Are you struggling with a complicated relationship with a friend or a loss of trust?
Perhaps you have become a "double-minded person" or a "person who cannot manage information"?
It is very difficult to "look at yourself objectively," but in light of the truth of Buddha, you will be able to see yourself from a different point of view.
From the teachings of Master Ryuho Okawa, we have selected a prescription to ease the troubles of friendships.
Bright people are drawn to bright people and dark people are drawn to dark people
When you have a "bright heart," you gradually start to feel like you don't fit in with its opposite.
Don't you all have that kind of feeling? When you are feeling gloomy or hateful at someone, don't you feel bad when you see a cheerful person? Can you be friends with someone who is cheerful and smiling when you are feeling gloomy? After all, they don't match, so either they will run away from you or you will pull yourself away from them.
However, bright people do get together. Or even dark people get along with each other quite well. There can be friendship even among people who speak ill of others. There is a friendship where unhappy people comfort each other.
However, a friendship that comforts each other in misfortune collapses when one person gets out of it. The one who is left tries to take back the one who is trying to escape and pull him or her down, but if he or she gets away, the friendship collapses.
After all, we don't want to go in this negative direction. My wish is for friendships between cheerful people, and I hope that your cheerfulness will have the power to turn even the darkest person into a cheerful one.
Develop a habit of seeing the strengths in others as much as you can
Developing a habit of seeing the strengths in others as much as you can will help you improve your relationships and make more friends.
Clearly resolving to make this practice one of your life principles will make it possible to do this more easily than you might expect. The first step is to wish to cultivate this habit. And when you do, it will begin to unfold into reality before you.
I want to repeat again how important it is to strive to recognize other people's good points to improve your relationships. It's important to look for the strengths in each of the people you meet in the course of life and strive to look at this side of them all the time.
We should take caution about one thing, however.
While studying a lot for school can develop your attention to detail, it can also give you a tendency to look out for “trick questions,” causing you to be very perceptive of others' flaws and shortcomings. Put differently, becoming “smarter” can also make you keenly discerning of people's weaknesses, and this can be a dangerous trap in your mind.
Of course, a managerial or leadership position requires that we recognize people's shortcomings and weaknesses. A blind eye turned to the flaws of our subordinates and associates can impede our ability to fulfill our responsibilities. Good leaders will recognize people's shortcomings, but will still want to help them develop and cultivate their strengths.
So, as managers and leaders, we shouldn't remain oblivious to others' faults and weaknesses.
But we need to be mindful that growing smarter can also mean growing keener and scrutinizing about people's weaknesses and negative aspects, leading us to be disliked. This is something we don't usually recognize about ourselves unless someone else notices and tells us.
Many people suffer from this tendency especially in their younger days. The more that our thinking grows precise and in mathematical and scientific ways, the better we get at noticing small mistakes, flaws, and weaknesses in other people. It makes it difficult to develop friendships with people who have this tendency.
If this is a trait that we, ourselves, have, we want to start thinking in this way instead: “I am also sometimes wrong and do make mistakes. And when I do, I feel very blessed when others treat me forgivingly and acceptingly, so other people must feel the same way when they make mistakes.”
The most common reason why people are not trusted is because they are two-faced. They may not intend to be that way, but they approach people and say something seemingly nice, when in reality they are thinking entirely the opposite. When other people see through this trait, they will begin to dislike them.
This kind of situation occurs in relations between the sexes as well. In this world, there are men who are quite shrewd and manage to have relationships with three or four women at the same time, just as there are women who use their looks to have lots of boyfriends. When the truth comes out, they will lose everybody's trust.
However, they themselves are unable to understand why nobody trusts them anymore.
They wonder, “I simply act as my heart leads me. ‘A' is a wonderful person, ‘B' is very nice, ‘C' is in a class of his own. They all have their good points so I am following what my heart tells me. I have a date with ‘A' on Monday, with ‘B' on Tuesday and ‘C' on Wednesday and I don't see anything wrong with that. So why should ‘A' be so upset when I told him about ‘B'? I don't understand why he says that he will never trust me again.”
These kinds of people have probably never asked themselves how they would feel if the positions were reversed. They take it for granted that people should treat them like a beautiful butterfly or a flower, and act in the belief that they are above everybody else.
However, they will certainly find that one day their relationships with others will collapse.
People who cannot manage information are not to be trusted
Another type of person whom others cannot trust is somebody who is incapable of handling confidential information. Anything they are told they pass on immediately because they are unable to control their speech. But they need to know that there are things they should keep to themselves.
If somebody tells you something in strictest confidence and then later discovers that many other people know about it, he will never tell you anything important again. Therefore, in order to win the trust of others, you need to be able to distinguish between what you can talk about to others and what you cannot.
When somebody says to you, “What I am about to say is a secret and I do not want you to mention it to anybody else,” if you do not feel confident in keeping it to yourself, then you should say so. You should say in advance, “I am sorry, but I'm the type of person who cannot keep secrets. If you tell me something, I might not be able to keep it to myself and I may tell others, so if you really want it kept a secret then you shouldn’t tell me.” If he decides to tell you despite this, you can listen to him, since it will do him good to get it off his chest. But still, please try and keep it to yourself afterwards.
If you cannot control your tongue, you should not easily listen to people's worries. If you are confident that you can keep people's secrets to yourself, then by all means, let them talk to you. But you will only add to their worries if they discover later that everybody is familiar with their problems. It is important that people who are unable to keep secrets avoid becoming involved with others' secrets or private issues.
Among those who are unable to keep secrets, there are also people who tend to talk about all of their own personal issues to their acquaintances. These people will not be able to win the trust of others either, so you need to be careful about this point as well.
True friendship or trust does not mean to tell and share everything. As the proverb says, “A hedge between keeps friendship green,” it is important that you show your better side when you associate with your friends. It is not necessarily a good thing to reveal everything. Please keep this in your heart.
“Zanshin” (to leave your heart behind) is important when promises are not kept.
Keeping promises is important in maintaining the trust in relationships. Of course, there are times when you cannot do exactly as you promised, but you should always have the sincere desire to keep your word.
If you cannot keep a promise, you should hold to the intention to make up for it someday. In Japanese we call this zanshin, which literally means to leave one’s mind behind. In other words, you need to retain the will to act even when you fail to do so.
I used to practice kendo, but in kendo, people tend to put everything into a single attack.
However, if you miss that strike, your posture completely falls apart and your opponent can easily strike and win the match. What I am trying to say is that even if you attack with all your might, you need to stay aware.
This means being aware of your next move, or to think ahead. This is what is called zanshin.
If your mind is properly prepared, you will be ready for the next move.
There will be times when you’re not able to follow through on your promises.
However, people can tell whether your promise was just lip service, or whether you really tried your best to make something happen and want to compensate for not being able to follow through.
In the end, you must maintain the commitment to your promise.
From“Coffee Break” by Ryuho Okawa
How to distance yourself from a close friend
Another aspect that is difficult in relationships with other people is how close you allow them to come in to you. If you open the door to your heart, there are people who will come right on in. If you take a step back, they will take a step forward. Back up another step, and they will push forward once more. These people try to come closer and closer. I believe that many people are troubled by these kinds of friends.
Once you start a friendship with such people, they are the sort who will barge into your house and start asking about every single detail of your life. In a word, they are presumptuous, and because of this personality trait they tend to get on the wrong side of others.
For this reason, you should try to avoid an “all or nothing” type of relationship with these kinds of people, the sort where you either accept everything about a person if you are friends, or give them the cold shoulder if you aren’t. Instead, always think about how to keep a healthy distance in the relationship. Even if you become friends, know where to set your boundaries.
Keeping a certain distance will allow you to enjoy a long-lasting relationship. If a proper distance is not maintained, you may start meddling in each other’s lives and the friendship will not last long. So, take care to keep a good distance. If you do not do this correctly and the person gets a little too close, you may become fed up with them and suddenly break off the friendship. In such cases, the other person will not understand why you changed so suddenly, when you had been so friendly before. These sorts of people have a hard time understanding that they have stepped over a line, so keep some distance from the start.
From “Coffee Break” by Ryuho Okawa
Friends Say What Needs to Be Said
We see a good deal of shoplifting among teenage students today. In many cases, it is not the act of an individual, but rather an act of a group.
In addition to the person doing the actual stealing, there are sometimes lookouts, decoys or people pretending to be paying customers. It is easy for a group to pull off this thievery since convenience stores are usually only staffed by a single employee.
In this way, sometimes people form shoplifting gangs and steal together. These are examples of what you call bad friends, and when the group reaches numbers of five, six, seven or eight people, you will probably find it difficult to only sit out during the plans to shoplift. If you try to sit out, the other members of the group would call you stuck-up and make threats to kick you out of the group. There may be times when you end up participating even though you do not wish to.
However, these kinds of friendships are evil. If anything, if you are really their friend, you have a responsibility to create a relationship where you can tell them that they should not do such things. If you do not tell them, they may end up as criminals, or ruin the future that they could have had.
That absolutely must not happen. You must say what needs to be said.
Usually, people seek to create smooth human relationships to gain others' consolation and help, both in the financial sense and concerning their work. People usually seek such things.
But actually, it's important to do the opposite of that and do things on your own, without needing others' help. It's important to do things by yourself as much as possible.
This is called being independent.
It's easier to be friends with someone who strives to be independent, who doesn't rely on others' support, whether financially, work-wise, or at home. When two people of this type come together, they can easily be friends and help each other.
In contrast, a long-term friendship is difficult to develop with someone who requires emotional and financial help and gets many people involved. It's like a relationship between creditor and debtor. When just one side needs help constantly, a true friendship can't flourish.
If you're seeking true friendships with others, don't try to become overly bonded with them. Instead, do the opposite: take care of yourself on your own a little more. Be self-reliant, and be a little more independent. Try not to let others take care of you, and try to take care of yourself. It will make it relatively easy to develop relationships with you.
It's a mistake to think that always needing the help of others means that you have deep relationships and many friends. This isn't truly a friendship. Self-reliant people of a truly independent spirit are those who can really come together respectfully, as equal friends, as in the saying, “Great people meet as water meets water.”