Were our eyebrows arching when we read the title of the article? Could we sense the egoistic barriers rising within us when we were confronted with such questions? Are we so used to putting up pretenses and maintaining a facade that some real life learning eludes us? Why are we so scared to show our humane and vulnerable side to others?
Here are five inherent challenges that we all have problems with:
What is wrong with simply saying “I don’t know” at ANY stage of our lives?
I don’t know how to make a perfect meal. I don’t know how to operate this feature on my smartphone. I don’t know where I went wrong – but I messed up with this relationship. I don’t know why I am so nervous about this interview today. I don’t know how to match the expectations of my parents. I don’t know why my kids no longer listen to me. I don’t know why I feel like crying for no reason at all. I don’t know why that habit of his drives me crazy.
For every question that haunts us, there is some weakness that is being unearthed. And for every weakness that we discover within ourselves, some beautiful learning molds us into better human beings.
Start by simply saying – I don’t know. It does not matter whether you are 15 years old or 85 years old. Overcome your vanity and your ego – and enjoy the beautiful learning experience that comes your way.
Why do we find it so difficult to accept gifts graciously?
If it is an occasion like a birthday or a wedding we clearly mention ‘No gifts please’ on the invitation. Is it because we have an abundance of everything already? If so – we can clearly state to our loved ones – that we will surely accept their gifts with grace but will donate them to people who are in real need of them. We can also request people to give us gifts in cash or gift us things that we are in real need of – if we are close to them.
But we do have problems with those one off gifts that our loved ones buy for us too. Someone has gone out of the way to buy something special for us. If we are very close to the person, we will always keep their personal preferences in mind before we buy something. A lot of thought, time, effort and money of course goes into the entire process. If the person has already bought something for us – we should have the decency to accept it with grace. A gift is just a physical or monetary expression of a person’s love. The gift may be of no use to us at all. That is perfectly fine. Real learning lies in respecting all kinds of gifts graciously. Learning to respect the intention and the love behind the gift is also an art that needs to be cultivated.
Why do we hesitate or think twice before we ask someone for help?
Are we scared to expose our weaknesses to others? Do we fear ridicule and rejection by people? 99% of the time – people will willingly help us when we accept our fears and weaknesses to them openly.
Just try it out. On a solo shopping spree – I just casually asked another lady customer whether this blouse color would complement this saree. A brief two minute conversation later, both of us left the store with a smile on our faces. Ask for help and it will be given to you. Simple effective mantra.
I don’t know what to do with this cheque – I told the banking clerk. My husband is a banker and takes care of all such stuff for us. Can you tell me how to fill this form? The banking clerk was a pretty young lass – she smiled with a twinkle in her eye, told me what to do very patiently and then said – “You should be learning how to do all this Ma’am – don’t use your husband’s job profile as an excuse!” What she said was very true. When I asked her for help – I was accepting my weakness to her. And when we accept our weaknesses to others – people will help us up our learning curve.
Why do we find it so difficult to say ‘sorry’ to our loved ones?
When we say ‘sorry’ and genuinely mean it – it does not mean we are wrong and the other person is right. It just means we value the relationship more than the issue at hand. ‘What is right? Or who is right?’ rarely matters. Learning to say ‘sorry’ means we are willing to forget, forgive and move on despite the hurt that is caused to both parties. Often conflict is a necessary evil for a relationship to progress. And in a conflict – both parties are affected – always. We are so focused on ‘our pain’ that we become blind to the tears of the other person. ‘Sorry’ is the bridge that connects us to the pain of the other person. ‘Sorry’ means we are willing to let go of our pain and move on with the relationship. Learning to say it genuinely at the right time and place is often crucial. Try it. It never fails.
Why are we unwilling to share our financial status with our loved ones?
Money can give us a feeling of security. Money can also make us highly insecure. The demonetization drive punctured and shattered the fragile sense of security that the super-rich people thrived on. Money can buy us happiness. But happiness too seems shallow without someone to share it with.
Our relationships are our biggest assets. Yet we have no time to nurture them. Money simply flows in and out of our hands. Money can buy us that lifesaving drug and add years to our life. But the real life learning lies in looking at money with the right perspective despite it being so important in our lives.
Let us not weigh our relationships with money. Perhaps we hesitate to disclose our financial status with our loved ones because we do not want to feed their dreams and desires. Maybe we do not want to be dependent on other people till our dying day – and know that our money should outlive us. So we hesitate to disclose our financial status to our loved ones. But at the root of the question lies a fear, a feeling of insecurity, lack of faith in a higher force and perhaps also a feeling of comfort is derived from a decent bank balance.
Whatever the reason – learning to overcome our fears and our insecurities will pave the way for healthier, more open and honest relationships. Learning to confront such hard hitting questions will force us out of our comfort zones. We will evolve into more mature adults when we realize that personal development = work in progress.