Feb 1, 2012

The Truth About Relationships



It feels good to get back to my blog after a nice, long break. The mind's refreshed and brimming with ideas now. M and I had been to Chennai this past week, visiting with my family - cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. We had a great time bonding with everyone, it was a happy and welcome break from being alone most of the time in Bangalore.


Photo Credit ~ left-hand

The best part of our visit to Chennai, I would say, is the stuff I got to learn about relationships. M and I do not have siblings and hence don't have any family bonding to do on a regular basis. We're pretty much on our own always. My extended family lives in Chennai and the last time I'd spent any time with them was a good half-a-dozen years ago. So as an adult, this was the first time I got to see what relations are like up-close, other than what I'd learned from my parents as a kid.

During my growing-up years, what I witnessed most around my grandma, mom and her siblings in the name of family bonding was mostly, gossip. People were always talking about someone who wasn't there at the time and it was never really anything good. There were too many misunderstandings to even keep count of. So my general opinion of extended family was really quite distorted. Though I never did make it known, I was always skeptical about the meaning of a family, when all everyone ever did was bitch about each other. I grew up not liking those discussions, and tried my best to stay out.

But this time, I really did see a very different side to my family. It think it was more so because my mother and her siblings are now older and have taken a back seat. It's more the generation of my cousins and their children and to a large extent, things are very different today. I ended up thinking that if this is what family is like, I'd love to be a part of it. 

So I'd like to share with you the three most important truths about relationships I learned during this visit.


Truth #1: People are Basically Good

The things we hear on the news and other sources around us have possibly convinced us that the world is a bad place to live in, and that we have to watch out for ourselves. We're always warned of being robbed, duped or assaulted. I'm really not familiar with statistics when I say this, but in reality I think the contrary is true. In reality, most people are actually pretty good.


Photo Credit ~ Katerha

I spent a lot of time observing and understanding the way people talk and behave in the past week. I've also spent time in pitting people against what is being said about them behind their backs. And the truth, I feel, is that people are just plain good. Misunderstood, yes, but most certainly not as bad as they are made out to be. 

What people certainly are, is defensive. The fear of getting hurt has basically robbed us of the ability to trust, and hence we doubt the motives of everyone around us. We also misunderstand the most basic of actions, failing to realize where certain words or behaviour might be coming from. 

So the first truth is this: If you are able to get past the many guards and walls that people have built around themselves as protection, you will find that they are really as sweet and vulnerable as puppies. Yes, most people are really just good.


Truth #2: Affection is to People, as Pollen is to Bees

Deep inside each and every one of us lies a desire for recognition and appreciation. What people want out of relationships is to be understood, for others to be on their side, to see the world from their point of view. In short, everyone is looking for affection.


Photo Credit ~ PSS

An age-old wisdom that I've been hearing about ever since I can remember is that when you live in affluence, people will flock around you. Examples have been quoted from time to time, in order to drive this point. And yet, I don't see this to be true. In fact, the opposite is true. The more affectionate you are, the more people tend to enjoy your company. I'm a great believer of Mithe Bol, roughly translated to sweet or polite words, that are of course, not fake.

I was really quite surprised with all the affection that M and I received from my family. They all had gifts to offer us along with home-cooked delicacies, which was a wonderful gesture and completely unexpected. Far from the monetary value, what we saw was the thought behind the gestures and we were totally bowled over by everything that was done for us. 

And so, the second truth is this: It's nice to be nice, even when you are being truthful, even when you are saying what you have to say. People appreciate being treated with the respect and courtesy that they deserve and this is what it takes to build great relationships.


Truth #3: It's Best to Turn Off the Super-Sensitive Radar

As we all know from our own individual experience, where there are relatives, there is bound to be an abundance of comments, advice and judgement. This is really a universal law of sorts and something that cannot be escaped. In fact, since every one is in the same boat, your relatives might be thinking the same of you. We are all guilty of having made comments on the lives of others at some point of time. There's no denying this.

So, what's to be done? Nothing, really. Acceptance is what makes everything easy. If you learn not to take anything seriously, and take everything in your stride, you will see that judgments and advice are a very small part of life that take up very little time. They are only blown out of proportion in our own minds, when we incessantly dwell upon them. 

Other things that are common when relatives gather are comparisons and complaints . Sometimes people miss out a person or two while offering something by mistake, sometimes people genuinely haven't heard you because they were preoccupied, sometimes people were tired and didn't make that second dish for lunch or could only make you idlis for dinner, sometimes they might have miscalculated and the rice wasn't enough, or they forgot to offer you a bedspread or towel and you had to ask for it, sometimes people select the wrong color or material of clothes they gift you - these are really very, very silly things that I have heard people complain about for years and years. 

So the last, and perhaps the most important truth about relationships is this: You really have to know when something is silly and let it go. You need to look at the larger picture, at how much effort has gone into something and how much people have done for you out of their own capacity. While appreciation goes a long way, nitpicking takes you nowhere.


Photo Credit ~ Arbron

So these are the gems of wisdom I've gathered from the past few days I spent visiting with my relatives. What would you like to add/subtract/confirm/oppose to/from these? Any of these apply to you and your family? Do let me know in the comments below.




Like what your read? Then don't Miss a Post! Subscribe or Follow for free updates.  

27 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a great trip :) And some great observations as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, it was good Smitha, thanks!

      Delete
  2. All the observations seem to be simple but decisive pointers which we already know but conveniently forget when the moment arrives and they will certainly bring about harmony when applied not only to us, our families but also society as a whole.

    Hope your trip was rosy otherwise. Good to have you back.

    Cheers :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it was a wonderful trip, thanks :) Yes, as you said it's all simple stuff that we fail to remember at times.

      Delete
  3. I think it applies to all of us especially the things that happen when relatives gather... I agree to the entire post of yours :) :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is just about treating others the same way you want to be treated.Good to have you back:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, CD. And, thanks it's good to be back.

      Delete
  5. Wooooaaahhh, that was some good analysis. Totally agree to each word :)

    Welcome back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, thank you. Glad you agree Soumya!

      Delete
  6. Oh my god. You just became a zen monk with that one - an abundance of essentially true secrets of bliss in a single visit? Lucky indeed! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, Zen Monk aa? Is it sounding that preachy Sindu?? LOL :D

      Delete
  7. Moo-devi : Could it be possible that people are mirrors and what you saw in them was your own image? Sometimes, one needs to interact with people just to get a sense of your own projections. I went on a similar 'Sadbhavana Yatra' recently too.. and I am still pondering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true, Vikas. This is a new perspective and a valid one. It's definitely possible that what I saw in others was simply an image of myself. Now I want to here more about your 'Yatra' :D

      Delete
  8. So true!!
    People are like mirrors...what you give is what you get, on most days. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a wonderful post to read after my break. You have nailed the 3 points which clearly understood will make way for awesome relationships. Though I can do the first 2, I am still trying to be at peace with the 3rd one. Hopefully someday I will :) Nice one Sumi :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Keirthana! The third is the most difficult of all, I agree. It's only off late, as i'm getting older that I'm learning to let go of many things. I guess it will happen to everybody, when the time is right :)

      Delete
  10. Absolutely true! Welcome back, sumitra, I see you had an awesome break. I especially agree with truth 1- when we believe in the inherent goodness of people, the world somehow doesn't seem that bad a place to live in! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sruthi! Yep, it was pretty awesome. Undoubtedly, it is the need of the times to see the goodness in each other, or else we would end up losing our faith in everything around us.

      Delete
  11. Really loved this best. I usually believe the best in people.. although it gets me in trouble sometimes, most of the time when people know that you are expecting the best or the good out of them, that is what they give.
    Agree with what you said. We all want to be trusted and appreciated in the end.

    Enter boticca.com giveaway, win $100
    ♥ www.thegirlatfirstavenue.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked the post, Chandana. The important thing is to continue to believe the best in people even after you've gotten into trouble. To remember that just because a few are rotten, not all are. :) Yep, people tend to give their best if that's what you expect from them.

      Delete
  12. I can completely relate to this one! I also finished a whirlwind family trip to Kerala in Dec and it is one helluva experience I tell u!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to hear all about it Piya!

      Delete
  13. very well written n i could relate to most parts of it. i value relationships even more since my marriage into a lovely family, until then i would favour nuclear family concept.

    ReplyDelete