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One of the objectives of living skillfully is healthy interactions with others. If we look closely at our interactions we may discover that the motivations behind our interactions reveal valuable information which can lead to a greater understanding of ourselves and less confusion for those we engage with. By investigating the motivations behind our social interactions we come to recognize how clarity and integrity can be a great boon to enjoying balanced and fulfilling relationships. We also wake up to areas in which we overextend ourselves and form resentments that affect our health.
How do you determine which interactions you give the most time and energy to? Is there authenticity or do you feel as though you’re wearing a mask? These are significant questions to consider. How we parent is going to look much different than our associations with co-workers. Service work is going to have a different formality than our comfortable familiarity with close friends. Ultimately we can ask ourselves, is there consistency in our interactions with others, and is that interaction resting on the foundation of our own personal integrity.
When our introspection is in the service of skillful living, it’s possible to cultivate qualities of being that are universal to how we interact with others. Characteristics like: honesty, kindness, compassion, confidence, patience, and understanding. Here is where we realize harmony within ourselves, and consistency in our interactions with others. Practicing meditation affords an intimate opportunity to meet our minds with these very characteristics, and out of that practice comes the wisdom to share those qualities with others.
It’s an important aspect of self-inquiry to critically look at our influential exchanges and interactions with others. Are we adopting views in pursuit of an agreement? Is there an agenda? All areas of our interactions can be investigated to reveal a greater understanding of ourselves. We can observe ourselves in the familiar mirror of our deep friendships and we can look closely at our simple acquaintances. Networking can be a supportive way of sharing information among individuals with common interests but networking needs time to mature into friendship. If we approach people burdened by our expectations or preconceived notions, we’re meeting our idea of someone and not the actual person. If we don’t employee a greater self-observation to our motivations then we risk misrepresentation and confusion.
We can come to understand our choices for interacting with others by bringing mindfulness to the motivations behind our conduct and behavior.
Everything we do, the choices we make bring about particular outcomes. The implications resulting from the cause and effect of our lives are too vast in their scope and intricacy to fully grasp without supreme awareness. We could drive ourselves crazy if we mistakenly think we can manage all the details. What we can do is recognize that how we interact with others will likely determine the type of response we receive. If we engage people with honesty, kindness, and clarity, we’re likely to be satisfied with the results. Engaging with others from our own self-disinterest leads to confusion and dissatisfaction with our relationships.
We practice being skillful with our interactions and associations and we mindfully look at our motivations to be respectful of ourselves and others because we see clearly how insincerity breads unnecessary suffering.
By Johnathan Woodside
MOI Founder, Executive Director, and Teacher