Life can be challenging. We all want to live in a world of kindness and warmth. We all want to live in happiness and harmony, appreciating the deep beauty of life, without getting tangled up in the struggles and complications that modern living brings. So why does it sometimes feel so very challenging to do this, when surely it should be the most natural thing in the world?
We get distracted from what is really important in life, and we set the wrong priorities in our life. If we would prioritise treating people the right way, with kindness and tolerance, prioritise taking time and care with all the things we do, prioritising living simply and healthily, we would enjoy the fruits of such practices.
Our happiness is enriched by having friendliness and warmth and in the relationships with all the people around us. Everyone knows what it is like to have a dispute with a friend, or a heated exchange with a stranger. It doesn’t leave us feeling good at all. Rather, it leaves a residue of dis-harmony within us, which we can sometimes struggle to free ourselves of. Conversely, when we are brave enough to smile warmly at all the people we meet, helping anyone whom we can see needs a hand, our heart feels deeply enriched, and happiness and joy flow freely, even if the people don’t smile back!
So if we can learn how to avoid conflict with others, how to avoid differences of opinion, our life would be infinitely richer. It is challenging, because sometimes it seems that some people are just waiting to vent their frustration upon another person. They may often be in a bad mood, and therefore lack tolerance and patience with the people around them. They may be struggling with an emotional issue of their own, which makes them irritable. Who knows… but we have to learn to be careful with our communications and discerning also, because another persons inner dis-harmony can easily be passed on to us, if we are not careful.
We have all experienced this happening to us – and we have all been the perpetrator at some point also, hurting someone close to us. Therefore we can understand what leads a person to be hostile and unkind. It is usually frustration.
Have you ever been frustrated about something, and then lost your patience with the most loving person around you, perhaps even a child? Sometimes we justify this to ourselves, saying “he/she deserved it” or something similar. But even if we are dishing out what we think other people deserve, where is the harmony in our lives? Does it really feel good to be cold and cruel with our communications? What happens to our heart amidst this type of behaviour? Does it increase our sense of inner-harmony and happiness? No. We just remain bad-tempered, blind to the true beauty of life and of other people also.
This is why developing patience, tolerance, understanding and love are absolutely essential, and should be at the top of our priority list. This is a daily practice, and there is no more rewarding practice we can engage in. When we do this, we simply bring more compassion into our lives, more love, harmony and happiness. This is why – even if someone is very rude or unkind to us – we should let go of the feelings of anger or injustice as soon as we can, because they are very damaging. What do we replace them with? Compassion, understanding and forgiveness.
When we understand that someone’s behaviour is a result of their own inner-disharmony, frustration, unhappiness or suffering (which we know it is, from our own experience), then compassion is the natural consequence. Rather than hoping they get “taught a lesson” for being unkind to us, or wishing suffering upon them, or punishing them with our angry thoughts, we must find the way to come back to the innate compassion in our heart. Understanding and forgiveness are the ways to do this.
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