A few days back, my friend Dr Manmeet Kumar shared a quote from Margaret Mead on giving and kindness. It stirred a few questions for me.
Let’s say you have someone whom really you want to help, and you are doing everything in your capacity to provide for them. But that person expects the emotional audience to either keep bad-mouthing others or repetitively feel victimized, worried, and secured, which can get extremely draining. That person expects you to uproot and come to them. How would you extend support to such a person? What’s enough and what’s not?
Dr Kumar wonderfully answered these questions for me; she said first and foremost, we should seek clarity on what we are considering as help vis-a-vis what the other person is seeking as help. While with all good intentions, you might be busy providing for their comfort and survival, but the other person might not be looking for comfort. They are maybe looking for an emotional audience to vent and feel good. In simpler terms, you might be giving someone apples, but they may be looking for oranges.
Now, once you acknowledge that the other person’s needs are different from what you can offer. What do you do?
- First, you must approach the giving with kindness, patience, and compassion.
- It would help to balance what is expected and what you can do. For example, you could limit your time with them in a day to 15 mins where you both talk and enjoy, but the emphasis should be on training them on limited time.
- It would help if you reminded yourself that it could be part of your life purpose; you might have agreed to provide for them.
- We should see these opportunities for balancing karma and releasing karma. We balance karma when we take actions that offset things we did in past lives. We release karma when we correct the underlying beliefs, attitudes, or character traits.
- Don’t feed their negativity with your negativity and contraction; that way, you give it more energy. Instead, remind yourself to use love to keep the door open for them; the more you feed negativity with kindness and love, the more it loses its energy.
Ultimately, seeing a loved one suffer or in need of care can be a heartbreaking experience. But we must strive to crack open the brittle parts of the heart and soul for the love and kindness to pour forth more freely.