Very often we may find ourselves in a position when our actions and behaviour – although they may make sense to us or we have reasons for them that we are not able to share–will come into conflict with the way others around you would like you to act or live your life. This can happen at home, at work, with friends, and even within a community. Psychological or emotional tools such as criticism, sarcasm, withdrawal of approval, threats or even rejection can be used to try and force you to comply with the standards set by others or the community.

Many times we comply with these standards set by society. We fall trap to this because we have a deep attachment to our reputation, which sometimes is so strong that it is often very natural and part of us. We have a strong need to be seen as a nice person, the type that will make us work extra hard just to please those around us within our little spheres of influence. We spend time earning brownie points or doing something insincerely to get praise including deceit or manipulation. We become very upset if something stains our reputation in our little groups, may tear down others in anger or do other negative things that can increase our karmic footprint and suffering. Our moods and emotions change from one end to another depending on how we are spoken to or how others speak about us, and we spend a great deal of time and energy focusing on what this person has said, what we should have said back and what we will say the next time we see them, to put them in their place.

It is very important to know how to deal with these kinds of situations so that we can be free to follow our own path and way of life.

One of the first things that we must do regularly, and that immediately during the silence after our Bhakti Marga Yoga and Meditation techniques daily practice, is to look inside of ourselves to find and have clarity on our goal(s) and purpose. What is it that is driving us to agree to do something or not? Are we doing it because we love doing it from the bottom of our heart, we feel it’s the right thing to do and will help us achieve our life goal? Or are we forcing ourselves to do it in order to please someone else or avoiding to upset someone? Once we have this clarity we can then take action accordingly.

We must also work on developing a strong sense of acceptance of ourselves and an attitude of equilibrium. We must not depend on others’ praises to feel good or others’ criticisms to feel invalidated or worthless. Just because many people disapprove of what we may have done, we should not automatically assume that they are right and we are wrong. Similarly, the opposite also applies. We need to analyze it from different angles, seeing it as a neutral or third party, and, either change our action or stick with our original position depending on the clarity of our aim.

Others’ words don’t change your reality. It is pointless to be emotional up or down when people praise or criticize you. Our moods only swing due to attachment to our reputation, our clinging mind and fixed ideas.

Unless we do something well from the depth of our heart and with Love, and not just doing it well on the surface, be sure that we are just pursuing reputation and acting to just please the society.

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