Helloooo and happy Monday, y'gaais! We're just into the fifth day of December and I've already watched a Christmas movie, been to the Christmas market here, and even started using Christmasy titles for my posts. And to kickstart this happy week, I want to share three things that I learned over the past week and a half, things that everyone tends to learn on the go as a part of the "growing up" process. But the main idea behind all three of these things is that 'tis all about perspective.
This is something that Shane lives by, and it's the one thing he says to me on repeat whenever I get stuck up on the little things (not in a good way). Also, those of you who love the longer posts, you're in for a treat. So here goes.
A bitter ending is better than endless bitterness: This is something that popped up on my facebook feed as one of my friends shared it (Hi Krishnapriya!). And it immediately struck a chord with me. Over the past few months, I've been harbouring a little bit of bitterness towards someone who started off by being my friendly acquaintance. This person was constantly doing something that has been my biggest pet-peeve from the time I was a child. I wasn't close enough to this person to randomly strike up a dialogue on the topic and at the same time, I was torn between my need to be a generally good acquaintance and that of expressing the resentment brought about by this person's actions. I want to go on record and emphasize that what this person had been doing for months has always been a thing that got to me from the time I was little. It may not affect many others in the same way, but we're all different. And this one in particular, has been my biggest pet-peeve. Finally and surprisingly even to myself, this came up in one of my own blog posts, albeit ever so slightly. Unsurprisingly, the person in question picked up on it. That led to a confrontation that I would have loved to avoid. The confrontation ended with a lot of accusations directed at me. I thought about responding to those accusations but the only way to respond would have been negative. It would have involved stating certain facts, and bringing to notice the fact that I resented a certain behaviour. It would have resulted in the other person getting very hurt, and truthfully, I didn't want that at all. I didn't hate this person. I just resented one action which unfortunately happens to be a big one in my personal value system. When I look at it now, in no way did I dislike the person, or even want them to hurt. So, I avoided replying altogether. It was time to put things behind us, and move on. But within just a day, this person once again did the thing that I never learned to deal with, which in turn forced me to take one step towards avoiding the triggers that made me remember this behaviour of theirs. That has now led to what I would call a bitter ending, and honestly, there seems to be nothing that can be done about it.
However, I come with good news. The good news is that this whole mess has been a learning experience, and I learned that sometimes, a bitter ending like the one I described, is better than harbouring endless bitterness. Sometimes, you meet people whose values are very different from yours and that's perfectly alright. But it's important to move on and stick to your own values at the end of the day. After the whole incident, I'm left with no more bitterness. I only have goodwill for this person, as well as a strange feeling of relief at the thought that I will no longer be exposed to even a single trigger henceforth. It's like the feeling you get when you come out of a toxic romantic relationship. It's very liberating. So if you're holding on to bitterness, I would advise you to let go of the whole thing, even if it leads to a bitter ending.
"Will we be fine in a week?": About two weeks ago, I had a marital tiff with Shane. It was the first time that something of the sort had happened. And by that, I don't mean that we don't fight, I just mean that we mostly have a very healthy way of resolving our differences. Usually, we have what I call a "fight ritual". Neither of us is the screaming kind so when we have a disagreement, we just give each other some space and talk when we're both calm. But this time, I completely lost my shit with him. I did the whole "let's talk when we're calm" thing, but after some time, I just couldn't get calm so I sat at the edge of our bed with steam coming out of my ears and venom spewing out of my mouth. Yes, the otherwise hidden fangs made an appearance too. I went on a rant like never before and surprised myself with how well thought-out, structured and eloquent my speech was. That speech was a blog post in itself, you guys.
I had to let him know that I was angry and that I was going to remember this one. In fact, I even repeated that line a couple of times - "I'm going to remember this, and I won't let you forget it either". Shane, as usual, remained annoyingly calm throughout and once I was done, he apologised. But I was so worked up that all I wanted in that moment was for him to suffer. I know that sounds really bad, and I'm ashamed of it. But I didn't want to accept his apology. I childishly wanted him to somehow repent or suffer without gaining my forgiveness that easily. When he saw how furious I was, he asked me,
"Do you think we'll get over this and be happy in a week? Or maybe even a month? Can you look into the future and see us being happy in a month from now?"
"Yes. We'll be happy like always before the end of the week."
"Then can't we just do it now?"
That was a big eye opener. We all tend to hold on to some things in the hopes of resolving them later, and hence delay happiness by that much longer simply because our egos need to be pampered a little bit. But we all have the option to just let things go and be happy now. It's something I hope to remember the next time I catch myself thinking that I'll forgive that person or forget that incident once they do this or once that happens. We all have the power to choose. If we take a step back, we can choose to start being happy now. I knew that my problem with Shane was not going to start the third World War. I knew that it was not going to be the end of the world. But my ego still wanted to hold on to something, thus preventing me from being happy. All I had to do was look at my life one week from now and see that I was indeed going to go back to being happy with him. That put things in perspective for me and made my life a lot better, a lot sooner than expected.
Describe your life at 70: This point is in a way, derived from the previous one. In a recent conversation with a friend who just got married, the topic of dealing with criticism from in-laws and distant relatives from her husband's side came up. And to show her how insignificant their opinions were, I asked her to describe what her life would look like at 70. That seemed to confuse her a little bit so I went first. Based on what I have now, this is how I picture my life at 70: A nice community of friends living together, Shane and I going on long walks (hand-in-hand OF COURSE) for the sake of our hips, us feeding ducks by the river because OF COURSE we live close to a river, us hugging in a beautiful green park with cute dogs running about, us sharing a nice cup of tea and saying to one another that it's been a wonderful life. This picture, for some reason, is crystal clear in my head and every time I think of 70-year-old me and 69-year-old Shane (because the scene is set in December OF COURSE which is my favourite month of the year, and in December, Shane is two months away from being my age), I am consumed with this feeling of happiness that I find hard to describe. In that particular scene, there are no relatives that were ever mean to us, no friends that let us down, no financial trouble that made us struggle, and no regrets whatsoever. The scene always ends with us telling each other that it's been a wonderful life. That's the perspective. That's what I always go back to when I need to stop focusing on the little things that gnaw at me, because none of those things matter in that scene. All that matters is the person by my side who always makes me smile. When I told her this, my friend was ecstatic. She said she totally relates to this sentiment and sees how insignificant everything else is in the light of what she pictures her life at 70 to be.
'Tis all about perspective :)
I hope that this post encouraged you in a positive way to get your perspectives straight and I hope you're going to leave this web page with a smile on your face.
Happy Monday, everyone!