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Freedom from respect

What should you do if people don’t respect you? Thank them because they have given you freedom. When people respect you, they often take away your freedom.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2011 23:53 IST
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

What should you do if people don’t respect you? Thank them because they have given you freedom. When people respect you, they often take away your freedom. They expect you to smile at them, recognise them, and behave in a certain way with them. You are obliged to return their courtesies because you don’t want to hurt them.

When people don’t respect or love you, you are not obliged to answer their questions and can drop all formalities. You can naturally smile or frown. They will not be hurt. They have set you free. Being unfriendly does not mean being aggressive and inimical. The best secretaries, personal assistants, security personnel, and judges have to be unfriendly.

Emotion is linked with people, objects and events. Catching on to objects, people or relationships hinders freedom. You find freedom when you have a say over your emotion. Wisdom is to put the freedom first and not bother about respect.

It takes a lot of wisdom to be free from the burden of obligation and not be influenced by your friends' opinions and feelings. Give everyone freedom to think whatever they want to think. Then you’ll find you’re so much at ease, at peace with yourself. You don't have to compare yourself with anybody. Recognise that if someone gives a comment, reflect on it. If there is some truth, accept it. If not, then thank them and move on. Don’t ask them why. Just say: “I appreciate your perception” and move on.

True freedom is not an “I don’t care” attitude. It is not stiff. When someone is stiff and arrogant, they are not free. Freedom is an inner lightness with a genuine smile. Then you can say, “I want nothing for myself, I’m complete.” It is when you have accepted the whole creation the way it is, you’ve accepted people the way they are. Freedom is total peace; a peace which is unshakeable. And this sort of peace dawns when there is forgiveness, compassion, naturalness. Love blossoms only in freedom. And when there is love, respect follows you.