We all know what it's like to find ourselves unhappy and in conflict with someone who just isn't giving us what we want or need from him or her. Whenever this happens we usually find fault with these people, judge them as being inadequate, and from these findings blame them for the negativity we now feel toward them. But how many of us are awake enough to offer these same people what we have asked them to give us -- before we ask them for it?
Even to attempt the following practice will reveal more to you about yourself than reading a thousand books on spiritual realization. To begin with, we usually demand from others those interior qualities that we are in short supply of ourselves. For instance, it is impatience that leaps to judge impatience. Unkindness finds others unkind -- and tells them so in no uncertain terms. Arrogance despises pride and makes sure that the proud know they are dreaming of unreal heights. On and on churns this cycle of disharmony until we go to work on ourselves, implementing the kind of true self-transforming principles that follow.
Whatever it may be that we find wanting in someone else, we must learn what it means to give that very thing to him or her. What we would have from others, or have them be towards us, we must provide or be ourselves. When we know we tend to be critical of others because they don't show us the respect we would have, we must show these same people the respect we want. If we wish for kindness, let it begin with our own. Otherwise all we give each other are unconscious demands followed by judgment and disappointment.
Real spiritual growth -- true self-transformation -- depends upon what we are willing to give, and not upon what we feel we are owed.