And at another level you do recognize that you are made very differently and there can be no chemistry at all between both of you. So, every time you have to meet this person, you go into a agonizing dilemma. You are thinking of ways and means to avoid the encounter. You make excuses. And when you can’t avoid anymore, you suffer deeply in this person’s presence. Your physical discomfort morphs into awkwardness and eventually into unhappiness.

I have been through such experiences too. And at many times I have had the urge to tell the person, whom I loathed meeting, what I felt deeply about her or him. But social niceties, the intricacies of the relationship between us, would force me to not express myself frankly. Even so, suppressing what your true feelings are always leads you to more unhappiness and grief.

I used to have a neighbor who is very, very wealthy. He simply loved to talk about his wealth. He talked about his cars. His yachts. His vacation homes. His businesses and how much profits he had made from recent projects __ giving details brazenly of which politician or bureaucrat he had bribed. And he talked endlessly. He would accost me in the elevator, in the parking lot or even, at times, invite himself over into my living room to launch off into his completely unwelcome self-expositions. There was no way I could escape his tyranny because he simply had no sensitivity. He didn’t bother about another’s time, space or privacy. For several months I suffered. It came to a point when I would dread bumping into this neighbor and so I would be very wary of even stepping out of my apartment. I would rush out or in so that he did not see me. It was a stupid way of living in my own house. But there seemed no other way! I could have perhaps told him off. Or had a showdown with him and put him in his place but then he was a neighbor and nobody wants to spar with a neighbor. So, I simply kept suffering.

That’s when I read this story about Swami Vivekananda. Just before his famous trip to the USA and his iconic speech in Chicago, Vivekananda visited Jaipur on the Maharaja’s invitation. The Maharaja gave Vivekananda a grand reception that was worthy of a king. There was a public procession…flowers, lights and the royal works. In the main court, the durbar, of the King, an elaborate dance performance by the leading courtesan, a devadaasi, of the King was organized. When the performance was about to begin, and Vivekananda came to know that the dancer was a prostitute, he rushed up to his room and locked himself up. He refused to come out. He was afraid the prostitute’s presence would corrupt his moral pledge to be celibate. He was even angry with the King for having the audacity to invite a prostitute in a Swami’s presence. The King came up to the room and profusely apologized. But declined to send the prostitute away because his value systems prevented him from sending anyone away from his court. He said he could not insult or humiliate a guest in his court, even if she was a prostitute. The prostitute, when she heard of what was going on and delaying the start of her performance, was very hurt initially. She had heard a lot about Swami Vivekananda’s brilliance and had considered it her privilege to be dancing in his presence. She then took a momentous decision to begin her performance without either the King or his important guest being in the Court. She sang as she danced. The song is very beautiful. The song goes – “I know that I am not worthy of you, but you could have been a little more compassionate. I am dirt on the road – that I know. But you need not be so antagonistic to me. I am a nobody – ignorant, a sinner. But you are a saint – why are you afraid of me?” As the song wafted through the palace corridors and reached the young Swami Vivekananda’s ears, something happened to him. He confessed later that he was defeated by the prostitute. He came out of his room. And he watched the whole performance in the court. That night, he wrote in his diary: “A new revelation has been given to me by the divine. I was afraid… must have been some lust within me. That’s why I was afraid. But the woman defeated me completely, and I have never seen such a pure soul. Her tears were so innocent and the singing and the dancing were so holy…. Sitting near her, for the first time, I became aware that it is not a question who is there outside, it is a question of what is.” Surely, with that experience Vivekananda transcended to a new level of consciousness. He became fully aware.

Reading this story, I awakened too. I realized that in the context of either my bombastic neighbor or in some other key relationships, where there was a complete absence of chemistry, wherever I was struggling, I needed to look deeper. I needed to look at what isthan who is there outside. What is behind the exterior, behind the packaging is the same beautiful cosmic energy that powers each of the Universe’s creations. The diversity is in the packaging. The shapes, the sizes, the colors, the bells, the whistles, the bows and ribbons, mislead us. We develop a distaste for and suffer people, or even start hating their very presence, without focusing on what is in them. My awakening led me to learn to tell people, like my neighbor, politely that such intrusions and self-expositions were not welcome anymore. I did this with complete equanimity__no agitation, no hesitation, no fear, no pride__and honesty. And ever since I told him that, he stopped behaving in that manner with me. In another relationship, I simply told the person that the chemistry between us doesn’t work. Period. Even so, I have learned to appreciate people just as I appreciate myself. I still struggle sometimes missing ‘what is’ for the packaging, but my awareness does a great job playing the role of a reminder service. It quickly reminds me to go beyond the outside, the exterior, the packaging, every single time. With this awareness there is no more suffering, no more unhappiness, in anybody’s presence!