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Improving relationships – from ‘analysis’ to ‘acceptance’

Improving relationships- from ‘analysis’ to ‘acceptance’

Relationships are like crystals. You don’t realize how much you value it until it breaks.”

One of the most intriguing phenomenons of this world has been the relationship dynamics. Parents struggle with their rebellious children; lovers find the warmth of their togetherness changing to heated and stressful exchanges, and leaders wish their followers accept them wholeheartedly and not whine and send negative vibes of discontentment.

Observing and hearing Radhanath Swami over the last decade has convinced me about the need to internalize few principles that will help build and preserve relationships.

Don’t try to prove your point

On every small and irrelevant altercation or differences, the ego screams to declare your rightness in all that you think, feel and do. Often we try to prove our point through persistent argument, and if that fails, we resort to whimsical behaviour, sarcasm or outright skirmishes. These small unaddressed bruises eventually suck the juice out of the relationships; the other person feels ‘unloved’ and begins to distance from you.

As a leader if relationships matter to you then let go the propensity of the mind to be ‘right’. Life has more to it than being ‘right’. Radhanath Swami often says that you may be right but if the result is ‘wrong’, then your ‘right’ is ‘wrong’. I once read an interesting passage on relationships, “Relationships-of all kinds-are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.”

Shrug it off- overlook differences and idiosyncrasies

I was particularly irritated by one member of our ashram for his constant bombastic talks and ‘holier than thou’ attitude. I knew deep within that he was a nice person and meant well. However his external mannerisms clouded my intelligence and I couldn’t stand him, often avoiding him and harbouring negative feelings about him. It all changed when I got a feedback from another person about myself; I learnt that many in the ashram were piqued by what they perceived as my habit of ‘flattery’ and sycophancy of others. I was told my appreciation of others was hollow and put off many in the ashram. I was shocked because for so long I had been thinking I am a wonderful person who always likes to encourage and appreciate others. I was humbled and realized our idiosyncrasies may not have many takers.

Just as other people’s natures can be often irritating to us, we should know we too cause pain and agony to others. At such times to accept others on their intent and the inherent ‘goodness’ of their character helps us enjoy the relationship.

From ‘Analysis’ to ‘Acceptance’




There is only one person like you in this whole of creation, and that’s you! Each one of us is unique; also we are ‘existentially alone’ in this world. This means however hard you try there are always limitations to your ability to understand others completely, and others too can’t figure you out wholly. Your deepest, heartfelt emotions can’t be truly understood by the other. Desperate attempts to convince your friends, family or team members about how you deeply feel about something or somebody are ultimately futile. Instead of wanting others to agree with you for everything, you could instead ‘accept’ them for what they are. This would help us make bridges to the other person who’s an ‘island’ of his own.

However, if we cling to the idea ‘I need to completely figure you out’, we’d eventually land up getting frustrated. When we fail to truly understand and be understood by others, instead of building bridges we build stone walls and prevent positive, life enriching experiences with the other person. Instead if we learn to accept people for what they are, we’d be happy knowing that each one of us is unique and special; the self imposed burden of fitting others into our paradigms would be gone and instead we’d enjoy life and the uniqueness it offers as seen through the vision and experiences of others.


Leo Buscaglia

Leo Buscaglia, Dr Love

Leo Buscaglia, a tireless advocate of Love, also popularly known as ‘Dr. Love’ was a prolific motivational speaker, and he often said, A loving relationship is one in which the loved one is free to be himself — to laugh with me, but never at me; to cry with me, but never because of me; to love life, to love himself, to love being loved. Such a relationship is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart.”

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About the Author

About the Author: A senior monk and a leader at the Radhagopinath Ashram, a monastery in Mumbai guided by Radhanath Swami, Vrajabihari Das is a board member of the CSV, a Council that provides spiritual vision to the Ashram. Also a prolific writer, he is a regular contributor to Back To Godhead, an international magazine on spirituality. And on the web, he blogs on krishnayoga.info and radhanath-swami.net Venugopal topped Mumbai University in International Finance during his Masters. He then did his MBA. Though a flourishing career awaited him, he chose to become a monk, so as to dedicate his life for the welfare of society. And sure enough, Venugopal today serves as a lifestyle counselor for hundreds in India. His spiritual wisdom and genuine compassion flows freely, irrespective of whether he is counseling, discoursing or writing. .


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There Are 38 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Jagannath Dham Das says:

    Thank you very much HG VrajBihari Prabhu for such a deep,thoughtful & well written article on preserving relationships. As you mentioned what Radhanath Swami Maharaj says “you may be right but if the result is ‘wrong’, then your ‘right’ is ‘wrong’ “, the concept of “Right beyond Right” is so much applicable to all of us situated in Household life. Though many times its difficult to apply because of my ego but whenever applied it has helped resolve things so smoothly & made relationship stronger !
    Hare Krishna !

  2. deepak bagla says:

    excellent article, What a beautiful piece of writing. Pls keep on writing more to enlighten us

  3. Saurabh Devgun says:

    wonderful article!
    Instead of fitting everyone into my paradigm of perception, I should appreciate the uniqueness of everyone, the inherent goodness.
    Don’t be demanding- keep relationship loose- space for other person. like sand in hand.
    Result of acting right should be right else it is wrong.

  4. navin poojary says:

    This is a beautiful article!Accepting people for what they are and not imposing our values will make them flower and grow

  5. anand says:

    great post…I certainly wish I read this post earlier in my married life…perhaps could have saved lot of personal trouble. Neverthless, better late than never. It is very learning article for me and while I learned elements of the article the hard way, seeing it written here gladdens me as I know these are universal principles necessary for successful relationships. The essence I take from this article is that one should be allowed to be oneself and express oneself. At the end of the day, everyone has a choice to live their own life be it good or bad…however as an outsider we can help support and guide with love. We should hold the sand with an open hand loosely and not expect others to fit into our thought process no matter how right we may be. Thanks for sharing

  6. Aishwarya says:

    Liked the concept -“improving relationships from analysis to acceptance”.
    This article helps me to understand statements like, “Love is never forced but voluntary.” and ‘Seek to understand than to be understood.’

  7. muraligovinda dasa says:

    Thank u Vraja Vihari Prabhu for sharing this exhaustive inputs. we can practically apply these inputs in all situations of life with proper analysis which will further strengthen our personal as well as spiritual relationships.

  8. Arjun K Ramachandra says:

    After reading this beautiful article i was reminded of Radhanath Swami repeatedly emphasizing on being right beyond right and letting go of our egoistic conceptions.

  9. Roshan says:

    The fact that we have to allow others to be themselves for proper relationships is, I feel, very important.

  10. vraja says:

    what a wonderful way of explaining how to improve relstionship

  11. anjan says:

    Very thought provoking article on relationships. Many thanks to Radhanath swami and his student for sharing this…

  12. anand says:

    It is very insightful and enlightening article for married couples

  13. Gopal Lila Das says:

    Thank You for the Profound article. Accepting others for what they are is what i feel is the most imp thing to have nice relationships. My dear friend Dr Yuvraj Bhosale once told me that success in any relationship can be acheived by taking low position in any heated up situation. Also seeing only positive and appreciating others are very IMP tool which helps to have healthy relationships.

  14. surekha says:

    Thank you for suggesting us a good realationship builds by giving freedom to other person to act in their own way instead of trying to make them to act in our way.

  15. sajeev says:

    How true that we always think that we are right !!! Need a change with this attitude. This article just does that. Thank you sir for the explanation thru ur experiences.

  16. Vrushali says:

    Relationship of love is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart.
    So true! Thank you!

  17. Kuldeep Soni says:

    Every line of the article is so fine that makes a great essence to under the complete topic in very practical way.

  18. Mritunjaya Roy says:

    An Excellent article to rectify & improve relationships

  19. Ram Prasad says:

    Dear Prabhuji,

    your articles are so amazing and to the point,very practical.It is really helping me not only in spiritual & personal life but also in materialistic life.I regularly print yr articles & use them for preaching on board the ship to my staff.

    thank you so much.I am always indebted to you for enlightening with these wisdom articles.

    Your humble servant
    Ram Prasad

    • venugopal says:

      thank you for the kind words of encouragement. i feel happy that you accept my services. thanks once again and looking forward to serving you again.

  20. mahesh jadhav says:

    Amazing definition of love and how to have a healthy relationships…
    I hope i follow it in my life

  21. shyama radhika devi dasi says:

    Yes, you made a good point while saying that we should know we too cause pain and agony to others.

  22. Phani says:

    Very nice points, if we can implement all these instructions we can have loving relationships. Thank you very much for sharing.

  23. raju says:

    Exactly what I am looking for these days…needed more of these kind

  24. Nilkanth Kohale says:

    Relationships based on spiritual attitude of serving each other rather than enjoying, always gives solace to the heart, such relation because it is centered around one thing, serving god, will never go through clashes, as the waves emanated from same point in the pond never intersects each other.

  25. Pankaj says:

    Relationships are such birds who once flown never sit back!!!

  26. anand says:

    very nice post, helps to understand the intricacies of married life

  27. Y.Raja Shekar says:

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful insgihts of HH Radhanath Swami on sustaining happy and peaceful relatiosnships.

  28. Mahesh Jadhav says:

    Amazing article , which if applied in day to day life , can give us peace of mind and help is having beautiful relationships

  29. Kuldeep Soni says:

    Very nice and relevant article in today’s scenario as most of the people suffering of broken relationships.

  30. Rajeev says:

    Will try best to implement it in my life.

  31. Anand says:

    When quarrels are common in todays age over slightest provocations & disagreements, such articles are very beneficial for everyone. Instead of creating distant in our existing relations, we can bridge the gaps if we follow the idealogy mentioned in this article.

  32. Rajeev says:

    Thank you very very much Prabhu ji, for sharing such a insights about relations, I myself realized to have this habit of over flattering people though I try to be genuine but people may get irritated.. will work on myself .. hare krishna

  33. riya says:

    So true: Just as other people’s natures can be often irritating to us, we should know we too cause pain and agony to others.

    We always think that it is always the other person doing wrong and we are always correct.

  34. suresh says:

    It is such an important article to read in this world of conflict. Thanks a lot for sharing your realization.

  35. Kalpana Kulkarni says:

    Thank you for the wonderful article specially about the part of being right but finally being wrong.

  36. swathi .k says:

    The article is very enlightening.The analogy of holding sand freely is so heart touching.The uniqueness of each individual is well said.

  37. Nisha Kanwar says:

    Thank you very much, amazing article ,

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