In our relationships, there is a great deal of happiness and they are a source of strength and encouragement. But just as life is full of ups and downs, so are our relationships. One day they might fill us with joy, but the next day a big misunderstanding occurs and we feel cut down. It matters to us that our friends or loved ones see us in a good light, and when we sense that they are looking at us and not liking what they see, we might either retreat into our shells and worry ourselves sick about how we are perceived, or we might go on the offensive and launch a few verbal arrows of our own.
To regain our balance is key, but the way that we will find this is neither through self-loathing, nor trying to get the other person back. Because as much as we might feel hurt by another’s words, looks or actions, we will never regain our balance or happiness by looking outside for them or by going to the other extreme of becoming stuck in negative thoughts, whether about ourselves or others.
Remember that misunderstandings come from people’s perceptions of each other, when the wires have become crossed. If someone thinks we are this, that or the other, it doesn’t become some kind of eternal truth about our personality. Everything in life changes from moment to moment, and while one day we might feel very hurt and upset, it will not last because our perceptions will change once again.
We can take the lessons offered by these experiences without holding on to any sense of blame or guilt, and we can get to know the ways which help us to get back into balance within our minds and our hearts. This might be through mind techniques like meditation, but equally you might balance the body to help balance the mind through therapies like massage, reflexology or exercises like yoga. For me, I might say the best thing is to go and walk in nature, if you are close to the beauty of nature, it will bring you back to your senses.
If we end up losing a relationship because the hurt between us and the other person is too big, then we should not fight the feelings of sadness—we should allow them to flow, rather than hold on tight to them because life will come back up again if we allow it. Of course, there will be times when dark clouds cover up our happiness or our peace, and we may feel very agitated or uncomfortable in our bodies and minds. But if we allow the clouds to move on their natural course, we will be able to get back into the flow of our lives. We may need time to grieve and understand our feelings or our loss, but we should not live with regrets or infinite ‘What if?’ questions.
The silver lining of those clouds is that when faced with losing something or someone, we are also given the opportunity to appreciate that which is not lost. We reach out to those people who give us love and support, and we say thank you for being a part of our lives. We might look at our parents, for example: even if we have grown apart over the years or we tend to fight with them, we can take a step back and think about how they probably did their best for us and that although they might not be our idea of perfect parents we can still be thankful to them for our lives.
In Buddhism, we try to think of every being as our mother because it was our mother who gave us life. And in times of sorrow it makes sense that people will think of their own mothers and reach out to them, either in their thoughts or by going to them and talking things through with them. During these times, even the smallest show of kindness is like a ray of sunshine for us; sometimes it might open up our sorrow even deeper, but it will also shine a light on our happiness.
The author is the spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in the Himalayas