Unconditional Love

“The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.”

― Stephen Kendrick, The Love Dare

 

Relationships good or bad are driven by two strong forces of the universe, love and hate. Well hate is something I never chose and is a subject matter that I will write once I understand the vice, that is what it means to hate. Many a times in our personal relationships, we come across pure, a serene subtle feeling called love. It not only inspires us to make our loved one happy or to meet all of his/her needs, to understand and to give away everything you have. A sense of belonging develops; the thoughts are surrounded with this loved man/woman in your life. When you know what is that one thing that is going to bring a smile on your partner’s face. That one sacrifice that you could make just to know that he/she is safe wherever they are.

As a matter of fact, lasting relationships simply cannot be built upon a partnership in which one or both people are seeking a host organism to provide emotional and psychological nourishment. Lasting relationships require unconditional love. The term “unconditional love” might imply that one does attempt to meet all of the needs of the other, to read their minds, to accept and overlook all of the partner’s behaviors and actions no matter how selfish or demanding.

Sometimes this situation plays out where both partners expect the other to fulfill them and “make” them happy. They are in a perpetual stand-off of neediness and frustration leading to disengagement in the relationship.

So what exactly is unconditional love?

Unconditional love in a relationship begins with oneself. To set the foundation for a lasting, healthy relationship, you must first have a strong sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. This doesn’t mean you never have emotional difficulties or don’t need support and extra attention at times. But you do need to feel generally good about yourself, to like yourself, and to recognize the positive qualities you bring to a relationship. It also means you can stand on your own two feet as an individual without requiring a romantic partner to define you or complete you. You can be together with someone and still remain fully yourself — as a person you like and respect.

If you need to improve your self-esteem or don’t feel confident in yourself as a capable, valuable person, then your relationship will suffer. Your insecurities will have an impact on your partner and on your mutual happiness. The best thing you can do for your relationship is to learn to love yourself. Offering unconditional love to yourself means you are able to view yourself as lovable and worthy — in spite of any perceived flaws or past mistakes. Within the relationship itself, unconditional love is the ability to love the other person as they are in their essence. If you have fallen in love with this person and want to build a lasting relationship with them, then you must view them as a unique individual — not as an extension of yourself.

When you find someone who loves you as you are, and you are able to love them as they are, it is an amazing experience. They may be different from you in many ways. They may view the world differently and have habits that you don’t share, but you can embrace these differences because they are part of this unique person you love. But is love enough to build a lasting relationship? And does unconditional love mean that no matter what your partner does, your feelings don’t change? The answer is “no” to both.

Unconditional love within the context of a good relationship is a dance in which both partners participate. You begin with the essentials of self-love and mutual love and respect. You see and embrace the core of the other, their innate personality and worldview. You acknowledge the influences of their upbringing, life experiences, and ingrained behaviors. But unconditional love within the context of a lasting relationship requires lots of squirm room. As part of self-love, you know your own personal boundaries and the limits of what you find to be acceptable and healthy behaviors and reactions from your beloved.

When both partners are aware of their personal boundaries and are committed to communicating them in loving and non-threatening ways, then the relationship can continue to recalibrate and grow ever stronger over the years. With the ability to communicate openly, negotiate willingly, and compromise and make adjustments, you can build a strong relationship in which unconditional love develops and grows more satisfying over time. For both partners, unconditional love means putting the health of the relationship above all else. This is a conscious decision made by both people, and it requires . . .regular and open communication; active and engaged listening skills; a willingness to calmly express concerns or hurts; a willingness to make behavior adjustments that don’t compromise your boundaries; a willingness to communicate boundaries; the ability to accept and even embrace personality differences that don’t compromise the health of the relationship; a willingness to continue to work on your own self-awareness and self-esteem; complete trust that your partner “has your back” and you have theirs; the ability to forgive and forget, especially when forgiveness is requested for flaws and failures and there’s a real effort to make change; the firm commitment never to withhold love (or sex or money, etc.) to get what you want or need; the desire to express your love with small daily actions and words; the decision to let go of the “small stuff” that might bug you so you can focus on the best aspects of your partner; the willingness to show extra love and have patience with your partner when they go through periods of difficulty, sadness, or disconnection, knowing it’s a short-lived condition; loving the other for the joy of loving, without thought for what you will get in return.

Unconditional love is more intricate and complicated than simply loving your partner “no matter what.” Unconditional love requires stepping back and seeing the bigger picture of your partnership and how to maintain the health of the relationship so that love can continue to thrive and grow. The first step toward loving your partner unconditionally is learning to love yourself unconditionally. It requires understanding and communicating your own boundaries and limits, yet being flexible enough to adapt and compromise when possible. And most of all, it requires a daily mutual commitment to maintaining the health of the relationship and nurturing the bonds of love that brought you together in the first place.

 

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Picture Perfect Soul Mate

So today I chose to write about soul mates. This was because I and a younger colleague were discussing who can be your soul mate? Well I tried convincing her that soul mate doesn’t only mean your better half or your wife or husband. Soul mate is the one who is allied to your soul, since your earlier births too. Someone who believes in reincarnation would definitely agree that souls travel a journey of a lifetime or many lives till they are united at a place that is above worldly things (am not sure if heaven or hell exist).

When my mother (profoundly called her mumma) passed away or rather when her life was nearing an end there was a déjà vu moment. It was like a lot of things from my universe were trying to aware me of something wrong that is going to happen to her. I later realized that the universe was trying to stop my soul mate from parting ways with me; I was just not giving enough attention. That day I realized who my true soul mate was. Though she parted ways with me, in many a ways I feel she is now assigned as my guardian angel who is protecting me in a lot many ways. This experience is still fresh as a dew drop in my mind and I am not sad about it because I realized who my actual soul mate is. This was another reason that insinuated me to write this piece today.  So before I depict my belief I searched, researched and then what I found was believable, if not incredible enough.

Soul mates are those who make you feel better around you, yes, a soul mate would make you believe through certain gestures, emotions or may be even in silence that they have been around not since a day, a month or a year but since eternity. It could be anyone, your mother, your brother, maybe your life partner or even your pet dog. Certain souls travel time and fight the skies to unite with you in any form. A soul mate is someone with whom you feel complete, no matter the world, no matter one or many emotions, you’d feel something binds you with him/her whenever you draw close.

Sometime infatuation or the bond of marriage is mistaken for a soul mate, which eventually you would realize over the years of time you spend together. But then marriage or a relationship shouldn’t be mistaken for a soul mate. Your soul mate is picture perfect but at the same time they make you feel that you two are the last two pieces of a puzzle that fit in each other perfectly. There’s a world of a difference between your soul mate, your heart’s other half and a life partner – a person who lacks the elements to mold perfectly to you. Your soul mate makes you feel entirely whole, healed and intact. A life partner, on the other hand, can be a great supporter and long-time companion, but is limited in his or her capacity to enrich your spirit. But we sometimes prolong what are meant to be temporary relationships and mistakenly settle into them for good. There are relationships which must last for a certain period of time to close out a karmic chapter of life, relationships in which we’re meant to have children with our partner but not necessarily remain with them, and relationships which are just plain confusing because a melting pot of emotions doesn’t allow us to see our predestined path.

So that brings us to a question, how does one recognize his/her soul mate? First of first there is now word, no profound emotion that can truly describe a soul mate. Like I said earlier, your soul mate does have a presence in your past life; they choose to comeback together during the same lifetime and scope each other out in the big world. You might even feel as if the moment in time has already taken place, perhaps a long time ago, perhaps in a different setting. Ever met two people who finish each other’s sentences? Some people call that spending too much time together, but I call it a soul mate connection. You might experience this with your best friend or your mother, but it is the revealing sign of a soul mate when you experience it with your partner. No relationship is perfect, and even soul mate relationships will experience ups and downs. Still, that bond will be much harder to break. Soul mates have an easier time of accepting, even learning to love each other’s imperfections. Your relationship is more likely to be a soul mate match if you both love each other exactly as you each are, accepting both the great and awful tendencies we all have.

A soul mate relationship may be more intense than normal relationships, in both good and sometimes bad ways. The most important thing is that, even during negative episodes, you’re focused on resolving the problem and can see beyond the bad moment. Soul mates often see their relationship as “us against the world.” They feel so linked together that they’re ready and willing to take on any feat of life, so long as they have their soul mate by their side. Soul mate relationships are founded on compromise and unity above all else. You’re mentally inseparable. Soul mates often have a mental connection similar to twins. They might pick up the phone to call each other at the exact same time. Though life may keep you apart at times, your minds will always be in tune if you are soul mates. Regardless of the gender of your partner, he or she should always make you feel secure and protected. This means that if you’re a man, yes, your woman should make you feel protected, too! Your soul mate will make you feel like you have a guardian angel by your side. But when over years you realize that your insecurities and fear of not being loved have been taken for granted, that instant you will know he/she isn’t the one.

Many a times you will find yourself with your soul mate in the stickiest of the situation, where you don’t want to be but something wants you to be there for someone else. In grim situations, you believe you would want to stick around and that person is worth everything and worth fighting for. Whether you’re designed by the universe to be soul mates or two loving people who have settled for each other’s strengths and weaknesses, the decision is yours. The beauty of free will is that you can remain in or change any relationship as you see fit.  As the American writer Richard Bach said, “A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are.”

Embracing Forgiveness

 

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 The other night, I was getting hard-hearted, closed-minded, and fundamentalist about my father and I remembered this expression that you can never hate somebody if you stand in their shoes. I was angry at him because he was holding such a rigid view. 

In that instant I was able to put myself in his shoes and I realized, “I’m just as riled up, and self-righteous and closed-minded about this as he is. We’re in exactly the same place!” 

And I saw that the more I held on to my view, the more polarized we would become, and the more we’d be just mirror images of one another—two people with closed minds and hard hearts who both think they’re right, screaming at each other. It changed for me when I saw it from his side, and I was able to see my own aggression and ridiculousness. I realized that confronting my own father is like a mirror image, if he has been rigid so I have been in all these years. Perhaps it is in the genes!

 

I thought backwards, if it was difficult for me to forgive him for past so many years, vice-versa it must have been difficult for him. The log of all my past problems with him ran in mind like a film reel.  Today all of it means nothing to me and that film reel, I am so going to put in fire today, it needs to be burnt and ashes of it need to whimper in air. The air will then lighten the ash and just dump it somewhere that I will not ever reconcile with those harsh memories again.

 

We create and maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity. Perhaps this explains why we often hold onto our pain far beyond its ability to serve us. We replay past mistakes over and over again in our head, allowing feelings of shame and regret to shape our actions in the present. We cling to frustration and worry about the future, as if the act of fixation somehow gives us power. We hold stress in our minds and bodies, potentially creating serious health issues, and accept that state of tension as the norm.

 

Ajahn Chah’s advice speaks volumes: “If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.”

There will never be a time when life is simple. There will always be time to practice accepting that. Every moment is a chance to let go and feel peaceful. Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance — but if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

 

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.When you’re hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

 

If you’re unforgiving, you might pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life might become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present. You might become depressed or anxious. You might feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you’re at odds with your spiritual beliefs. You might lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others.

 

The big buck question that we have now is to learn how each one of us reach a stage of complete forgiveness. Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:

 

  • Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
  • Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
  • When you’re ready, actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
  • Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

 

As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.

 

If the hurtful event involved someone whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness can lead to reconciliation. This isn’t always the case, however reconciliation might be impossible if the offender has passed away or is no more or is unwilling to communicate with you. In other cases, reconciliation might not be appropriate. Still, forgiveness is possible — even if reconciliation isn’t.

 

If you haven’t reached a state of forgiveness, being near the person who hurt you might be tense and stressful. To handle such situations, remember that you can choose to attend or avoid specific functions and gatherings. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to attend, don’t be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. Do your best to keep an open heart and mind. You might find that the experience helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

 

Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn’t the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more as about how it can change your life — by bringing you peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person continues to wield in your life.

 

 

Sometimes you may feel what if I’m the one who needs forgiveness? The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you’ve done and how those wrongs have affected others. At the same time, avoid judging yourself too harshly. You’re human, and you’ll make mistakes. If you’re truly sorry for something you’ve said or done, consider admitting it to those you’ve harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically ask for forgiveness — without making excuses. Remember, however, you can’t force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.

 

I am learning my lessons on forgiveness while it may take some time but all of us need to realize life is too small to hold a grudge, letting off the grudge and practicing forgiveness is the ideal way to reconcile with universe. 

Blessings to count everyday

One must wonder, why waking up every day is a blessing, this morning my friend’s father didn’t! This morning I was thinking it is so cold, I thought to myself wonder what happened to the beggar I saw last night in the nearby street , I shrugged off the thought and said a thank you prayer to God for at least I see the four seasons in a year. While taking shower today, I could feel the warmth of water, thanks goodness I have a facility to heat water, wondering how many people do not get hot water in winters to bathe. Eating a sumptuous breakfast, I said another thank you prayer to God, I can afford three meals a day and there are millions in the world, especially children who go hungry every day. That is why I don’t waste food too, many don’t get to eat and here we are wasting food for no joy! Driving my scooter, on the way to office, I thank God every time a bus or a reckless taxi didn’t hit me. In the parking lot when I see more than 10 cars I feel happy for those who can afford a car but then my heart reaches out to the cart puller who can’t afford a pair of shoes.

Every time I see faces of people in and around me, I try to read their expressions. Some are happy, some are sad, few are irritated and few are tired. Some are rushing, some one’s blushing, if some are annoyed others are at relief. Today morning when I woke up, I said a silent prayer to God just to thank him for least I can access the basic necessities of life. One fine day the flower in my garden didn’t bloom, just yesterday it had signs of life and today someone plucked and threw it on ground. I was thinking how many days the flower could have survived yet I was positive that the next bud will come to life soon.  While cooking in the kitchen, for the first time in my life I let the sun rays from the window fall on my face so that I could thank the sun for rising every day. On other occasions I was irritated that the rays are hurting my eyes, I was only being dim-witted but today I realize that dark night is receded by sun light, if I let the darkness touch me why should I run away in a shade from sunlight. That reminds me of another reason to count my blessings, I often get hurt when someone ignores me, puts me down, doesn’t appreciate my efforts or hurts the feelings of my near and dear ones, today  I realize that there is no worth of all this in my life then why waste time on negative thoughts about such incidents.

Every day counts for a million of reasons for blessings, just that we are engrossed in petty things that we often overlook the broader horizon. Not one day but everyday that I get to wake up I want to thank God for the beautiful things in my life. The various relationships bestowed to me by my life are all blessings too. For everyday now I wake up without a tantrum coz then I am limiting myself to inferior things. My inner self has a spectacle that wants to see beyond what the day offers me. It wanted to show something else since I was born but today I realize that I was wearing the wrong spectacle all the way.

The agony, the confusion that I carried year on year about my father not looking up to me is all gone because if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be able to come to life. The blessing of life bestowed by my mother, a thank you alone I feel is very very small. I was vague in my conversations all this while because my inner self had not opened up to the realities of the world. My negative thoughts empowered my body all this while and when I am in the transit I know how beautiful it is to have a positive thought at every instance of my life. I am thankful enough for the 15 blessings that are bestowed to every human being. I am appreciative of my sense of hearing, breathing, smelling, eating chewing, walking, thinking, speaking, touch and so equally thankful for seeing, typing, experiencing, laughing, crying, tasting. I am thankful to the universe for giving my soul a body to experience the impeccable life. There is a zeal that I missed for 30 years but I cherish these 30 years of countless blessings in my life.

It’s just not today but every day I have several blessings to count.

 

Good or the Bad Office Politics, you need to be involved somewhere

This one’s the most discussed topics amongst corporate world. Today I was keen on writing this because for last 6 years I have faced the harsh reality called “office politics” yet I have not found the correct ways to deal with it!  My job is one that involves a lot of communication but in this field one has to tread carefully as communications can get perplexed in the simplest conversations that you may have with your bosses or colleagues.

Office politics often referred to gossips, bitching, back biting, gain advantage of someone else’s hard work in the corporate world is an age old terminology. The term has a negative connotation to it but yet I have known people or rather colleagues practicing “Good Office Politics” which helps anyone during a long tenure in his/her job. Well one needs to get involved somewhere if you are looking at a long stay in a job.

From my personal experiences I have hated it a lot but at the same time admired it because often I have practiced it too. But yet I have failed to reason between right and wrong. I have practiced it, tried to avoid it but yet I find it a part of my daily routine. But like it or not, it’s something that anyone needs to understand and master to be sure of his/her own success. For my blog, I picked up some smart strategies from www.mindtools.com . The website illustrates tips and methods for anyone who wants to avoid the bad politics and get involved in the good one. Here is the excerpt:

Why work politics are inevitable:

  • Some people have more power than others, either through hierarchy or some other basis of influence.
  • For many people, gaining promotion is important, and this can create competition between individuals, or misalignment between the team’s objectives and those of individuals within it.
  • Most people care passionately about decisions at work and this encourages political behavior as they seek to get their way.
  • Decisions at work are impacted by both work-related goals and personal factors, so there is further scope for goal conflict.
  • People and teams within organizations often have to compete for limited resources; this can lead to a kind of “tribal conflict” where teams compete to satisfy their needs and objectives, even when this is against the greater good.

Making Politics Work FOR You

To deal effectively with office politics and use it yourself in a positive way, you must first to accept the reality of it. Once you’ve done this, you then need to develop strategies to deal with the political behavior that is going on around you. The best way to do this is to be a good observer and then use the information you gather to build yourself a strong network to operate in. Here are some tips:

Re-Map the Organization Chart

Office Politics often circumvent the formal organization chart. Sit back and watch for a while and then re-map the organization chart in terms of political power.

  • Who are the real influencers?
  • Who has authority but doesn’t exercise it?
  • Who is respected?
  • Who champions or mentors others?
  • Who is “the brains behind the organization”?

Understand the informal network

Once you know who’s who in the organization, you have a good idea of where the power and influence lay. Now you have to understand the social networks.

  • Who gets along with whom?
  • Are there groups or cliques that have formed?
  • Who is involved in interpersonal conflict?
  • Who has the most trouble getting along with others?
  • What is the basis for the interrelationship? Friendship, respect, manipulation?
  • How does the influence flow between the parties?

Build Relationships

Now that you know how the existing relationships work, you need to build your own social network accordingly.

  • Do not be afraid of politically powerful people in the organization. Get to know them.
  • Ensure you have relationships that cross the formal hierarchy in all directions (peers, bosses, executives).
  • Start to build relationships with those who have the informal power.
  • Build your relationships on trust and respect – avoid empty flattery.
  • Be friendly with everyone but don’t align yourself with one group or another.
  • Be a part of multiple networks – this way you can keep your finger on the pulse of the organization.

Listen Carefully

When you spend more time listening, you are less likely to say something that will come back to bite you later. Also, people like people who listen to them.

Make the Most of Your Network

As you build your relationships, you need to learn to use them to stay clear of negative politicking, and also to promote yourself and your team positively. It is up to you to communicate your own and your team’s abilities and successes to the right people, and you do this through positive political action. Use your network to:

  • Gain access to information.
  • Build visibility of your achievements.
  • Improve difficult relationships.
  • Attract opportunities where you can to shine.
  • Seek out ways to make yourself, your team and your boss look good.

Neutralize Negative Play

Your mapping of the informal spheres of influence in the organization will have helped you to identify those people who use others for their own purposes, and not necessarily for the common good. It’s natural to want to distance yourself from these people as much as possible. But what can often be needed is the opposite reaction. The expression, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” applies perfectly to office politics.

  • Get to know these people better and be courteous to them, but always be very careful what you say to them.
  • Understand what motivates these people and what their goals are, and so learn how to avoid or counter the impact of their negative politicking.
  • Be aware that these people typically don’t think much of their talents (that’s why they rely on aggressive politicking to get ahead).

Govern Your Own Behavior

Through observation you’ll learn what works in your organization’s culture and what doesn’t. Watch other people at work and identify successful behaviors that you can model. There are also some general standards to observe that will stop negative politics from spreading.

  • Don’t pass on gossip, questionable judgments, spread rumors – when you hear something, take a day to consider how much credibility it has.
  • Rise above interpersonal conflicts – do not get sucked into arguments.
  • Maintain your integrity at all times – always remain professional, and always remember the organization’s interests.
  • Be positive – avoid whining and complaining.
  • Be confident and assertive but not aggressive.
  • When voicing objections or criticism, make sure you take an organizational perspective not a personal one.
  • Don’t rely on confidentiality – assume things will be disclosed and so decide what you should reveal accordingly.
  • Be a model of integrity to your team, and discourage politics within it.

Key Points

Positive or negative – politics always happens. The philosopher Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” And this hold true today in the workplace: If you don’t participate in the political game, you risk not having a say in what happens and allowing people with less experience, skill or knowledge to influence the decisions being made around you.

Office Politics are a fact of life. Wise politicking will help you get what you want in the world of work without compromising others in the process. Learn to use its power positively while diffusing the efforts of those who abuse it.

The man, the wife and a human

A recent discussion with a friend cajoled me to write this piece on my blog. Indian marriages are much talked about everywhere, even the western countries; off late seems to catch fancy of India weddings. When it comes to Indian marriages, words like big, fat, extravagant, pomp and show come to our mind at once. However, irrespective of the style and size of  the wedding, one thing that remains common in all Hindu marriages is the ‘seven vows’ signified by the sacred ‘saat pheras’ around fire or ‘agni’, which  is one of the most imperative rituals of Indian weddings. With each ‘phera’ or round around fire the couple makes a vow, a commitment with strong mythological roots, which is to be lived forever and more, its only then that a couple is accepted as husband and wife for the next many lives to come.

I am married into a typical Gujarati family that always puts the husband first before the wife or man before the woman, though I must admit my family is a moderate one, that respects men equal to women and at the same time not forego the traditions. The trend in India is changing, in urban and metro cities; the system is no more similar to women staying behind the purdah and following strict rules and regulations at home. Indian women now have a lot of recognition not only back home but overseas as well. The women in India are catching fast attention of the global peers. Indian women are not only capable of nurturing a household and raising kids, they now are working women as well who apart from their daily routine are also venturing out to earn means for living and support the livelihood of their families.

Women here are not restricted to these vows that they take at the wedding; they stand an equal chance in a marriage in modern India. These seven vows are supposed to serve as an anchor to keep the couple going through all the ups and downs of life together, as husband and wife tied to each other in a sacred relationship. Out of the 7 vows, it is the fourth vow that grabs my immediate attention and forces me to comprehend and put in practice in my life. The fourth vow states, “The groom thanks his would-be wife for bringing auspiciousness, happiness, and sacredness in his life. In return, the bride takes an oath to serve and please her husband in every way possible. Together, they also pledge to take care and respect their elders in the family.”

You must ask why, in particular this vow caught my attention! Let’s go through each line specifically, “the groom is thanking his wife that she is the reason for the happiness and auspiciousness that she brings in his life.” But I ask, what about her life, if she is the one who brought happiness and everything auspicious in his life so she in turn deserves the same. To further research this, I asked 20 men whether their wives were happy with them; all 20 nodded giving a confident answer. I put forth the same questions to their wives and I was surprised, a good number of 12 of them said” it’s situational” the other 8 didn’t want to respond out of the fear that this will create tensions between spouses. Anyways, the point that I am trying to bring here is happiness is a right of every human being; every creation of God has the right to be happy. To reciprocate your partner’s deeds one must keep in mind that if you give her a hell lot of happiness, I am sure she will return ample of smiles in your life. Case specific, don’t let someone take you for granted, you can’t be giving only, you need to receive too. The contemporary men too need to devise ways of finding that harmony in their married lives. “To every action, there is an equal or opposite reaction”, Newton once said. So likewise if she keeps you happy in every possible way, today why can’t you give her a day full of happiness! And why just today, one deed of goodness, delivering a smile to her face in her everyday life will bring in a lot of peace to both of you. The perfect couple is one that abides by their own vows and not the ones that the so called Indian society has devised.

Breaking up the rest of the vow, “In return, the bride takes an oath to serve and please her husband in every way possible.” Isn’t it weird to know that this particular line is biased, wouldn’t it be better to rephrase it to, “both the bride and groom need to take an oath to serve and please each other.” I know a lot of Indian men would disagree here because male chauvinism just doesn’t end anywhere, I don’t blame them for having that embedded ego on “I am the man” that is something every parent should rethink about. Teaching the son the fake bigotry is a wrong practice in the Indian society. Our old society has some deep rooted practices which with changing times need to be abolished. Why only women are supposed to wake up early and start their day after bathing, why doesn’t this apply to your son too, likewise during the menstrual cycle why is it considered that women are impure, this is a gift of being human, the most precious blessing to a woman to conceive and give life to a new being, then where does the impurity bit come from? While your son can wear whatever he likes but your daughter in law should only wear clothes that cover her completely. Keeping the house clean is only the woman’s job, no not at all, my partner keeps the house as clean as his mother or I would do. Isn’t it your duty to be clean and keep your surrounding clean? The Indian society is adaptive to change so why is it that we are still teaching our children redundant ways of living, why can’t we out think our ancestors and bring about an equality for men and women in our society. The perfect human being is one that treats his/her partner equal and the one who knows his boundary is the perfect man.

The finish line, “Together, they also pledge to take care and respect their elders in the family” is a bona fide one; I fail to understand why Alice in wonderland was so lost in her thoughts that everything around her was so ingenious. Didn’t get the connect; give me a chance to explain… I asked 10 couples a question, “Would you agree that your better half is not interested in your family? You end up doing everything for his her family but there is no reciprocation?” I was taken aback by the responses, 9 women replied in affirmation, in a positive saying that their partners as in the men have stood by them in supporting and respecting their families. But this was a response only from women!! The men had not responded at all. Surprisingly a lot of women said that as much respect I give to his family he reciprocates, when asked from men, they simply didn’t respond. The remaining one response sighted “6 years to marriage my wife has not given any attention to my family, earlier I used to give but now I don’t care?” Does this mean that the bride’s family is earning enough respect? I don’t want to be biased here as my research shows that men are at odd end, even if their wife is doing every possible thing for his family yet they feel that women are still not doing everything for his family. Grow up Men! Your wife is not at your disposal yet every time she supports you and your family in the toughest of storms in your lives. The nine responses, and I am sure came in from the women of much higher a caliber than yours, they didn’t want to make it obvious by responding in no, they still wanted to assure to the outside world that how much ever my man mistreats me or makes fun of me in front of others, I am still his wife, we are still together. Yes am not biased towards that one response as I have experienced difficult women who are very selfish towards their own self. That also doesn’t make my approach a biased one towards men, I have known two men in my life who are playing a mature role towards their wives and her family, those I won’t name but I hope that someday my country’ s men will earn that respect for their wives, similarly women in my country continue to be the stronger version of human being and not take their men for granted.

“Before being a husband or wife, be human, be a human with a mind, a human with an attitude to live and let live and a human that sets apart a classic example of compassion and humanity”

A HEALTHY STATE OF MIND

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It is interesting to know that in one second a human brain can think of 10 different things and in that one second one can’t control all the thoughts. Similarly physical, mental or emotional discomforts come all of a sudden in our lives then why try to restrict or resist to that discomfort. Anything that we resist is harmful to the flow of energy in our body; let it out either way. If today you are happy, don’t stop and think of any sadness or hardships in your life, enjoy and cherish the happy state of mind. Now you want to cry…cry as much as you want, don’t restrict the flow of tears, your body has a mechanism that stores extreme emotions that can lead to a lot of physical and mental blockage. By blocking our flow of energy we are creating a reservoir inside us that accumulates as stress and frustration. This will only hamper our future and create problems to our physical and mental well being.

The impasse

If today while leaving for office, your partner said something that wasn’t to your liking, when he returns home tell him how you felt, discuss it and get moving from the topic. This will help you get a better perspective of the irking behavior your partner had this morning. Also by discussing it the same day, you have let the negative thoughts go and diverted your mind to concentrate on positive side.

Quoting same example that I used above, your partner was upset with you for something and it showed in his behavior while he was leaving for office today. You noticed but you did not discuss it with him that day. The very thought was stored somewhere in the sub conscious mind. Days go by and then one fine day your partner repeats the behavior, he comes home at night and you burst out in anger, throwing words that you didn’t mean to use and end up upsetting your harmony with him. On the parallel side you kept the thought somewhere in the sub conscious mind, repetitively asked yourself why he behaved this way, what could be the reason etc. etc.  this has in turn accumulated in your sub conscious mind culminating into a negative thought, if you’d notice from first day up till the day you had a tiff with your partner, you would feel grumpy, petulant, snappish and the day he repeated it all of it came out at the same time affecting you and your partner’s mood and peace in your lives. The same example with different connotation applies to other relationships as well, parents with kids, between friends, between colleagues, between boss and junior colleague, so on and so forth.

We have seen a growing pattern of fights between couples, between parents and their kids, a sort of a disagreement between friends’ results in lot of negativity around. I go back to my previous posts and reminiscence of a lot many problems in our lives is because of the negative thoughts that we carry and observe around us. Like we say, you either see a glass half empty or half full, there are two sides to the coin, depends how you want to see the glass and which side of the coin is better will lead you to a balanced life. A healthy person doesn’t only come from only exercise and good food habits, one needs to keep mental health also in check, engage in mediation, breathing exercises and positive thinking all form a healthy human being!

The solution

Keep your brain free from negative thoughts, sort the clutter. Whenever I have negative thoughts surrounding me, I practice this unique exercise, courtesy – my better half, he is the inspiration. I sit with a paper and pen in a secluded spot of my home, I draw to columns on the paper, on the left hand side I jot down the problems or negative thoughts in my life and keep the right hand side column blank. I pick up problem/negative thought number one, close my eye and think of the entire series of occurrences that led to this problem and then I follow a breathing exercise of 5 minutes to free the clutter in my mind (fresh supply of oxygen to brain helps concentrate better) I ask myself what is the positive side of this problem and how can I solve this? My mind starts to slowly give me answers and at times my mind gives me two –three solutions. After this I open my eyes  and jot down the points on the right hand column, I strike out the ones that I feel will not fetch me good results and underline the one that my mind says is perfect to go with…I repeat this for problem number 2. A large number of negativity in my life has been solved via this exercise and I can vouch by this since a friend too tried her hands at this exercise and it fetched her some clarity.

The Outcome

If the problem is in you so is the solution with you just that you need to closely observe the positivity of the whole dilemma Faith in you will lead you to peace and tranquility, practicing positive thinking is not rocket science, all that you need to do is look within for the answers and concentrate on positive side of everything, the world will be a better place to live in..