Disclaimer – This dialogue is neither a figment of imagination nor a real one; and the same applies to the characters as well. The character MAnvi is one I see myself in, though at times different. Her thAthA is one who seems much familiar. Much of these dialogues are a trigger and also from a book or a discourse by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Any error in the way I have blogged upon, on any aspect is due to an error in my understanding alone.

MAnvi walked in to see her thAthA. She was just back from outside. Her mind was crowded with thoughts of the way she had reacted, to what someone had said to her.

MAnvi’s thAthA was attuned to her emotions and was aware of her sensitive nature. She had gone thru’ her lot of hardships from the time she was young. Much like anyone else, she was a mixed bag of vulnerability and strength. Her vulnerability lent an innocence to her and the strength she radiated, hid the vulnerability from the outside world. While her strength built her inner growth, her vulnerability came in the way of how she thought of herself. The combination of vulnerability and strength – a precarious one indeed!! One that needed to be handled sensitively and compassionately, to ensure it empowered her to build courage within herself. She may then be well on the way to handle herself and situations she was in, well.

MAnvi: thAthA, I don’t know why I behave this way.

thAthA: What happened?

MAnvi: A friend of mine shared their opinion of what they saw me do, how it would impact the others and how I could have done it.

thAthA: Did anything happen after that?

MAnvi: I told my friend why I did what I did.

thAthA: Is that over and done with? If it is, why is then still on your mind?

MAnvi: Because thAthA, it made me feel that I had done something wrong. I have been going over and over in my mind what I did, but I don’t think I could have done it any differently at that time. So why am I going on and on defending myself and my actions to my friend? Why do I feel that I have done something wrong while at the same time I know that I could not have done it differently? Help me understand myself, thAthA.

thAthA: MAnvi, would you feel this way when anyone shares their opinion? Or is this only with specific people?

MAnvi: From what I have observed of myself and others, generally most people who are just anyone, may not share their opinion because they may not be aware much about what I am doing. Even if they do, I may perhaps just listen to them and if there is a validity in what they say, would modify what I am doing.

On the other hand, I do defend myself if I feel that the tone of the person is one of finding a fault; or if I think that the person is more knowledgeable than me; or if I think the person should have asked me what I was doing rather than suggesting something, without knowing the context.

thAthA: MAnvi, I want you to listen carefully to what I am saying now. If I am asking a few questions during this time, answer them to yourself more than to me.

Your friend just shared their opinion. By defending yourself, what are you trying to do? Proving and justifying to them, that what you did had a valid reason behind it? Or were you actually justifying and proving to yourself, that what you did was the appropriate action in that situation?

As an individual , every human being has the capacity to feel insecure, to be self-conscious and to be self-judgmental. Is your feeling of insecurity about yourself, your self-consciousness and your capacity to be self-judgmental, making you to prove and justify yourself, both to your friend and to yourself? Is this a one-off situation where you have been this way or is this one of the many times you have been this way?

When someone tells you their opinion, remember it is their opinion. Look at what they are saying, by being objective. If you think it is valid, you may choose to modify your actions. If you think it is not valid, give them the freedom to think the way they do.  They are looking at the situation from a different angle and that view is one that may not be available to you, even if you stand in their place. To the extent you give freedom to the others to be what they are, to that extent you are free.

MAnvi, you have no control over what and how others think and do. However, you have control over what you do. Remember to be objective while listening to their opinion.

MAnvi let the words of her thAthA just flow in her mind over and over again, as she stayed seated in the same place. Her one question to herself as always was,  “How am I going to do this?”