Devotee Relationships: Respecting Devotees

                                                                  Q. I live in a devotee community and often feel that I don't know how to associate with others. I love them and try to serve them but all too often I just don't feel emotionally safe in their association. I don't feel free to be open in case they hurt me and thus I am wasting my life constantly holding back (defending like a kicked dog). I am desperate for some clarification on this point.

                                                                  Q. From the beginning on, I have been completely unable to fit in with the devotees. The major issue seems to be my lack of faith or confidence in the process, and the devotees do not seem to tolerate that. For the most part at the nama-hatta, nobody speaks to me at all, and if they do, it is usually in a patronizing, condescending tone. Unless I initiate a conversation, barely anyone ever talks to me. I therefore feel like I am merely an impostor and that they would rather see I wouldn't be there at all.

                                                                  Q. I have a concern about my attitude with my family these days. I have been arguing about almost everything and it is really  hard for me to control. Half the problem is solved because I realized that the reason I can even talk back to them is because I don't have respect for them in my heart. The other half is I don't know how to develop the respect again for them.

                                                                  What should I do?

                                                                  Q. My relationship with my mother has considerably improved. Even though we do not fight as much, we still argue quite a lot and we do sometimes fight, but for the time being it's quite peaceful. How can I improve my relationship with my mother?

                                                                  In addition to what you are already doing, which are major steps forward, here are some additional recommendations.

                                                                  Q. I'm interested to know what if by nature or past impressions I'm a loner,  always avoiding people/devotees, less expressive or completely seeming introvert, how can I overcome this nature because a part of me wants to be spontaneous or break open but other part holds me back? I fear that due to  exhibiting such nature I may be failing to establish good association/relation as I feel loosely connected to others!

                                                                  I have two very simple recommendations for you.

                                                                  One is to find JUST ONE PERSON with whom you can openly express yourself, and invest in that relationship.