Today, first thing early morning, I heard the Prime Minister talk about how far better we are as a nation than we were in the past. As I scrolled through my news feed on Facebook, there were numerous stories of people wishing one another a very happy independence day. Some were planting trees, others were hoisting the flag. On the streets, there were loud speakers transmitting nation themed songs and boys and girls flaunting their national spirit.
Amidst all these celebrations, my close friend (much younger to me), came home, disappointed. She had been to her parents home, where she was introduced to a possible match and in the first meeting itself, she had declared that she didnt like the guy much. This must have been the 2nd or 3rd guy that she had met and did not wish to take it further.
Her parents got extremely disappointed and angry at her opinion. They said she was not taking the process seriously and she needs to select one of them and settle down. Later when she was back in Pune, her mother messaged her saying she needn’t come back home anytime soon.
Some readers would be surprised that such incidents still exist in our society. On one end, we have Dipa Karmarkar, who at such an early age is promoted to represent her nation so whole heartedly and then there are households which still believe that a girls identity depends on whether she is married or not.
There are instances in the Indian culture, when the parents of a child have been placed on the same pedestal as the Gods. So for a child, it gets even more shocking to not receive the love, acceptance and respect that God would bestow on his children. All my friend expects is the right to choose her own life partner and the time to decide what is best for her.
I had attended one of Deepak Chopra’s courses in California and one of the lines, that has stayed with me, since then, is that “Everyone is doing their best from their level of awareness”. I am sure, my friend’s parents are doing their best from their level of awareness.
As much as I have studied, heard and learned is that it is impossible to control the actions of another human being. In fact, most of the time, we are not able to control our own words and actions. And the biggest disease that human kind is struck by is Expectation. We have been habituated to give with the expectation to receive something in return. If we monitor, our mind chatter, at any given time, we are constantly expecting someone else to do something, either it is to take out the trash, to do their homework, to sit quietly, to not make noise, to spend time with us, to make us feel good, to show some love, to take us out for dinner, to buy us something, to appreciate the work we do, to appreciate the sacrifices we make etc.
I am not saying it is wrong to expect. This is how we are brought up and habituated to think. But if we think about it closely, the constant mind chatter, the disappointment, the hurt, the anxiety, the stress, does it affect the thinker or the one who is being thought about.
As much as my friend is disappointed for not doing enough to make her parents happy, it is the mother who is suffering, going through depression, anxiety, sorrow, self pity, blame and it is definitely not serving her body well.
So, what if we take a different route this time.
What if, the moment, thoughts of someone not meeting our expectations occur, we replace them with the thoughts of
1. I don’t know what is going on in her/his mind.
2. May be they have thought about a plan for themselves.
3. I can only control my words and actions.
4. I cannot control someone else’s words and actions, doesn’t matter if they have come out of my womb, they still have a right to their opinions.
5. MAY BE, their plan for themselves is better than my plan for them.
6. Can I take a deep breath and detach myself from the outcome of the lives that they carve for themselves, let them fall and learn their own lessons and still love them unconditionally.
7. When they fall, can I be stable enough to help them, if need be?
8. Our lives are interconnected, and I can control my position in this relationship while still setting them free?
Just some food for thought, on this Independence day.
Can my friend have the support, love respect and most importantly, freedom to live her life by her own choice?
Can she be free to choose?