Let’s face it. While we want to keep our relationships simple and straight forward, they keep getting complex. The more we know, the more we take for granted. The more we take for granted, the more we assume. The more we assume, we make an ass_of_u_me and end up messing things up.

When we are together, we are with each other, closely observing the other person on a regular basis and we build our own understanding of the person’s DNA. But when we move on and are far away, then the other person has to adjust to the new lifestyle, surroundings, habits, etc and make suitable changes in oneself. However, the record in our mind is still stuck at the same place, and we continue to go by what we knew of the person in the past. This is the first source of problem. – Stuck Record

When we are together, we get the benefit of spending a lot of time together, doing things together, eating together, talking, playing sports, etc. Even if both are working, still, during the off-hours and weekends, there is a lot of ‘together-time’. However, when we are away from each other, wish as you may, be it through zoom calls or whatever, its not possible to spend the same amount of time together. So we try and do that by ‘thinking’ about the other person. And this thinking, or churning of thoughts within our mind, leads to all kinds of crazy thoughts. We really don’t have much base for these assumptions, but we do not mind building the ‘castles in the air’. And when we do connect, we either assume that our thoughts were reflection of reality or worst, we make references of the same in our conversation. The result, is argument and misunderstandings, as the other person was not clued on our thoughts (as obviously he/she does not have super natural powers) and worst, he/she has harboured another set of thoughts about us in their mind, which are again, not in sync with ours. This is the second set of problem – Castles in the Air.

When we are together, we not only know the person, but we also know his/her Circle of influence (family, friend circle, etc. ) So we know the people that he/she hangs out with, etc. But when we are far away, we assume that the circle of influence is the same. Nothing can be far from the truth, in reality. As a move to another place invariably leads to meeting new people, working with many others and the circle will go through changes. That will also lead to new paradigms, new line of thought and new relationships. This is the third source of problem – Circle of Influence.

When we look at these problems we realise that the strength of relationship, especially the really strong ones, becomes our weakness. We tend to associate ourselves with the relationship. And we get the ‘self’ in the whole process. We give the bondage with that person far more importance than we give ourselves. We tend to rate our happiness quotient on the strength of this bond. We become dependent, not on the person, but the bond with that person, which is far more worse, because the bond is not even a physical entity, but its the fake solace of support. At one time, this may have been a source of genuine strength for us, but later, it becomes the cause of lot of pain and grief. Just like drugs, which have lot of positives initially, but over time, they start hurting us really badly. 

A Harvard study conducted over a period of 75 years, observing a large group of people during this period, came to the conclusion, that the biggest source of happiness is not money, love, family, but the strength of our relationships. How well are we connected to the people we know. And what that study might not have called it out in clear terms, it’s more important on how we ‘treat’ these strong relationships. The strongest of bonds made with the best of fiber/material, will face stress when pulled really hard and overtime will give into such sustained stress. However, without that stress, can stand all tests of time.

It’s important that our relationships, however strong they might be, blood relations or otherwise, should be an enabler for us in various facets in life. But they can NEVER be bigger than ourselves. We came alone in this world and will go back alone. Even our twin brother or sister is not going to go along with us. So it’s important that we do not let the relationship overpower the ‘self’. Realise your larger purpose in life and never lose focus of that.

Of course, I am not a relationship expert and would be great to hear comments/feedbacks on my views. 

Pic credit: ted ideas

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Hetal Sonpal

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