Some of our most wonderful moments are spent with family and friends. They make for many of our most beautiful memories. They evoke some of our most tender emotions. And yet, our family and friends incite some of our worst feelings and moods.
Thus far in my blog, through all the earlier postings, I’ve tried to see how we react to the world as individuals and how we can try and become better persons in an individual capacity.
I’d like to now look at the individual in a broader context – as a member of a family and as a friend. (By family, I mean the larger family that includes relatives by birth and marriage as well.)
Family and friends bring out the best in us, and, not unoften, the worst as well: Jealousy, rivalry, pettiness, greed, meanness, contempt, anguish, anxiety, and of course, anger ….. the list goes on.
How did Sue manage to land such a catch, Ney wonders, looking at Bob – the suave man her best friend has got engaged to. And then, Ney steals a look at the father of her kid – too garrulous, quite unkempt, and not nearly as handsome as Bob. She feels guilty with the thought trajectory and tries to shove away to another path, but the mind will not stop comparing and her eyes cannot resist drawing comparisons.
Leo wishes his son Tanya would stop clinging to him and be more agile and adventurous like other boys his age.
Maria wishes her daughter Gloria would cut her hair short; Gloria’s best friend Betsie looks so good!
Chintu is disappointed that his home is always the last stop on his brother’s holiday itinerary, and he resents that the brother who was his buddy in his growing years now always spends the least time with him. Of all the siblings, Chintu’s home has the least comforts – no swimming pool, no golf course nearby, not even a guest room with bath attached. Chintu’s sure that’s the reason and envies the others their good fortune. He had always invested in the wrong stocks, unlike the others. He also ought to have married for money, like his dad said. He is disgusted with his life, and his thoughts as well.
And so the burden of bad emotions keeps piling ….
A WAY OUT?
There’s a story that I often remember when I need to battle with my feelings, with my bad self. The lesson I read into the story is that it is easier to accept the bad in us, the evil in us, and then work towards resolving it than to try to overcome or fight the badness per se.
The story goes like this: An orphan boy is adopted and brought up by a wealthy man who has a mentally retarded niece. When the boy finishes college and is about to launch into a life on his own, the wealthy man prevails on the boy to marry his niece. The boy, who knows he owes his life to his foster father, cannot refuse. But, rather than turn bitter, he decides to fall in love with the girl he is expected to marry.
Having made up his mind, he sets out to build a relationship with the girl. Though he cannot have a normal conversation with her as he would with another person his age, he finds himself enjoying her company as he would that of a child. He also revels in finding that she has hidden gifts – such as for imitating people, for mimicry and for making some remarkably astute judgements about the character of people!
Like the boy in the story who accepts the inevitable and then works at making the best of a situation he cannot avoid, it has helped me often to accept my emotions as they are and then work my way out of them rather than try to avoid them or deny them.