Tuesday, 21 January 2020

What you do in a Relationship - Dominate or Connect?

Why people always trying to change others? Many relationships that start with admiring and falling in love with many traits of the other eventually proceed to one or both partners trying to force change the other. Sometimes it is only about the things that also affect you like, household decisions, sharing of workload, money management, etc. but many other times we see one person desperately trying to control every small choice the partner makes.
First question here is, “If you do not like most things about them, why are you even in a relationship? Are you sure you are with the right person? Are you sure you are not trying to convert your present partner into the idea of a partner that you had been cherishing in your mind?”
And the bigger question is, “Forget about your partner, even are you happy in this relationship where you are always pointing out mistakes of your partner, demeaning them, leaving them in a bad mood or ending up in bitter fights?”
What do we look for in a relationship? As I understand relationships are a choice and not compulsion. So we choose to get into a relationship because we believe that it makes us happy. However, when we start to get too demanding in the relationship and try to push our ways and decisions in everything, it is we who also end up blaming the partner for all the unhappiness.
I believe we all need to adopt a simple principle of “living a happy life”. And we need to develop a habit of reminding ourselves repeatedly of this principle. If we shift our focus from ‘changing’ and ‘improving’ our partner to ‘living a happy life’, we would be able to let go of our compulsions and let our partner live the way they wish to. I believe only two people who are happy with themselves can be happy with their partners.
It is not very difficult either. If you believe the behavior or habits of your partner are too disturbing or destructive for your peace and happiness then do mention it to them, but instead of forcing them to change give them a choice. People often respond more positively to choices. While forcing often makes people defensive and rebel. This is even applicable to our children.
Many parents keep on cribbing after their grown up children or daughters in law, but their entire efforts are into wanting to change the newer generation to think and behave according to the parents. Hardly are they willing to let the children know that, “you are now grown up and can take care of yourself. Since, we do not see eye to eye on many aspects of life instead of making it a mess let us live in separate spaces”. No Sir. Parents won’t do that but keep pushing the others to change to suit their comfort.
Happiness is a choice. Relationships are a choice, to fight or not is a choice. It is smart to choose happiness and harmony with some differences than to choose to make everyone’s life miserable in continuous attempts to trying to change the others.

Friday, 17 January 2020

What is Love that is Without Respect?

How does one describe love? I read this somewhere. “Love is a variety of feelings, emotions, and attitude… The basic meaning of  love is to feel more than liking towards someone”.

Now to like someone we need to admire something about them and that means we respect something about them. I do not think we can truly like someone whom we do not respect. When like changes to love, others feelings may be added to it- admiration, attraction, sexual attraction, etc, but the basic requirement has to be respect.

In the absence of respect, that which we describe as love, can be merely physical attraction. 

However, most of the time when we believe we are falling in love, we are merely attracted towards a few things about that person. Sometimes the attraction is simply a result of constant association. Especially these days because of the multiple social interaction platforms we tend to be connected with some people almost the entire day extending into late nights. The interaction may start with office work or exchange of class notes, but eventually turns to more personal note sharing. Sharing of intimate details, pains, losses and challenges prompts reciprocation in the form of admiration, empathizing and extension of support - which we are all craving for - the feeling is overwhelming and overpowering. The heart craves to be with that person more and more. And we end up calling it love- most of the time without even knowing the person well. 

And just like that we decide that we want to be together. The person seems to be our dream come true. And all this while we are blissfully unaware that while we have been dreaming of our prince charming or lady love, we have hardly paid any attention to who we are and what we really need. Hardly anyone ever talks of the basic human need to be respected and the fact that it is very difficult to be in the company of a person whom we can not respect. 

Can there really be love in the absence of respect? I think today when most people are fleeting from one failed relationship to another, it is high time that we give a thought to this.

What kind of person I want to be with and how do I wish to be treated? That is basic I believe. Forget about respecting the other person, just think you would be really happy if the other person is highly attracted to your body, likes to do the small little romantic things when they are in a good mood but do not even as much flinch before showering you with insults the moment something goes wrong? How does the scene sound to you? It is your question, not mine.

Think of it. A beautiful face, attractive body, fat bank balance, flattering words, gifts and flowers may sound attractive, but do you really believe there can be true love in the absence of mutual respect. 

# Do wait to see if the person respects you and to confirm that you respect them before making a commitment.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

TIME is the Key Factor in all Types of Love Relationships

Many young adults and youngsters meeting me for counseling for various reasons make a sad statement, “No one loves me”. Initially I would be surprised as I believe all parents and partners love their children and partners unless proved otherwise. Then why does an entire generation is  living in a feeling of deprival of love?

Then I started discussing this with parents without quoting their children, and things started to unfold. Almost all parents said, “We give them everything, we have never said no for anything, even if it is difficult we ensure that we make it possible for them” or something similar. And interestingly when I asked them how much time do you spend exclusively with your child everyday or on a weekly basis, most of them did not have any clear answer and the conversation would end with their mumbling something like, “Everything is for them, we have to work so hard, I take care of the household, I ensure he gets to eat on time, I take care of his clothes and everything, I, I, I…”

Similar responses I have also been getting from spouses.

Today I ask one simple question to you, “remember the day you fell in love or got married or simply fancied a particular person? Did you not feel like spending a lot of time with them or even the entire day? In fact even after seeing them for long hours, did you not try to connect on the phone late into the night? And what would have happened if you had not given enough time or paid exclusive attention to your love interest?” Well I am sure you had a lot to do even back then, but you put everything on hold- studies, sometimes college or even work, it did not bother you that you were lagging behind at studies or avoiding spending time with your parents.

If you can relate with the above questions then perhaps I do not have to explain that when you love someone you do feel like spending a lot of time with them. I am not saying all the time but certainly a lot of time. And having accepted that, is it so difficult to understand that buying things or earning a livelihood or providing expensive education or one yearly vacation is not enough to let the other person know that you love them? 

Love is not spelled as L.O.V.E it is spelled as T.I.M.E

When someone takes efforts to spend time for you then you can perceive that this person is genuinely interested in you and loves you and wants to be with you. If not then it is natural to start doubting your love.

Many parents especially fathers complain about their grown up children that “They are only interested in my money and not me”. Well have you ensured that you have conveyed it to them that it is my responsibility to provide a good life to you so I spend money, but I am genuinely interested in you and so I want to spend time with you. That it does not matter how busy I am, I will always go out of way to ensure that I spend time with you and I love our time together.”

To be felt loved, Love needs to be expressed. Spending money or going out to work and saying that you are doing it for the family, does not automatically convey that you love them. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Understand The Role of ‘OTHERS’ in a Marriage Or Relationship

Guess what? Everyone other than you two is the ‘other’ in a relationship. You heard me right. When I say everyone, I mean everyone- your parents, relatives, close friends and even your children- all of them are the ‘others’.
A family may be about so many people but Marriage is about the couple. Interestingly the Indian understanding of Marriage is –Now your life is over, you have to start living for everyone else. And once the kids were born it is almost considered to be a sin to even think of having some good alone time with your spouse.
Result? Many, in fact the majority of couples lose intimacy and connect even before it is completely formed. And once you have had children- the whole concept of coupledom goes for a toss!
Does it have to be this way? Why are we not able to see the simplest fact that if we are not able to be a great couple that is happy to be together, everything else becomes drudgery. Even the children, for whom you believe that you are sacrificing your intimacy, start feeling the pinch of the loveless marriage.
To make things worse, we have started bringing our best friends who may be of either sexes, into the relationship. Young girls believe that being modern they are entitled to keep close friendships with boys other than their partner. Often quoting the trump card of being modern, they reject any concern expressed by the parents or friends and absolutely attack any display of envy or uneasiness by their partner. Often the deepest secrets shared with the partner are also shared with these special friends and any picture clicked to share with the partner simultaneously finds a way to the friend’s whatsapp. There are many complications of such triangles that can be seen everywhere.
The sanctity of an intimate relationship has to be rebuilt. We need to realize that the strength of any family is supported on the strong pillar that both the partners make together. Some of the others are important, yet not more important than the couple. If we can be strong, happy and contented as a couple only then is it possible to extend the love, care and support to the others.
To maintain the sanctity and serenity of the relationship is the responsibility of both the partners. If we cannot overcome our temptations to over indulge our friends, children and parents, there is no way the relationship can be nourished.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Stay Away from Heartache - Read How!!!

Read this quote somewhere “FOR SALE- One heart, horrible condition, will take anything for it, Just cut it out of my chest and end this suffering” Many of us have experienced it, almost always after relationships that we cherish have gone sore- Relationships with our lovers, life partners, children and friends. It hurts I know, but does the heart have to suffer so much?
What is it with us and the relationships? We give birth to children but forget that they would grow up to be individuals with their own opinions and choices. We get attracted to someone and expect they should be all that we expect of them. We make friends and want them to like all that we like. Do we ever realize that by doing so we practically expect that “I and only I know the best and should be able to dictate all terms in every relationship?”

Post image
Dr. Sapna Sharma Speaks About Stay Away from Heartache
I know many cases of domestic violence and abuse. Interestingly, the heart doesn’t ache in those cases. What the victim is looking for is a relief in the relationship. The heart aches when we are in non-abusive relationships but things are not going the way we want or expect.
There are three ways of looking at it:
  1. We need to look within and ask if we are being fair by expecting so much in a relationship. If this is the case then we are responsible for our heartache, not them. This is applicable even in a parent child relationship. The parent needs to know that their role is to nurture and protect the child till they are not adults. Also that by the time children finish education and are responsible they are adults and individuals and they have equal rights to make decisions on their life including where they live, whom they choose as partners and what kind of lifestyle they would like to live. Many parents overstep their roles as parents and believe that they can dictate their terms on the life of their children just because they have borne them, leading to a lifetime of heartache for both the parents and their children.
  2. If our partners, children, lovers or friends are being unreasonable over and over and not ready to understand what is hurting us, we have the right to make our choices. Believing that we do not have a choice and continuing to blame the others, again we are the ones responsible for our heat aches.
  3. We need to accept that relationships are fallible. Simply because there are two or more people involved, all with different personalities, purpose and mental and emotional make up. When we put the conditions that our relationships SHOULD work even when we see so many relationships falling apart, we are inviting heartache of our own making.
Time heals everything, provided we choose to heal and not to keep our pain ruminating.
Are you hurting? Analyze yourself and feel free to share with me in the comment box below. If you wish to discuss something that is personal to you, let us know and we can connect.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

How to Live a Happy Life - Take Responsibility of your Own Happiness

One of the phrases that is heard around frequently is “I don’t know”.  Reference? Every time you ask someone, “ What do you think is the problem?” or “Where did you go wrong?” or “How can you fix the problem?” 

Of course the ‘I don’t know’ is mostly preceded by “He/She/ They are responsible and should change to make my life better”

Sounds familiar? If you are sure you do not fall in this category then either you are lying big time to yourself or you have evolved. Which one is you?

Let me explain a little further. 35 years old Radha comes to me to share how she is unhappy because of certain behavior of her mother in law. When I ask her what has she done till now to ensure her own happiness she says, “What can I do? My mother in law is not reasonable and my husband does not want to speak with her on this topic.” I probe her further, “What do you really want in this situation?” and again the answer goes, “I want my mother in law to change.” “What if she doesn’t want to change? What do you want then?” “Then I don’t know, I guess my life will always be this messy” She replies in despair. 

Manu is similar. According to him his boss is making his life miserable. What does he want? He wants his boss to change or to have a new boss! What if neither is to happen? “I don’t know, what can I do?”

Now you see? We are all looking for a happy, trouble free, great life but almost always we want someone else to take the responsibility. We can blame and complain as long as we can show the other person to be the culprit. But the moment the fingers are pointed to us, we turn our back and shrug our shoulders saying, “I don’t know, what can I do.”

Why do we do that? Now responsibility brings the need to take action, which puts me out of my comfort zone. It is a whole lot of hard work and going out of way to assume responsibility and to work towards changing my surroundings and myself. We want to avoid that as much as possible. As students we study only when the exams are very-very close. As grown ups, we pay our bills almost on the deadlines. You see the pattern? We do not want to take any action unless it is life or death situation. 

However, if you are willing to take the responsibility and the first step even once you will realize there is not just happiness, but exhilaration in every small action taken on our will with the determination to get a better life for ourselves. And trust me, it is not that difficult. It is just a matter of accepting and taking the first step. 

Do share your journey and challenges with me in the comment box below. If you wish to discuss something that is personal to you, let us know and we can connect.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

How to Communicate Better with your Partner!!

Do you filter thoughts and words before speaking to your partner?

Relationships have many dimensions. The most important being the fact that two different persons have come together with some intentions. In personal relationships it is mostly love or attraction that brings people together. 

Attraction doesn’t essentially mean compatibility. We might like something about the other person. Some get attracted to the physical appearance; some to the personality while some others are attracted to the talents. That is more or less how it starts. Our attractions bring us together. We meet, we share our best and we meet more. Both put their best foot forward because we want to please the other person into believing that we are the best ones for them too. 

During this period if we do not like anything we keep patience and either shrug it off as a small thing or politely try to convey our feelings. Interestingly the other person is more than willing to tender an apology. We are ready to take late night calls and willing too much out of way to fulfill the other person’s smallest wish. We do not feel tired, or sleepy and neither are we hesitant on spending time or money to ensure they are happy.  And this is all good but the trouble starts when we start walking on egg- shells around the most important person in our life.

We start it as a loving gesture to ensure that we do not upset our love interest. And so we use our words carefully. This may be okay for a short-term relationship but for something that you wish to be taken to the next level this can be a warning sign. If you have been only using the words that would make them feel good out of fear of upsetting them, then you have set a dangerous trend. 

To understand if you are in a compatible relationship that is fair to both of you one of the checkpoints is to ask yourself, “Are we both able to express our thoughts and feelings without the fear of upsetting or losing each other and have a healthy feeling about this sharing?” If at any point of time the answer to this question is ‘No’ then take that as a warning and know that it is time to discuss your or your partners fears.

If they are not open then getting into couple counseling with a third, non judgmental person would be the next best step. 

And if you feel you are constantly in fear of hurting or losing your partner and that you choose every word and action carefully around them, and they are not ready or discuss or opt for counseling then know that you are living on the thin line. Sooner or later you would break down. 

People do not change just because you wish them to change. Recognize that this is a problem area and take the essential step and share with me in the comment box below. If you wish to discuss something that is personal to you, do let us know and we can connect.