When I Am Sure What People I Love Want...


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The more I love someone, the more time I invest in them; the more they are in my thoughts; and the more time I spend finding creative ways to make them happy. Isn’t that true for all of us? The longer we know them the more confident we are! We become self proclaimed experts on them claiming that we know them better than they know themselves. And what if we needed a rethink?

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It all begins with this lovely belief that each and every one of us (without exception) has deep down inside (no matter whether we are confident/under confident by nature), that we know everything and our choices are the best. Even though every single one of us harbours this feeling we tend to point fingers at anyone who tries to get in their point of view which is different from ours by saying things like, “You really think you know best, don’t you” or “the problem with you is that once you make up your mind, you don’t even listen” all the while implying that they (the person pointing fingers) are the most reasonable soul that existed and most accepting of other’s opinions!!

Say I love bacon and eggs in the morning with toast and strong filter coffee. I offer the same to my mother with much affection. I “know” for a fact that there can be no breakfast better than this- easy to make and tasty beyond words. However, what I get instead of a smile and a “Wow, I’d like that” is “Oh God! You are just like your father. No wonder you don’t lose weight. How can you eat all this in the morning? I’ll have oats and toast.”I cannot believe how a person could say that to me! Well, in this case I can, since I know my mother inside out but if it is in any other relationship (with a non-vegetarian) you’d be stumped, wouldn’t you? In other words, how can someone we love and know so much about, say no to what we know is the best for us and them? If there was a reason, say upset stomach, diet or fast we could possibly shrug our shoulders and let it pass but if they just didn’t want it, it is shocking and depending on how strong headed and emotional a personality one is, we might even get offended and feel a tad bit unloved!!

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Another scenario! The partner is ranting aloud about having no maid or help, loads of dishes, backache, so much cooking waiting to happen etc. The volume continues to rise till we finally have no option but to respond. We realize it isn’t made up but a genuine, indirect appeal for help and so we help. We get up and tidy up the table and chide the kids for their messy study and while our loved one goes to put a pile of clothes for washing, we try and tidy up the kitchen and put lids on a few open containers and pick up a glass to wash…We expect eyes filled with emotion to look at us with utmost gratitude and instead we get “Why do you have to interfere in the kitchen? I know what I have to do. I didn’t ask for help. If you really want to help, why don’t you dust the drawing and dining room?” Now, we are shell shocked! Hurt too because of the sharp tone! The ego mingled with unexpected hurt makes us react, “I was only trying to help. What have I done wrong? Difficult to make you happy! Fine, I won’t help not with the kitchen, not with the kids and not even with the dusting!” And with that out you go!

The partner is now at wits end and thinking, “He doesn’t love me. What a pathetic half hearted attempt at helping! I opened everything to ease out my cooking and he has shut everything and kept it back. Does he have to add to my woes, if he can’t help? Washing indeed! He takes the wrong scrub for the wrong dish. Can’t he ask?”

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Another situation: Your husband is coming back after a long days work and you expect him to reach in an hour or so. You know he loves milkshake. So you surprise him by making his favourite milkshake while making it for the kids. You are waiting to surprise him and see that smile. Instead, he gets late and when he gets in and sees the milkshake, his face falls a bit which your radar has monitored. He smiles anyway (it seems a bit forced) and laughingly says “I had beer on my mind” and from that loving wife you find yourself transforming into “The Hulk” and ask almost menacingly, “So you don’t want it?”

Instances such as this are plenty and I know our reactions are usually milder in most relationships and we save the worst side for those we love the most (spouses! ahem!!).

Let us take a look at acquaintances or even strangers. There is this general broad rule that the people we like/dislike reciprocate the same feelings. I beg to differ. It is not so. There are a number of people I have genuinely liked who have disliked me immensely puzzling me no end. I had to bring in the past life concept to understand it or at least digest this. Yet, it is true. You may be genuinely feel amiable toward or be drawn to a person, have a great time chatting for hours at a gathering and the next time you meet within a few days even, they are cold and act as though they’d get asphyxiated if they were around you a minute longer!

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Strangers are even better, at least in India. You have these sweet messages that come into your life often, courtesy social media, “spread a smile, it costs nothing” “Smile at random people and spread cheer”. Smiling comes naturally to me…many a time, where and when it shouldn’t come. So, I have tried to spread cheer many a time! The results are hilarious. Smile at a kid, you might get a curious stare that follows you for a while or a bright smile with all milk teeth shining (this can really melt you); smiles at a random male worker elicit raised eyebrows, stare, or a leer which wipes your smile instantly; smile at an elderly gentlemen, very rarely a toothless/or “dentured” smile, usually a grim and suspicious look or perhaps a stare of disbelief; smile at a woman who is dressed like you might get you a half smile or a grin (perhaps she got the same smile messages), random female workers usually return the smile, women dressed more sporty ignore you because they are usually on a mission, women dressed less sporty stare at you and the moment you smile they look suspicious with the fear that if they reciprocate you might be that over smart variety who would end up dropping in for coffee or worse, to borrow something! There are people who give you the feeling that you are promiscuous if you smile at them.

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So what am I trying to get at, in this blog? We get over the myriad unreasonable responses from strangers, acquaintances, relatives and even friends but why does it hurt and elicit hurt if we don’t get/give an expected response from/to the people we love? So what if they gave/received an unpredictable reaction? Why should we take it personally? Why should we have to know everything about another person, no matter how close? We are all evolving throughout our lives, our likes and dislikes change, the way we perceive things change, so isn’t it fair that despite spending years together, we should actually ask our dear ones what they want instead of deciding for them? Just another musing while unlearning!




Comments

  1. So rightly written. We do take our loved ones for granted and assume that we know them inside out. I think, these assumptions are the crux of all heartache, and of being stumped.
    Keep u learning my friend. It is food for my thought too.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you "Sandy" for egging me on...we never stop learning and that's wonderful! :)

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  2. Msg repeat....Ms. Blog Mcqueen.A good learning point for everyone.

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  4. Sweet .... lovely write up... I loved it..

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