Whenever you feel miserable with someone or something, address the issue or the person, take things head-on. Seek closure. Only then will you feel liberated.
Earlier this week I watched this beautiful Malayalam film called ‘Bangalore Days’(2014, Anjali Menon). Fahadh Fazil plays a husband who is unable to get over a past relationship. His recklessness on a motorbike had led to the death of his lover (played by Nithya Menen). He’s unable to get over his guilt and so he is unable to lead a normal Life with his wife (played by Nazriya Nazim). When his wife comes to know the cause for his brooding, melancholic, sometimes irritable, behavior, she helps him reconnect with his dead girlfriend’s family. He agrees to visit the family with much trepidation. But when he actually meets them, he achieves a closure – he cries, he apologizes and he tells his girlfriend’s parents how much he loved her and how much he still loves her. That conversation helps him get rid of his guilt and sets him free to engage in the relationship with his wife.
To me, this part of ‘Bangalore Days’ was very real – as were some other parts. I could completely relate to the situation of having an honest conversation with someone and feeling liberated at the end of it. In my forthcoming book, “Fall Like A Rose Petal – A father’s lessons on how to be happy and content while living without money”, I share how I have a very dysfunctional relationship with my mother. And how our relationship has affected the way the rest of my family views me. What started as plain rebellion in my teenage years has ended up leaving, at least me, very uncomfortable in contexts involving my parents and siblings. Yet, I had always wanted to speak my mind, without the fear of being interpreted, rather than being understood, and tell my parents what I feel about the way I have been judged and treated. Every time I tried achieve this, the effort would blow up in my face. And leave me more scathed and scarred. But finally an opportunity presented itself last year, and I talk about this in the book as well, when I did manage to share my feelings openly with my parents – on how I felt being treated the way I was, what I felt about them and how I would like to move on, while accepting that things could never normal the way it would be between a mother and a son. That conversation pretty much delivered a closure to me. Just the fact that I had expressed myself, saying everything that I had always wanted to, and that I was heard out, in a mature, genial conversation, made me feel lighter. I actually felt free – of all simmering discontentment, guilt and grief. I will eternally be grateful to my parents, particularly my mother, for giving me that opportunity!
One of the reasons why we don’t like to address an issue or a person who makes us uncomfortable, sometimes even miserable, is that in a very strange way, we enjoy feeling sad, pitying ourselves and presenting ourselves to the world as someone who’s been wronged. This is the first nail that keeps us pinned down. The second one deals with our discomfort in making the other person feel uncomfortable. When you take an issue head-on with someone, that person is going to most likely squirm. And you, being the good soul that you are, don’t want that person to feel like a worm. But unless you tell someone, who seems to take you for granted and so piles atrocity upon atrocity on you, that you don’t like being treated a certain way, how do you expect that person to respect you and treat you any differently? What you must understand is very simple. Don’t let anyone or anything affect your inner peace. The moment that is affected – do whatever it takes to protect it. And you don’t have to do much. Just speak your mind, draw your boundaries and set a clear protocol that you don’t appreciate any trespassing or over-stepping.
Ultimately, if someone pisses on you, or tramples all over you, you, more than that person, are responsible for the way you are feeling. So, if you don’t want to feel miserable, push back all those who don’t respect your peace and dignity. You don’t have to be rude. You just need to be firm – no matter who that person is – parent, child, sibling, neighbor, colleague, or boss. Have a brutally honest conversation. If you can’t do that, write that person an e-mail. Basically, communicate – efficiently, effectively and evocatively. Seek a closure, with such communication, to whatever bothers you about the issue or the person. When you do this, you will feel truly liberated and totally at peace with yourself!