Even though we have successfully migrated from an iron to the information age, communication breakdown is at its ever increasing peak. And the repercussions of such a break down manifests in the form of broken relationships.
Although Facebook, Whatsapp and other social media platforms have successfully widened our social network they have left us with an even wider heart to heart network.
Be it husband and wife, brother-sister, mother-father, between friends, cousins and even colleagues, relationships over the years have become so fragile, almost like an egg tied to a yo-yo.
I have left out in-laws deliberately because apparently the dynamics of that relationship hasn’t changed at all since time immemorial. And I pray that it does some day!
Fourteen years of holy matrimony has left me with many highs and lows but I have come to realize this one thing, that, relationships are the elixir of life and are normally work in progress. No relationship is perfect. But without them we are left to live a life pretty much like the animals-eating, sleeping and working with the occasional carnal instincts.
However, modern day relationships are disillusioned by its nearly perfect portrayal in movies, fairy tales and literature, which sort of form the holy trinity upon which we put our illicit faith. But there is a deep chasm between expectation and reality. And it is this miscalculated equation between expectation and reality that has gone on to spoil many an equation not only in my own but also the relationships of my friends and relatives. Barring my ‘till death do us part’ nuptial with my phone, I feel like no other relationship is really everlasting.
Maybe my observations stem from witnessing numerous divorces amidst friends, fall out between parents and children and a certain amount of apathy I notice when things don’t work out between two or more people. But the fact remains that, we don’t necessarily value our interdependence on people anymore and muse with the idea that we can brave it all alone. But can we really?
Last year, I actually did muster up some courage to go on a solo trip somewhere, anywhere. I needed a break from my mothering, wife, blogging…..oh heck, I just wanted to disappear. I think most of us have felt this way at some point, only to come back to our humdrum routine with a renewed sense of belongingness. Anyway, I started to get cold feet just a few weeks before the solo trip to Bangalore, not Bangkok, just a hop skip jump away from Pune, that Bangalore. So I had a friend join me, bless her heart. Honestly speaking, it did give me the much required break I needed, except, that, if I didn’t have my phone, I would have been spared from hourly calls asking me “what I ate, what I did that day, where did I go, mommy where is my this and that and you know how it goes right?”
So such is the nature of wanting to be alone, you can’t until you divorce your phone. But, on a more serious note this trip made me firm in my belief that being dependant and being depended on is actually a beautiful and fulfilling thing in life. And that is what makes every relationship stronger. Yet so many fail, only if we understood the basic premise of any relationship! Most relations are based on the following
Love- This often tends to play see-saw over time. Yet we can repose it back in our lives if we have the other aspects mentioned below, in place.
Understanding- A basic understanding of each other’s needs and wants.
Expectation- Each partner/participant’s expectation to receive and give
Compromise- something we all try to do in our own capacity and level of understanding
Trust- This seems to be the biggest act of breach in any relationship. And the only way to build it is by allowing freedom for each one to grow.
Tolerance- someone once mentioned to me that marriage is an institution of tolerance, but so are many other relationships. If we can’t tolerate the basic character flaws of all humans which according to an excerpt in the Ishopanishad are; a tendency to commit mistakes, cheating propensity, illusion(living under the pretext of just I, me and mine) and imperfect senses which include the mind.
All of these are important but I am partial to tolerance as it made me understand that no one is perfect obviously including me and so when we base our expectation on some utopian ideas, we are bound to become recipients of sorrow, heartache and grief. Not just that, we also become arrogant inflictors of the same. Obviously that does not mean we should overlook major character flaws but it tells us to overlook the minor ones that are inbuilt in all of us and find a way to work around them.
Further insight into these also helped me mend my personal relationships with others and allowed me to see things in new light. Not only did it prevent me from denigrating others but also habituated me to look at positives, because honestly they are four flaws but our strengths can totally outweigh them.
However, knowing is only half the battle won, and to be able to consistently grow in your relationship with others, we need more than just awareness of the above four. This is where a book called ‘Know Your Relationships’ by Shilpi J. Chawla is like a personal chaperone that inspires and guides you on a daily basis through positive intentions and blessings.
When I was recently invited to her book launch, I was of the opinion that I don’t need such self help books on relationships especially when I didn’t need to mend or repair any. But her A to Z approach on the myriad aspects that make a relationship fulfilling was just awe inspiring. Mind you this is not a book you just read once and you are done. This book is almost like taking a vitamin daily orally for your body, except that this one, you take in through your eyes for your mind.
For e.g. when I open it to O, O stands for opportunities. Quoting directly from the book, it reads,
“It is my intention to look at each day spent with you as an opportunity to see life through a brand new lens.”
When I read this, it immediately reminded me that I need to make the most of my time with my little one, because after all they grow so fast. So my automatic reflex was to put away my toy, my phone i.e. and give her my undivided attention even if she was just making imaginary tea at that point. After all nothing is more fulfilling than having an imaginary cup of tea, especially when it is poured by your child isn’t it?
So every page becomes an intentional reminder to add value to your relationship.
And every intent is followed by a blessing, like “I bless you to see each day as an opportunity to explore.” Which means not only are you reposing your consciousness into that very moment of opportunity but also giving out positive vibes to those around you with the beautiful blessings.
I often find myself opening a random page of this book and making an intent from that particular alphabet my relationship goal for the day. By doing so, I have noticed the regular upward drift most interactions leave me with. It is no more about who is right and who does or says what. In fact as the author so beautifully puts, “It is about strengthening ones willingness to see a bigger picture, a new horizon, if you will.”
If we are willing to reckon love back in our lives, we need loving relationships with people, without which life although may be like an ice cream to be enjoyed except that we would be left with only one flavor and one color, quite boring really. To thoroughly experience joy, we need to cherish moments with people who matter to us and where each moment of vulnerability brings us closer and moments of despair makes our relationship stronger.
Are you with me?
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