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How to build up constructive and lasting relationships

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Edited by Marco Ferrini

People suffer for not being able to bring harmony in relationships and at the same time tend to start new conflicts due to their conditionings.

There are more people suffering from relational difficulties than people suffering for the wars or for epidemics and, on the other hand, good relationships are the biggest patrimony we can build up for our well-being; and this doesn’t cost anything.

Experiencing peaceful and tension-free relationships is the very basis for building up relationships set on a shared system of values and lofty principles. These are the grounds, while the top of the structure is made up of common purposes and of the mutual reliance on the fact that nothing can ruin the relationship anymore, not even the hardest trials or difficulties, because we don’t bring forward any suspects, doubts, misunderstandings, but, on the contrary, estimation, affection, love rule the relationship.

The duration of a relationship is not the only principle on which we can judge its quality. What really makes the difference is a constructive and developing attitude. On which basis should we found our relations? The human being is struggling between his impelling need of freedom and harmony on one hand, and the strings with which he constantly binds himself through his bad choices, on the other.

It’s a terrible paradox: we wish we could be free and happy, but we continue to bind ourselves through our own actions. For this reason human relationships are that difficult, and only few people are able to manage them at the best. Our personality is on the way: we build it up trough our decisions, one after another, and for this reason it’s essential to learn how to act with a clear consciousness. In this growing process of harmonization, our willpower has a central role.

If we manage to use our willpower properly we can understand the great truth the rishi convey to us: the difference between being and not-being, between life and death. The worst suffering is caused by a situation of struggle between opposites; if we experience this situation inside ourselves, we can’t help bursting it out even outside, on our relationships with the others. Contraposition tears. It’s an engagement to make our opposite parts dialogue with one another: it implies the wish of becoming disciples of enlightened guides, because if we continue to judge people and situations from our limited subjective perspective, we will never be able to cross the threshold of our limits. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains that the one who relies on Him with faith has an unbiased vision.

This equanimity is the essential presupposition to cultivate good relationships. Samah darshinah is “the one who has an impartial vision”. Darshana is inner vision, the only one that allows us, despite the differences we perceive externally, to join us to the essence. Differences refer to immanence. Equanimity is the natural impulse when we experience the transcendental dimension.

Even more, in the Gita Krishna says: “The one who sees everybody inside Me and Me inside everybody, is extremely dear to Me”: this is the very basis of equanimity. In the origin nobody is, from an ontological point of view, good or wicked: everybody is good. The one who has a vision which transcends time, loves the spiritual essence of any person, without disregarding the personal historical experience of that particular individual in order to understand how to relate with him at the best.

Another essential element to keep good relationships is having a bent for forgiveness. The one who feels offended by the mistakes of others, often going wrong in judging his own responsibilities and those of the others, isn’t able to build up harmonic and deep relationships. If you don’t practise a spiritual discipline, you can easily mistake an ant for an elephant or vice versa, while a wise person isn’t prone to distortions; on the contrary he is an expert in the art of all arts: forgiveness. We are conquering our own freedom when we practise forgiveness in all circumstances, when we forgive small as well as big mistakes. If we learn to forgive small mistakes, step by step, we will be able to forgive even big mistakes.

Another important ingredient to build up healthy relationships is the ability to understand the peculiar characteristics of the others, accepting the diversity. To do this, first we have to know ourselves deeply. In relationships concerning love we should not burn out the stages: we need to act gradually. Prudence is the life of relationships. Step by step we should try to identify the elective affinities which link us to the others, the only ones which can connect us deeply.

Excitement makes us move jerkily and makes us experience the hell in this world, being unable to weigh what are the right decisions to take. Without an orientation we experience an everlasting anxiety. If we act frenetically, we lose a far-sighted view, while the control over our impulses is the essential basis to recover harmony within ourselves and with the world.

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