Ask Azim | Q&A (January 2016)

Azim-JamalQUESTION:  People often get hurt or upset when someone speaks their mind? Given this, how do we remain authentic in our relationships?

AZIM:  A strong relationship is founded on trust and mutual respect; and both trust and mutual respect are derived from authenticity. If you are fake or pretending to be somebody else, sooner or later trouble starts brewing. When one or both parties begin to crumble under the pressure of conforming to an ideal which is not true, the relationship fizzles out. We may gather a lot of people around us and please them in the short term, but sound relationships are only those where we feel free to be ourselves.

A few tips to build authenticity in relationships:

1. Start with self-acceptance – We get attracted to other people’s strengths, but it is their vulnerability which endears them to us. It is then that we experience a glimpse of their humanity. We realize that the same joys and fears connect us all, but revealing our own vulnerability requires courage; a courage rooted in self-acceptance. Once we are willing to accept ourselves completely, imperfections and all, only then can we begin to accept others as they are. Many confuse this self-acceptance with an unwillingness to evolve or change; but this is not so, for all change or growth can only happen once we are open to accepting who we are.

2. Display integrity in all you do – Integrity is the cornerstone of authenticity. Always endeavor to be the best version of yourself. Say what you do and do what you say. Be honorable in both your words and deeds. This not only builds your credibility but also forces you to re-assess your beliefs and opinions, which might be flawed or defunct.

3. Find a common ground – We all cry and laugh in the same language. Hence, despite all our apparent differences, there is always something that you share with the other person. It may be an opinion, a value, a hobby or even a family trait. What is required is a willingness to explore.

4. Allow diversity to enrich you – Nature abhors homogeneity and flourishes in diversity. Even two petals of a flower are different, and beauty is created out of these differences. Our differences make us unique and interesting. If we were all the same, there would be no value in engagement with others. Learn to view differences with an open mind and try to see how they enrich your life. Often the things you avoid may be the very things you need.

5. Be empathetic – Do unto others as you would wish them to do to you. Let that be your guiding principle. In situations of dispute or conflict, put yourself in the other’s position and then frame your response. This does not entail trivializing your concern, but choosing the right and fair mode of expression. Be genuine in your compliments and sensitive in your criticism.

Hope this helps you…

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2 Responses

  1. Is your current book with Bryan in audio format. How much. Keep up good excellent work. Today February 5 2016 made long journal entry. Intuition.