A beloved came over for dinner tonight. After dinner, we headed off for gelatos and in the midst of our indulgence in the gelatos, she abruptly told me that she had an argument with her partner. As I listened to her story, I was careful for the mind not to interpret what I was listening to with a past experience (which would immediately lead to judgment from past perception) but to fully observe and understand the situation which she presented to me.
It seemed that her partner was supposed to buy dinner for her the night before, prior to a badminton game he had scheduled. The arrangement for the dinner-buying was already made at about 6pm. He called her at about 8pm (his game was scheduled at 9pm) to ask her what she wanted for dinner in a very hurried and irritated voice. She requested for porridge. His response towards her became somewhat more irritable with a sense of increased anger in his voice, reasoning that porridge would take too long to pack and that he was rushing for his game. She obviously got pissed, and started to tell him off.
She explained that if he were to treat her that way, then he should allow her space to do the same. The question here is – who is stopping her? Of course, I am not saying that it is a necessary action on her part, but if she could observe carefully the reason behind his sudden attack towards her, surely she would feel compassion for him, rather than the counter-attack.
It’s guilt. And it happens to everyone of us – and I mean the guilt and the situation above. When we have agreed to our partners, or even someone close to us to do something and we grudgingly do it, at our own expense so to speak, we begin to feel uncomfortable and guilty; guilty because I shouldn’t be feeling this way; guilty because I shouldn’t be doing this; guilty because I shouldn’t have promised him/her. And believe it or not, very seldom we look inwards because we feel that there is no time to do so, or that it is not necessary to do so. But we feel it, there is no denying it and we feel shameful and vulnerable already – but we cannot let another know. What would another think of us? They would confirm that we are wrong, we are shameful, we are ugly or, we are unworthy of their love – but really, is that true? Or just a figment of our own imagination?
And so in order to defend ourselves, we attack first. Yes, that would be the safest, wouldn’t it? And then they would submit to us, so that we would win and once again reaffirm that we are worthy, we are great, we are right. But is that at all, possible?
And so we are attacked. “Oh no, what shall I do? But I didn’t do anything wrong!! He/She promised me!!” And so we start the mode of defense by attacking another. And the attack on one another goes on and on in a vicious cycle… non-stop; until one party feels tired and defeated and finally says, “Fine! You win!” or “I am sorry, I will never do that to you again.”
But does that truly solve the ‘problem’? How many times have someone promised us to do or not to do something, and yet time after time repeat it again? Are we requesting for the other to change him/herself so to make me feel better? Have we not, so unconsciously, given away and continuously give away our power to others for our own happiness and peace of mind?
Compassion and authentic communication between one another takes a lot of integrity and responsibility of oneself. We are responsible for our own shit. Period. There is no one out there who could love us the way we’d want to be loved even if we were to find the most loving, romantic or understanding person on earth.
And to begin this kind of communication with others that empowers both us and others is to go inwards. We begin to take responsibility for our own needs, feelings and vulnerability without expecting others to fulfill our needs. Although requests can always be made, but we need to be mindful that those requests must not come with expectations if one is to experience a loving and peaceful relationship with others. And in that communication of openness and vulnerability, the relationship heightens to another level aiding self understanding and the understanding of another.