Relationships would work out much better if we try to understand where each one is coming from, feels Megha Bajaj
“But why can’t he understand what I am going through!” said my friend, in tears, as we were having tea on the verandah of my house. Around the same time, her husband told Arun, my best friend for life, “If only she could see things from my perspective!” Our friends were going through a rough patch and were considering a separation. The four of us go back a long way, and we had invited them over for dinner in the hope of easing things for them. They trusted us, and we loved them.
The dinner was pleasant enough, and so was the conversation when all four of us were together. But the undercurrents of distress, distrust, and despair hung like heavy clouds. It pained me to watch two people I loved go through this, especially because both are fantastic, extremely intelligent, and doing very well in their respective fields.
Arun, somehow, has this capability of taking everything in his stride and was happily talking about the food, as we retired for the day after bidding them goodbye. But I was not at ease. I simply could not fathom why two such beautiful people had been brought to the brink like this. Seeing me fretting, Arun just smiled and said, “It’s so simple. And yet, it’s not simple!” I looked at Arun. He said, “Everyone believes they are right. If they only allowed the other to be right too, things wouldn’t be as messed up. Everyone has a right to be right.” He yawned and fell asleep.
I was churning. I started pacing around. How true! The wife was completely convinced about her point of view, and the husband, his. In so many ways, their perspectives were born from their backgrounds and experiences, and both were right. For a girl born in an affluent home, spending the way she did didn’t seem wrong; wanting a good lifestyle seemed reasonable. For the husband who was from a lower-middle-class family, everything seemed extravagant and superficial. Both were right.
I realised that, sometimes, in relationships, you reach a point where all that matters is proving yourself right. In fact, if you close your eyes and introspect, I am sure you can think of one such relationship. I could. I suddenly thought of everything from the other person’s perspective, and it was like a bell going off in my head. The person whom I had believed was so wrong, with a shift in my perspective (acknowledging her right to be right), seemed completely justified.
People we see as criminals grew up in homes where abuse was the norm. People we see as nasty had nasty backgrounds. People we see as benevolent saw benevolence as a trait in their homes or, somehow, realised that’s the way to be. Each person has the right to be right.
I realised that it wasn’t big conflicts that the world is fighting but the small ones. By holding on to their rights so strong and so long, at one point, they even lose focus of what actually matters: the bliss of love in the relationship. If we could just allow ourselves to be right, and the other too, and find mid-grounds, possibly, relationships would feel a lot easier to handle. Even pleasurable! If even one of the two is willing to put love above their need to be right, so much would become possible!
I finally felt at ease. I wasn’t sure how much my friends would listen to and act upon. But the insight made a smile blossom on my lips as I slept, knowing I would be a lot more tolerant of the other’s right.
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