My Family Quarrels About Trivial Things, Also Because I Constantly Express My Opinions


My question is about disharmony in family. There is something about us in my family that can’t restore peace. From nowhere, concerning a very trivial thing, an argument will start, it’s even more likely when all of us are about to sit together for a meal or any family activity. Many times I have been the cause of it and I have realised that the reason is the unwanted opinion I give. I am always in a speaking mode, rather than listening. It's as if my mouth just opens. We are gradually falling apart.

—Koyal, India


Dear Koyal,

Situations like this are never just one person’s fault. You have your part in it and so do the other family members. Everyone needs to learn something important in it.

But yes, you can start to reform only yourself.

Obviously the situation has been building up for a long time. Now just a tiny, or a “trivial,” thing is enough to make the argument burst into flames once again, restarting all the irritation. It’s like a wound which has never been healed, but instead has been made bigger, putting salt in it all the time.

The solution, on everyone’s part, is love and self-control.

Love, because behind the quarreling there is an inner built-up aggression between all of you, resulting in critical and negative thoughts, feelings, and words. The medicine for it is love. On your part, whenever any negative or critical thought arises in your mind toward your family members, rigorously stop it and only think loving and accepting thoughts. Love is the healer. “Love is a higher principle than being right,” Swami Kriyananda taught. So consciously nourish loving, respectful, harmonious thoughts toward the others. On a subtle level they will receive them. They will respond, in time. And on a concrete level, try to express your love outwardly, in many little ways.

Self-Control means, in your case, to learn not to start expressing your opinions. It seems to act like a poison. Our opinions are, in any case, not all that important. Swami Kriyananda told me, to teach me: “Most people have an opinion about most things, and most of the time they are wrong.” Consciously express only kind words. Otherwise command your mouth to remain shut. Tell yourself: “I am in control of my mouth, not my mouth of me.”

In a silent moment you may also ask this continuous “speaking mode” in you, just as if you were talking to a little child: “What would happen if you couldn’t speak anymore?” Then listen to what that inner child answers. There is a fear behind it. Maybe it is not being heard and noticed anymore, or being left out, or not being loved because of missing attention. Then talk to that inner child: “You will be loved and heard, I promise you. You can relax.”

You see, our personality is like a kingdom, as Yogananda explains, with many inhabitants inside. One of your inhabitants is this “always speaking” child, who needs your attention and education. Otherwise he will just keep talking without control, making your social life miserable.

With divine friendship,