People are – and will be – different from you!

Don’t expect everyone to be like you and to agree to everything you say or do. Simply accept the diversity in people around you! 
Last evening I watched Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (Ayan Mukerji, 2013, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone) one more time. In one scene in the movie, Padukone, while examining her relationship with Kapoor, tells him: “Tum galat nahin ho; bas mujhse alag ho!” It means: “You are not wrong, you are just different from me!” I thought that’s a wonderful way to relate to people that we have relationships with.
Much of your strife in relationships comes from wanting people to understand you, from wanting them to see your point of view and from wanting them to agree with you on everything. Now, this isn’t really ever going to happen. So we go on piling this impractical, unreasonable expectation on people around us and, therefore, we continue to wallow in grief and suffering when our relationships fail.
I have learnt this lesson the hard way. Initially, I used to have a huge problem in an all important relationship with my own mother. This caused me enormous grief and inner strife. But when I learned this lesson, I found my whole attitude change to one of acceptance – of our diametrically opposite ways of looking at and dealing with Life and of our different outlooks to how it must be lived. The day I stopped wanting to be right and stopped demanding that only my view be respected, I became peaceful. When I made my peace – over the way things were – I discovered how simple Life really is. I realized that we complicate it by expecting people around us to be a certain way.
Every relationship, in fact any relationship, is stressed when we try to apply labels of right and wrong or impose dos and don’ts to whatever’s happening in it. The best way to avoid that stress is to accept that people are, and will be, different. That there’s no right or wrong – there’s just a different point of view. And through such a simple, relatable framework, you build and sustain beautiful, ever-evolving relationships.
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You create more problems by wanting people and things to be different!


Intrinsically, there’s nothing wrong with Life. Or with people. Life is the way it is. And people are the way they are. It is your wanting them to be different, your wanting them to be the way you want them to be, that causes YOU__and often others__pain, suffering, misery and angst!

Any home with a teenager will understand this perspective the best. As a parent you would want your teenager’s room to be maintained well. But your child just doesn’t want you to even enter her room. Now think about this deeply. Is there something wrong with the room? Or is there something wrong with the way your child thinks she is maintaining it? Or is there something wrong with the way in which YOU WANT it maintained? In reality, nothing really is wrong. Simply, your WANT, your expectation, is what is causing you all the grief!

So it is with people everywhere. The teenager at home perspective is simple __ so you can relate to it. Also, you may be willing to forgive a teenager__because the kid is still not ‘mature or worldly-wise’ in your view! But you are not always so understanding of others! Here’s why….

If you review your Life, particularly your relationships, almost all the time, all your problems have come from wanting people to be different. Take any relationship where you have a problem and replace your want with acceptance and see how you perceive the relationship now. Let’s say, you have a colleague or a friend who is unethical and scheming. You cannot trust this person at all. Now, if you accept this person as someone who is not worthy of your trust, there will be no problem at all. The problem arises ONLY when you continue to trust this person, expect this person to live up to your trust, and this person keeps betraying your trust every single time! Who is to blame. Your friend? Your friend’s unethical behavior? Or you __ for continuing to trust someone who is NOT worthy of your trust? The answer is so simple. It is you who are responsible, and your expectation that your friend lives up to your trust, for the stress and strife in the relationship. You have to either trust this person and be content with betrayal or you have to stop trusting this person. The in between path__that I will trust and expect him to live up to it__is a foolish one and is paved with grief at every step!

This is so true of any situation, any relationship in Life. Yesterday, I watched a British film ‘Life Goes On’ (2009) directed by Sangeeta Datta. This is a simple story of an Indian doctor, Sanjay (played brilliantly by Girish Karnad) who comes home one evening to find his wife Manju (Sharmila Tagore) dead. She had suffered a major cardiac arrest. Sanjay’s grief is soon overshadowed by some facts, bigger, more shocking and more painful, he stumbles upon about his three daughters and his wife. His oldest one, he finds, is breaking up with her British husband. His second one is in a lesbian relationship. And his third one is pregnant with the child of her Muslim boyfriend. He further discovers that his best friend Alok (Om Puri) is the father of his first daughter because Manju had sought out Alok’s companionship in the early years of Sanjay’s marriage to her, because Sanjay could not take time off from his medical studies and practice to nurture their relationship! Everything that Sanjay had created in Life__a family, built on what he thought were Indian values, a culture of discipline and a tradition of being conservative Indians and staunch Hindus__seems now blown to smithereens. He is plunged into deep grief. And even roams the streets of London one night looking for answers. Then Alok confronts him with the truth: “Your wanting is not going to make anything different or better. It is the way it is.”

Life’s beautiful ONLY when we stop wanting people and things to be different. The moment a want creeps in, rearing its ugly head, a perfectly peaceful Life can become traumatic.  You can’t do much to prepare yourself for the rest of your Life. You can only deal with what you are dealt with! So, the best thing you can do, for now, is to simply, stop wanting people to be different. If it is someone you deeply love, try having a honest conversation. If it works for you, fine. If not, just let people be. You be who you are. And, believe me, your Life will be peaceful ever after!