Anonymous wrote: When someone is being mean to you and talking nasty things about you behind your back, and trying to bring you down and ruin your reputation among your friends, how should you deal with it? Do you keep quiet and suffer it, or retaliate? Religion says, what you sow, so you reap. Isn’t the other person sowing a similar reaction from me, then?
Hello dear anonymous, thank you for writing in.
Step one: It's quite difficult but you must first sit back and objectively understand that whatever happens to you is your own responsibility. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, in the past or the present, you have ‘sowed’ the seeds for someone to be malicious towards you. It could be your actions, words or thoughts. The universe does not go by what you portray on the outside. It has an eerie way of peeking into the core of your heart. And it uncannily reflects those feelings, perceptions, thoughts, opinions, biases and superstitions back at you.
Even if you just had a slightest hint of a fear, ‘This guy seems nasty, I hope he doesn’t get mean with me,’ or a secret opinion, ‘This woman is a real bitch, she only knows how to ruin people’s lives,’ you have created a cause. You sowed seeds of negativity, even if you had smiled on the surface. No matter how well you behave towards her or think you are good to her, that little fear or dislike tucked away in your heart will keep inviting exactly the same behaviour towards you that you were afraid of in the first place. And you will be caught in a vicious circle of further hate towards her, and further nastiness towards yourself.
Step two: Nip it in the bud. Visualise a trashcan and throw in all those feelings of negativity you have had in the past. Start afresh. The first thing you should think when you meet someone for the first time is:
(a) This person is a reflection of my own life; what I am, so is she.
(b) We are born from the divine and contain divinity in ourselves. This person is as capable of being a Buddha as I am.
(c) This person has come into my life for a purpose, to teach me something, or maybe learn from me.
(d) We are all one. What I give her, I get back myself, since we are one and the same.
Once you start on this note, I guarantee, most relationships in your life will be joyful and meaningful. Even if there may be disagreements or differences somewhere, your feelings towards this person remain the same. (Incidentally, respect your differences. Both of you have your own unique talents and thoughts to offer, and will only enrich each other if you accept them gracefully.)
Regarding your last question, it is not for you to pass judgements over another’s actions and ‘give them back’ what they deserve. By doing so, you will sow further hate and bitterness; and invariably get back the same. What you can and must do is to take responsibility for your own actions and thoughts. Change yourself and see the world around you change as well.
I bless you with self-discovery, growth and healthy relationships.