How to give up craving my partner’s approval

Jun 19, 2023

QUESTION

Dearest Robina,

I am so oozing with anger at the moment, I feel like the worst Buddhist ever!

Thank you for the latest Zoom teachings – and for making me laugh when you talked about “the husband slurping his coffee.”

I am caught up in an angry patch with my partner at the moment and I am trying my best, but I fear this is not enough.

It was good to hear your teaching today and remind me that anger is best caught at the early stage as a feeling of annoyance.

I have been practicing all day. I feel though, I get pent up when I hold it in. I understand though, over time this will shift.

I cannot help but feel that my partner is a far better master at keeping their mouth shut, in fact, would prefer if we never had to have these difficult chats!

And I feel that it is giving them what they want and again, makes their life easier. This only makes me feel more angry.

Please can you give me some guidance on how I can learn that my partner is not getting away with things?

Thank you for hearing me out.

Lots of love,

Y

ANSWER

I understand, dear Y!

This is all so deep, isn’t it? And the karmic connection with your partner, this particular person, runs pretty deep as well.

What to do? You know all the answers, I think. We all do. It’s just that it’s phenomenally hard to change, that’s all.

This is why I always praise hugely the woman called Sunny whom I mention a lot who was wrongly accused of murdering two policemen in Florida and who spent seventeen years on death row, the first few years in isolation.

She is incredible. She talked about how she knew she could not change a single thing, not a thing, but she knew she could change her mind. She worked so hard, gradually disciplining her mind to give up anger, to learn acceptance, to learn kindness and forgiveness. She wasn’t a Buddhist, she had no particular spiritual path, just, it seems to me, the incredible emotional intelligence to know these things.

And why did she think this way and do this? For her own benefit! She didn’t want to go crazy!

And the way she put it was: she knew she had to learn to take responsibility for her own mind. Of course, we all live our lives obsessing about the person / the event / whatever / out there, justifying ourselves and really not believing we can really change our mind.

And, dear Y, when we can do this, we don’t have any thought about the other side “getting away with” anything – in Sunny’s case, that meant getting away with accusing her of murdering two policemen! No, when we really begin to work on our anger, and our intense underlying attachment to be seen and heard and approved of, it’s got nothing to do with the other people.

She’s an amazing example.

So, dear one, as we’ve often discussed: just keep moving, just keep looking at your mind and doing your best to unpack and unravel all the feelings in there and sorting them out.

And, remember, rejoice in what you have achieved!

Love to you,

Robina

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