Sadhguru answers a question on why relationships often become burdened with anxiety, and how we can fix such situations.
Question: Much of the anxiety I experience comes through my relationships. Isn’t it reasonable to expect some understanding from other people?
Sadhguru: When you live in this world, there are various types of complex interactions happening. As your field of play increases, the complexity of interaction also goes on increasing. If you are just sitting in a cubicle working on your computer with only one other person, you need only a little understanding. If you are managing a thousand people, you need a vast understanding of everyone. Suppose you are managing a thousand people and you want all these people to understand you, you are not going to manage anything. You need to understand the limitations and capabilities of these thousand people and do what you can. Only then will you have the power to move the situation the way you want it to go. If you are waiting for these thousand people to understand you and act, it is a pipe dream. It is never going to happen.
Question: Suppose somebody is in a close relationship with me and is very important to me. Shouldn’t I expect better understanding from them?
Sadhguru: That’s the point. The closer the relationship is, the more effort you should make to understand them. It so happened, once there was a man who had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months, with his wife staying at his bedside night and day. When he came to, in those few moments of consciousness, he motioned for her to come closer. As she sat beside him, he said, “I’ve been thinking…you have been with me through all the bad times in my life. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business went down the tube, you were there working overtime and doing night shifts. When I got shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house in that legal clash, you were right there beside me. Now my health is failing, and you are still by my side. When I consider all this, I think you only bring me bad luck!”
This is exactly what you are doing to yourself and to your relationships. Someone becomes closer and dearer to you only as you understand them better. If they understand you, they enjoy the closeness of the relationship. If you understand them better, you enjoy the closeness.
Question: This is easier said than done. It is difficult to always be there...
Sadhguru: It is not that the other person is totally bereft of understanding. With your understanding you can create situations where the other person would be able to understand you better. If you are expecting the other to understand and comply with you all the time while you don’t understand the limitations, possibilities, needs and capabilities of that person, conflict is all that will happen. It is bound to happen.
Unfortunately, the closest relationships in the world have more conflict going on than between India and Pakistan. In your relationships, you have fought many more battles than they have. This is because your line of understanding and theirs is different. If you cross this L.O.C., this Line of Control, they will get mad. If they cross it, you get mad. If you move your understanding beyond theirs, their understanding also becomes a part of your understanding. You will be able to embrace their limitations and capabilities. In everyone, there are some positive things and some negative things. If you embrace all this in your understanding, you can make the relationship the way you want it. If you leave it to their understanding, it will become accidental. If they are very magnanimous, things will happen well for you. If not, the relationship will break up.
All I am asking is: do you want to be the one who decides what happens to your life? Whether they are close relationships, professional, political, global or whatever, don’t you want to be the person who decides what happens in your life? If you do, you better include everything and everyone into your understanding. You should enhance your understanding to such a point that you can look beyond people’s madness also. There are very wonderful people around you, but once in a while they like to go crazy for a few minutes. If you don’t understand that, you will lose them. If you do, you know how to handle them.
Life is not always a straight line. You have to do many things to keep it going. If you forsake your understanding, your capability will be lost. Whether it is a question of personal relationships or professional management, in both places you need understanding. Otherwise, you won’t have fruitful relationships.
Editor’s Note: Excerpted from Mystic’s Musings. Not for the faint-hearted, this book deftly guides us with answers about reality that transcend our fears, angers, hopes, and struggles. Sadhguru keeps us teetering on the edge of logic and captivates us with his answers to questions relating to life, death, rebirth, suffering, karma, and the journey of the Self. Download the sample pdf or purchase the ebook.