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No Mr. Perfect
Ted: I do have one last question and it’s of a personal nature, so you may wish to leave it unanswered. It would be of great interest to me though. In your current relationship, do you ever have arguments, either minor, from a simple disagreement to full, severe, full-blown fall-outs?
James: We never argue. We have occasional disagreements which never last more than a few minutes. No fall-outs.
Ted: Do you do things that displease her?
Ted: Does she displease you ever?
Ted: Is it possible to upset each other?
James: No. We upset ourselves. Nobody has the power to upset anyone.
Ted: Is it possible to ever say or do the wrong thing to the dismay of the other?
James: There are no “wrong” things.
Ted: I ask because I’ve become very interested in the human relationship at its deepest level. It seems that many of our problems arise in them because we have many selfish needs and wants – we are dependent on the relationship for our happiness.
James: Sure, it is only likes and dislikes that cause the problems between people. We manage our own likes and dislikes with reference to the self, not with reference to the other person.
Ted: In my friendships I don’t have many needs and wants.
James: That’s good. The best way to ruin a friendship is to put demands on the friend.
Ted: The ones I do have I notice. For example, as I’ve noticed with a friend of mine, it might upset me that despite my trying to text and remain in contact with her, she’s forever too busy to contact me, even just to send a simple text. I realized a while ago that this was upsetting me, and I found its root.
James: If she doesn’t return your calls it is because she does not care for you. I wouldn’t look for another explanation. I would not internalize it.
Ted: I realized that if I hadn’t found its root it may have led to a slight feeling of bitterness on my side and maybe a few unhappy comments to her. I haven’t said that it would turn into an argument, because it wouldn’t. I very, very rarely argue with my friends. But you see, the reason why I asked you the question above is because I worry about being perfect in a friendship.
James: I am starting to see your problem, Ted. You have low self-esteem.
Ted: I feel I cannot be Mr. Perfect.
James: There is no Mr. or Mrs. Perfect.
Ted: Even if one day I do eradicate all my needs and wants, I still may end up upsetting someone by mistake.
James: You are too young to eradicate your needs and wants. You should fulfill them. If you upset someone it is their problem, not yours.
Ted: The problem is just that I still feel there is a Ted doing the thinking and acting.
James: Of course there is. There is nothing wrong with it. There will always be a Ted with needs and wants. Accommodate yourself to him.
Ted: Ramana said that when you know God as the only mover feelings of guilt and pride drop away. For some reason, I’m more inclined to ignore pride, but pay attention to guilt, worrying myself silly when “I” have upset someone.
James: Yes, you tend to be neurotic and obsessive. You need to understand karma yoga.
Ted: Take care of yourself, James, and thanks again.
James: Get my book and read it carefully. It will help. You are very intelligent and quite spiritual, but you think there is something wrong with you. There isn’t. You have picked up some incorrect ideas about yourself. You need to investigate them to see if they are true rather than accepting them without inquiry.
~ Love, James