How We Relate to Ourselves
by Friends of Godwin
No human being can avoid relationships. Even if someone is living as a hermit in the forest he or she has relationships. A person has a relationship with his food, with his surroundings and, of course, with himself. This shows that we cannot avoid relationships. It is a very important theme that we have to be clear about. When we use the word relationship usually what comes into our mind is a relationship with another person, but what is most important is to find out how we relate to ourselves.
The way we relate to others will depend on the way we relate to ourselves. If you are very critical of yourself, you will be very critical of others. If you do not trust yourself, it will be very difficult for you to trust others. If you feel insecure, other people will generate a lot of insecurity in you. Therefore it is very important when we discuss relationships to find out how we relate to ourselves. This is why meditation of loving-kindness is so important. With this meditation we can really learn to be our own best friend, and our dependencies on other people can become less.
Sometimes what happens is that we use other people to cover up our own sense of inadequacy. This is how we give so much power and so much energy to other people. We allow our own happiness or unhappiness to be dependent on other people. Though we are grown up, we still have our toys in the form of external things that we have become dependant on for our amusement and our happiness. Like children, we keep on changing toys. When we have one toy we think: “Now this is going to make me happy”, but very soon we are unhappy with that particular toy and we start looking for other toys. Our whole lives we are looking for toys, and at the end of it we are still dissatisfied.
Meditation helps us to become our own toy: that is the only difference, but it’s a very big difference. Having loving-kindness and being our own best friend helps us to have a relationship with ourselves where we become our own toy and where we’ll be contented and happy with ourselves. That doesn’t mean that when we are with other people we are unhappy. It is more that when we are with ourselves we can be happy and contented with ourselves, and when we are with other people we can still be happy.