It is funny and amusing as to how sometimes smallest of observations or thoughts bring you into terms with the harsh realities of life. Something similar happened to me as well over the weekend. I learnt two valuable life lessons (so to say) which otherwise I would have never ever really thought upon.
The first thing that I learnt was –
“Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but a reflection of yours.” – Dwayne Johnson
It is a very simple thing taught to me by my mother since the time I was a kid. But did I listen? Of course not! I always thought why do I treat other people well or respect someone who doesn’t treat me well or my loved ones. I (until now) always believed in the concept of ‘Tit for Tat.’ You’re good me, I’ll be good to you; if you’re bad, I’ll be worse. There are many people in life who I despise a lot and hence do not respect them. Everyone at some point in our lives come across people who just don’t deserve our goodness and so we turn bitter towards them. I am amongst that ‘EVERYONE.’
However, the moment that I read this line it hit me as an epiphany. I felt sick from within for the times I held such bitterness within me for others; out of which I gained nothing but negativity. That is when I made a constant decision within me to respect everyone and let go of the bitterness. Now I know this cannot happen overnight and I would be needing a lot of practice to do so but that’s fine, at least I am trying. I would make a constant effort to respect everyone not because they deserve it because my mother taught me to do so.
Coming to the second point –
People (including me) of my generation and the generation coming forth, we just don’t value our relationships.
Here I would like to share two small instances that I came across which lead to the above statement (and a few instances of my own).
The first instance happened at a relative’s wedding, one of my cousin’s wife was talking to a lady who also happened to be my another cousin’s wife, one of my nephews goes to his mother and asks her to come along to him and says that she should stop talking to strangers. I was astonished to hear what he said. My nephew didn’t even know that the other lady wasn’t a stranger rather she was his own aunt. I was amused at his ignorance and somewhat angry at his mother for not even making any effort to get his kid acquainted to his own relatives.
The second instance happened last Sunday, which actually got me thinking about all of these things. My cousin brother had come over to our place to visit us and within twenty minutes he wanted to leave, we asked him to stay for a while. Even his reply astonished me. He said he had to go as his son was at Dominos (right across the street to my house) waiting for him with the pizza. My nephew was okay with waiting at the restaurant for half an hour rather than just crossing the street and coming over to his relatives house. On hearing that all my father said was, “Kids these days!” For the first time, I agreed with him.
I couldn’t blame them entirely, in certain ways even I tend to do the same thing. I just don’t want to visit any of my relative’s places. Whenever my mother asks me to go any relatives house my answer is always a big NO! Eventually, I am always forced to go and end up enjoying myself.
Very recently my mother’s second cousin was in town for a holiday he especially called my mother and took the effort of meeting us all and having dinner together. I have always been amazed by the kind of relationship that my mother shares with her loved ones, be it her own siblings, her cousins or her far-off relatives. I have always seen her and her loved ones shower each other with immense love and joy. Now, my mother hadn’t even been in touch with her cousin maybe for a year when they last met a cousin’s wedding, yet there was no awkwardness amongst them. All I could see was so much love.
Being highly amused I asked my mother, “How is it that you guys don’t speak to each other apart from meeting at weddings and family functions and yet it just doesn’t seem like you guys ever lost touch? He being your second cousin made so much effort towards you, here we don’t even know who our second cousins are.”
I was mentally prepared to be shocked by her reply. She said,”First thing first, earlier during our day’s people made efforts towards their loved ones, they kept in touch, they cared and talked to each other, unlike your generation where all of you are always so consumed by your own lives to care or to talk to anyone else. There are times when you don’t even talk to your parents or your own siblings forget about cousins or relatives. And the second thing is something that I learnt over a period of time.”
I asked her what that was?
She said,”during older days if a relationship went bitter or sour they would work upon it to bring the sweetness back rather than just discard the relationship altogether. We loved people and used things, you people love things and use people. We lived in a time period where all that mattered was meaningful relationships, you live in a time period where all that matters is your relationship with material things. It is very easy to break something but it takes a lot of patience to build something”
I was flabbergasted by every word she spoke. There was not even a single point that I could argue about. That is when it hit me that our generation and the generation coming up are so deeply lost in the material world that we just don’t care about the rest of things that’s been happening around. I really don’t think that by the time I reach my mother’s age any of my cousins would ever keep in touch with me. It makes me sad to see where we are headed to in life.
It’s high time we grow beyond our egos and build some meaningful relationship in our lives. We should start talking to each other rather than talking about each other. We should start using things and loving people, make efforts towards each other. Go on take the first step, pick up that phone and call your loved ones don’t just message, talk to them, get to know their stories share yours. Have a real conversation! Make your relationships worthwhile. I am definitely going do it, get more involved. After all, what is this life if not shared with your loved ones. No matter what we do or say it is impossible to live a life all by yourself. Studies have shown the happiest people in this world are the ones that have a meaningful relationship.
We all wish for happiness in our lives and –
“Happiness is only real when shared.” – Into the Wild