Relationship is perhaps the most important area for learning and self-development. But much of our emotional energy is sapped by destructive interactions, which we should try to avoid and eventually eliminate. If you carry out your duties to others selflessly and lovingly, you fulfill your responsibilities and simplify life, which eliminates distractions to your meditation. Try applying the following principles. If you make mistakes or fail to live up to your ideals, don’t give up; reaffirm your commitment and don’t condemn yourself for your shortcomings.
1. Accept your role in relationship to those with whom you live. Ask yourself what your duties are and whether you are meeting your responsibilities sincerely.
2. Notice which aspects of your commitment are hardest for you to keep and why they are difficult.
3. Challenge yourself to learn to live for the well-being of others—your family, your community, or humanity as a whole. Do not let yourself retreat into egotism, expecting others to fulfill your needs and desires. Become more aware of how much you expect from others, and rather than justify your expectations, be honest with yourself about how much they create anger and resentment in your relationships.
4. Sit down with your family or partner and discuss how and when your communication breaks down.
5. Acknowledge to yourself, “I am selfish and self-involved. I resolve to be more selfless and aware of others’ needs.” Take concrete steps to pay attention to others’ feelings or needs.
6. Do not allow destructive or negative relationships with others to continue. Analyze your own destructive and negative tendencies in these relationships, rather than analyzing others’ failings. Ask yourself how you can begin to control your negative tendencies and create constructive and nurturing relationships with others.
7. Meditate with those with whom you live. Learn to appreciate their good qualities.