Spring-clean your life, this Diwali

Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness. With the coming of Diwali, we all get back to cleaning our homes and surroundings to welcome new energy and light into our lives. It is a day of new beginnings.   

But this clean up is not merely concerned with our physical space. A Sufi looks beyond the scope of rituals and practices to realize the the deeper symbolic meaning behind all actions. Here cleaning up your space also exemplifies letting go all that, which is stagnating, or holding us back from expressing our true light. 

In the first part, today lets look at cleaning up life of all unhealthy relationships that clutter our ability to love and give freely. 

Unhealthy relationships are not primarily about physical abuse; they are also about mental and emotional abuse. 

And like everything else in life, unhealthy relationships are here to serve a purpose; to teach us something. For example a relationship of domination is probably teaching us to reclaim our power, be more assertive, or build the courage to stand up for something that we believe in. 

But instead of learning the real lesson, we allow them to drain us of our energy, take more than what we can provide, and pull us back instead of propelling us forward. 

We do so because our of own perceived guilt, fear of letting go, social norms, family pressures, or our own need to seek approval or be liked by the other. 

The only way to overcome this stranglehold is to first identify such relationships, acknowledge what they are trying to teach us and finally reclaim and assert our true inner power. 

So how do we ensure what relationships are toxic and need to reform or end, and which ones are merely going through a challenging phase and need more time and understanding. 

A good way to start is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have a mutually satisfying relationship?
  • Do I feel undervalued, pressured, threatened, diminished, or exhausted by the demands of this relationship?
  • Do I feel compelled to act in a manner, which does not align with my personal values or choices in life?
  • Do I constantly avoid being around this person?
  • Do I feel I am unable to be myself, with this person?

If you have answered a yes to any of these questions, you need to revaluate this relationship. The next step is to self-reflect and identify the learning, which can range from being more assertive, more forthright, overcoming fear, guilt, past conditionings or prejudices. 

But simply identifying the lesson you are trying to learn is not enough. That would be like learning how to swim from a book. Only by living what you have to learn, can you go past it. Here are three simple ways to deal with such relationships. 

1. Articulate your concerns/feelings – We usually expect people to understand what we are going through. But this is often not enough. Clearly communicate your feelings and concerns. Do so in a polite, firm, and purposeful manner. Don’t allow emotions to overwhelm or distract you from what has to be said. You might initially invite resistance, but persist at it. Eventually the person will either reveal something, which you have not understood or acknowledged, or change his behavior or continue to act the same way. Either behavior will help you plan your next move

2. Establish boundaries – Refuse to give in to practices or patterns, which seek to overwhelm or undermine you. Specify clearly what you can do or cannot do, and stick to it. Protecting your freedom and choices is not only your prerogative but also your responsibility. Don’t be entrapped by your own feelings of inadequacy, guilt, or even kindness to support unhealthy behavior.

3. End the relationship – If the person refuses to acknowledge your concerns, change his old behavior, then the only step might be end the relationship and move on. Resist the urge to keep any form of contact. If required, remove the person from your social media sites or enlist the support of a good friend to help you to avoid falling back into the same rut.

Finally it is your right to pursue a happy, fulfilling and inspired life and every relationship that breaches this fundamental right needs to change.

Share this post on social media

leave a comment