Let the other never cloud your mind
There are two kinds of people. One who are okay with themselves, they have a sense of assuredness. They do not struggle to get compliments. They say that I am alright, not much is to be achieved. They are not hungry. Their predominant thought is not about satisfying themselves, someway or the other. They feel that they are already full. These people do not demand much from anybody. They relate, they connect, they talk, and they communicate. While doing all these, they do not have a motive of obtaining something from this or that.
There are two people standing and talking to each other, let us say, A and B. If A is the person of the kind that we just talked about, not hungry, feeling assured, he will speak to B but he will not speak to B with the aim of getting B’s approval. If he gets B’s approval, he is alright, if he does not get B’s approval then also he is alright. He will not become frustrated if B disagrees with him. He will not become aggressive and violent if B says that whatever you are saying is rubbish. He will be alright.
He will say, ‘Fine. You are entitled to say your opinion’. B might be an authority, but A’s confidence will not shake even if that authority refuses all that A is saying. It is because A is not dependent upon the ‘other’.
A is communicating, relating, is sensitive to the presence of the ‘other’, but he is not dependent on the ‘other’. He is not standing in front of B with a begging bowl. He is not saying to B that please agree with me. If you agree with me then we are friends, and if you do not agree with me then you are proving that you are my enemy.
He is saying that two healthy individuals are talking and we are communicating freely. My self-image will not take a beating even if you declare that I am a fool. I will not be especially pleased if you say that I am brilliant and wonderful. A says something, B applauds him, A smiles gently. A says something, B frowns and makes a dirty face, A is still alright. It is because A is always alright. He does not have a hole within. His mind is not craving for recognition from others. He is not afraid that what kind of labels he will get from others. He knows himself, so he is not dependent upon others for his self-image. This is one kind of mind.
Then there is another kind of mind. Let’s say that there is a person C talking to B. Why has C come to B? So that B may certify that C is good. Now C meets B in the morning. He meets B and he tries to please B by saying all kinds of nice things. B happens to be in a good mood. B says, ‘C, you are the smartest fellow I have ever seen. What you are saying right now is the ultimate truth. Besides, you are smart and handsome.’ How does C feel? C feels on the top of the world. C says, “Yes, now the world has approved of me. Now I have a certificate given by somebody else that I am good, wonderful, smart and handsome.’’ C thanks B a thousand times and goes away happily. Why does he go away happily. Because somebody else has approved that he is smart.
In the evening, C again meets B. This time B happens to be in a bad mood. C says something to B, and in reply B says to C, ‘You are an idiot, You are the ugliest fellow that was ever born.’ Now C will have to accept what B is saying because if you accept praises from somebody, then you also have to accept their criticism. Now C is disturbed. His self-worth has reduced a thousand times in a matter of few minutes. He is feeling so small and there are tears in his eyes. All his confidence is gone. He cannot face anybody now. And now when he cannot face anybody, he is desperate to get somebody to again certify that he is good. So, his journey continues.
He meets D, then E, F and whosoever he meets, he always meet with a begging bowl. “Who will certify that I am alright? Can I get some recognition from you?” His eyes are unable to look at himself so he looks at himself through others’ eyes. He is deeply dependent. Of course, he is afraid. He is a newcomer and he is afraid that this fellow may say that I am not good enough, and I have to believe him. Sometimes he is hopeful that this fellow may probably approve of me. His life is a chain of expectations.
A does not live in fear and expectations. A is alright, A is always alright. ‘You say whatever you want to say, I am always alright. It is because I look at myself through my own eyes.’
You need to ask yourself, ‘How would I feel if I were living a life like C?’ Are we not living like C? You look at the world around, what are most people like, A or C? Everything that they do, everything that they think, all are meant for the sake of others, for the assumptions of others.
‘How I am looking at others? What will the people say? Will the society approve of me? Will I be considered respectable?’ That is the reason why the world around is so afraid, such a salve.
Dependence is slavery. Whenever you will communicate with the objective of gaining somebody’s agreement or approval, the consequence will be fear. Do not say that your confidence becomes low. You need confidence only when you are afraid. Confidence never helps anybody. It is because confidence is needed only when you are afraid.
Fearlessness helps, confidence does not help. Confidence is like a pill that you are trying to take when you are already sick. Avoid sickness. The pill cannot be your food, the substance of your life. Note this mantra: whenever you feel scared, trembling and even hopeful in the presence of the other, just remind yourself that I am being dependent, otherwise I could not have felt this fear.
All fear arises from dependence.
If you want to be fearless then reduce your dependence. Whatever is given by the other can be taken back by the other. “If he can give me praise, tomorrow he can take back the praise.” That is fear.
Know yourself. Be certain about yourself, so that there is no need to ask for others’ gratification.
Acharya Prashant regularly writes at prashantadvait.com and to connect closely with his teachings watch his YouTube videos at Official YouTube Channel or visit his website.
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