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DISTRACTIONS ENTHUSE LACK OF COMMITMENT IN A RELATIONSHIP

Making friends is an art, which I know very well. I had been craving for people around me since I was a kid. The very reason was my restrictions to go out and be with my friends. I suffered from being alone (I won’t call it loneliness) since I was 8 years old till I went to college at the age of 17. But you can say, it was God gifted quality that I had in me, that I can make friends, build connections very easily. And at the age of 43 now, when I look back and assess all the relationships or friendships that I had established in my life I find one major cause of Lack of Commitment in a given relationship or friendship is DISTRACTIONS surrounding it.

DISTRACTIONS
Image Credit: Google Inc.

There was one close friend of mine, who was sharing about the problems in their marriage. She wrote it down about all that was happening in their life and I took the time to read her long detailed messages and answers, again and again, to come to a conclusion. My conclusion was, they had every other thing around them to distract each other from ‘THEIR TIME‘.

Let’s do a postmortem of what and how these distractions creep into the relationships

1. Work Pressure: Previously, I have seen my grandfather coming back home at around 6 PM and rest for an hour and then used to spend time with family, with us. He was an engineer and was a very sincere man in his work. He used to go on official tours as well. But he never had forgotten the time that he had committed to his wife, his children,  grandchildren, even to the extended family members as we were in a joint family.

But today, the work stress is so much that it had taken away the time which was supposed to be committed to the relationships we are in. Work Pressure has been working as an agent of distraction towards our lack of commitment.

2. Social media: Social networking sites have taken our primary leisure time today. We think we stay very updated because of social media but these sites eat us up from within as the days pass by. The Bible says, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief“.

How true it is…! Previously, when we were uninformed, we were at peace but today, when we have everything under our fingertips we get distracted from the main issues of life getting distracted by unnecessary information.

3. Easy and many friends: It is though a subpart of the above point – social media, yet I kept it separately knowingly to explain the gravity of this issue.

Previously, we were rarely going out of our box to make friends. We used to have friends from our schools, colleges, workplaces and to the maximum, from our localities. If we extend a bit more, then we used to have something called, Pen Friend which is treated as a tiny dino in today’s world. 😛

But now, we have friends from different continents, from the whole world. We know everything about them, even the dates of their birthdays and anniversaries but don’t remember our own special days.

Sometimes, I feel very guilty of having such a huge list of online friends in my life. Trust me, they do distract individuals from their personal commitments to their parents, spouses, children or to the relationships that matter the most.

Let’s not get entangled with such distractions much today and suffer in our relationships for lack of commitment towards the person entwined with us.

Stay Blessed!

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WITHOUT COMMITMENT NOTHING WILL HAPPEN

Looking back at my life, I can assuredly say that I have made mistakes because of my fear. In one of my earlier articles, I have expressed how fear for something new holds me back sometimes, it could be moving to a new place, taking up a new job or going on a new adventure. While some of these examples were only causing a little setback or slight disappointment, there were other big-ticket items that were affecting my contentment of life. When I realized I am falling behind than where I ideally should be in life, there was one question that I had to find the answer for, “What is that one thing that is different than earlier?”. When I say earlier, during schooling or university time and even during my first few years of job, I did not have this feeling of missing something. Did I change, if so, what is the change? 

The analyst in me needed to roll the sleeves up. I started with something very basic. I asked myself, these questions. “Am I where I wanted to be?”. “If this is not where I should be, do I have the right skills to move to the next level?. “What should I do differently to progress and make an impact on my own life? and so on.. While I was going through the list of questions, one particular question caught my eye, the second question (In teal color above). Many times when we do interviews, we don’t look for candidates who have all the required skills to perform the job. We only look for candidates who have the right attitude to learn on the job to be able to perform their duties. We even ask them questions about their personal lives and their choices to see if they are really committed to serving their duties. There it is, that was what I was looking for – the reason for my delayed success is my fear of commitment. I have always been a hopeful person, and my wishes are very discreetly defined. If I have these two in place, then the only thing that is required is commitment. I won’t say I have commitment issues, but I do have a fear of commitment.

I always check if I am eligible to take up the commitment and if I can perform my responsibilities to fulfill the task I would be committing to. This holds good for both personal and professional fronts. Unfortunately, in life, nothing comes with a guarantee or warranty, so, it is almost impossible to anticipate what the future holds for us. With the unknown, making the commitment has a lot more to do with our beliefs. Let me give you an example to explain this.

While working with an NGO, I came across an interesting man. Both the man and his wife are from joint families, so, they are very much used to living with more than 10 people in the same house. They never wanted to have their own kid, but to adopt one. When it was time to choose the kid they want to adopt, they chose a disabled girl. The girl is paralyzed down below her waist and needed special care. They thought since they have a big family, it would be much more apt for the girl to have so many people who can be there for her all round the clock. The girl settled into the family and was happy. Two years later, the wife was diagnosed with colon cancer. As the medical facility was not available in their town, they came to Bangalore for treatment. As living expenses in Bangalore are relatively high, the husband and wife only moved to Bangalore. Their hometown is almost 20 hours journey by train. After 3 months of fighting with cancer, the lady started to fear that this may be the end of her life. She wanted to spend more time with their daughter. Neither the girl nor the woman was in a position to travel often, so the father brought the girl to live along with them. He is the only one who has to take care of the girl now. On one side he might lose his wife to deadly cancer and on the other side, he has to be at home to help the little girl out for most of the time. When they adopted the girl, this was not the life they imagined for the little one. He has been doing this every single day for more than a year now. He could do this only because he is committed to both his wife and their daughter.

When I compare my problems with something like this, I find them very trivial. Is any decision I am going to make cost me my life or harm anyone? If not, then why am I scared to make a commitment? During childhood, a plan is almost set to us by someone else, and we only need to do our best in learning the same. When it comes to life, we are committing ourselves to the plan we make and that was my main drawback.  I lead a team of almost 25 people at work, and I know how a lack of commitment affects me. If one cannot commit themselves, the probability that they are going to ensure deliveries on time is minimal. Would I be happy to have such a team member? If I continue to nurture such behaviour what I would experience is dysfunction.

At home and outside, we form the team(s). Some times it is only two people that share the responsibility and some times it is more than two. Even if one of them is not committed, the task may not be accomplished or would be accomplished with diminished quality.

When we are committed we put our plans to action and that leads to success. In the process of being committed, we gain fulfilling relationships because one can trust us with their eyes closed. Commitment is the most important stepping stone to success. I believe if we are committed we will always find a way to make things work.

“Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.”

HOW TO HANDLE YOUR TEENAGER

It has been long said that teenage is a phase of stress and turmoil. Skip a few generations back. When one transitioned from childhood into adolescence and then into adulthood, was scarcely demarcated. It just happened! That’s all that was known. Also, with lack of technological advancements and a dearth of understanding into the human psyche at various phases, there wasn’t any specific attention devoted to different stages of development, except for infancy.

However, the situation is different today. Each individual is more aware of his/her rights, self-esteem and choices. Speaking of today’s teenagers – they are way smarter and well-informed than many of us can think of.

So then, how do parents and caregivers handle teenagers?

1. Your teen may be better informed, but you remain the boss. Do not pass on control into your teen’s hands. How then should you retain control? While parents need to encourage their teens to participate in important decisions involving their own lives and that of the family, they need to reserve the final word for themselves. This is how your teenager would learn to have a say while accepting parental authority. Also, make sure that parents voice the same tone before teens, irrespective of their differences so that your smart teen doesn’t get the space to play games.

2. Do not give in to emotional blackmailing. This is something that needs to be nipped in the bud at childhood, when your child throws tantrums and makes you dance to his/her music. However, teenage emotional blackmailing is a bit different. That’s because teens don’t simply sulk when things are not done their way. They can resort to quite disturbing tactics – like refusing to eat for days together, refusing to go to school/college, getting into disruptive activities with friends, playing ear-blasting music, threatening to commit suicide, and the like. While all these are alarming, none of these should bring you down to your knees. Most importantly, do not lose your emotional balance. Take care that you do not slip into bouts of depression, panic attacks or spells of anxiety, because some teens can be quite a handful and drive you crazy!

3. Always keep communication lines open. Teenagers do not run to parents to get their shirts buttoned or to get their shoe laces tied or to get their tears wiped after hurting their elbows at play, as they did as children. With age and development, they become self-reliant in many aspects of their lives. This is something parents need to accept. However, this does not mean that it’s time for parents to start fading away from the lives of their children. Your children remain your children even when they go on to have children of their own. What is to be understood is that, you need to give your teen the space s/he needs and yet be open for all types of conversations at all times. Do not get antagonistic if your teen shares with you about a boyfriend or girlfriend or confesses a blunder that s/he has committed or asks you questions about sex. If you do so, you will shut a doorway into your teen’s life and cause outsiders to actively intrude in. Respond wisely and calmly.

4. Be role models. While no one is and can be perfect while in this mortal life, it is of utmost importance that parents model a family that they would want their teen to have in future. If your teen sees you drink, then your endless sermons on ‘Don’t drink’ would serve no purpose. If your teenage boy sees his father speaking roughly to his mother or resorting to physical abuse, these traits get unconsciously implanted into his psyche and are likely to surface in later years when he gets married. If your teenage girl sees her mother spending money thoughtlessly, she doesn’t learn to manage money wisely. Be the person that you want your teen to be in thoughts, speech and action. 

5. Commit your teenager into God’s care. Though I am writing this point at the last, I won’t frame it as ‘last but not the least’. Rather, I would put it as ‘first and foremost’. Yes, first and foremost put your teen into God’s hands daily. You cannot be with your teen everywhere all the time. You cannot be a nagging parent prescribing dos and don’ts always. Your teen will commit his/her share of mistakes and will have to face certain consequences which you may find hard to bear. But then, experience is a strong teacher! You need to permit your teen to develop a certain sense of independence and responsibility as s/he grows. You need to have your teen be a person of good character, sound personality and wise choices. And so, you need to commit your teen into the hands of Him who has given him/her life and breath. God alone can mould people from the inside out. He is more concerned about your teen than you. So, each moment commit your teen into God’s hands – for protection, for health, for strength to resist temptations, for studies and career and for prudent choices. You’ll see how He would work wonders!

Accept the fact that your teen is not like you and may not necessarily become like you. S/he is an individual in his/her own right. Maybe you transitioned smoothly across life’s varying phases, while your teen wrecks havoc each day. Look for reasons, but do not blame yourself without reason. Look for ways to manoeuvre yourself and your teen wisely while keeping your calm.

While handling each teenager requires specific strategies that may be case-specific, what I have enlisted in this article entails certain general points that apply to all teens. An equation to sum up: HANDLING TEENAGERS = LOVE + DISCIPLINE + REASONING

Hope this ‘how-to’ article comes of help to parents in this ‘how-to’ week in Candles Online!

LAUGHING AWAY IN SICKNESS…

The week’s topic made me think a lot about my own expertise which I can share with the whole world. But I could not think of anything until I asked my wife about my own skills. And she gave me her inputs which I will stamp it as my strengths and share with you.

She said, “You can encourage and motivate people. The mental support you give someone who is vulnerable is very appreciable. You are very calm during a stressful and difficult time. You can take things very lightly when life is tough or when people says hurtful things.”

She was right partially. But when she said, “You are very calm during a stressful and difficult time”, I just pondered about it, trying to validate it. People usually give tips on things they are expert in or have been doing it almost all their lives… I wondered, what is that one thing that I am doing all this time in my life!

Bingo!!!

I have been tackling my health issues since my birth. I am definitely an expert handling my health condition on which I can give my expert ideas or tips to those who have family members suffering from prolonged sicknesses or to the persons concerned.

  1. Do what you should do: I was very particular in taking my medicines and what I should do to keep my health on track. It is evident that having such serious health issues people like us can’t afford to be indisciplined. So leading fairly a disciplined life is always better to stay risk-free.
  2. Stay happy and jovial: Staying happy always good for health and I never failed to smile and make others smile even when I am seriously sick. I remember, once I posted a funny video of myself in our Candles Online – WhatsApp group while I was lying on the hospital bed. That brought joy to everyone and it pleased me a lot, making me lighter to carry my burden. Make fun of yourself when you go through difficult times. Trust me, that will bring joy and strength in the minds of people around you whether they are known or unknown to you.
  3. Engage & Entertain yourself: This is something very essential. So many times after I do everything that I can do, I feel bored and extremely depressed. A sick person with no one around to talk and to play with is a dreadful curse. I had gone through it. But once I found means to entertain myself, I engage myself with all of them to keep away my boredom far.
  4. Keep other’s problems above yours: Being an empath, I always tend to get lost in others. I keep getting closer and closer to people, trying to figure out how they struggle in their respective lives and how they can get little comfort. I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible sharing their hearts with me. Trust me, this takes away a lot of my own heartache and pain giving me peace at my heart, letting me know that I could also be of some use. 
  5. Take everything to the Lord in prayer: And lastly, I would suggest all of you, to take every pain to the Father in heaven by praying to Him.  The song, “What a friend we have in Jesus” comes to my mind where one of its stanzas goes like this –

“Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

I never forget to pray to my Saviour, my God ever. I might not be very disciplined in praying to God, but I never stop praying to Him at any cost, in any manner. And as He had promised, He never left me alone to suffer but have given me strength at every stage of my life. 

Friends! Never be dismayed! Accept the situation you are in and enjoy it by creatively adopting a specific survival strategy to keep yourself going. And never forget to look to God in prayer.

Stay Blessed!

TAKE IT WITH A PINCH OF SALT

Advice is very common and most of the time free too, right? We have no shortage of advice regarding anything under the sun. Every second person is ready with a set of advice for you! I am the 7th (6 Candelians have already given you advice this week 🙂 )

Don’t worry, I am not going to bug you too much but yes, I would like to share some virtues (I choose it to call it virtues and not advice) which I find very useful and I try to practice it.
1. Cry if need be:
Yes, it is alright to cry! Irrespective of the gender one must cry once in a while because it releases all the pent up emotions which slowly poison the state of mind. All that matters is that after you are done crying, wipe off the tears, gather yourself and take on the big bad world.
2. Laugh till your stomach aches:
When was the last time you laughed till your stomach ached? Ever seen a child laugh? How pure and innocent laughter is? As we grow up, we somehow tend to forget this kind of laughter. We are often done just by smiling and many times we don’t even do that. I know, life can be hard but don’t let it take a toll on you. Find a way to laugh the real laughter, you like rolling on the floor types.
3. Express Gratitude:
Most of us lack at expressing gratitude, don’t we? I consciously practice this virtue and I see it’s a ripple effect. I thank the auto driver every day, I thank the shopkeeper each time he drops the groceries home, I thank the postman when he delivers my mails, I thank the delivery guys from shopping portals each time they deliver my order. Thank your colleagues, thank your team at every available opportunity and you would be amazed to see the difference what a small thank you can make.
4. Appreciate:
It is very easy to blame others but very difficult to appreciate. You never know what effect one compliment may have on someone! Make an effort to appreciate others, talk about their good things. Appreciation is a great motivator
5. Accept the Failure:
Failure is a part of life. And it is absolutely okay to fail. It is okay to fail at something others are able to do very easily. It is okay to never be able to do something. It is okay to scoreless in an exam and it is okay if you do not have a high paying job. None of these things define you in entirety. It is just a part of you. No failure is worth enough to give up life for. No failure is big enough to slip into depression. No failure is big enough to break relationships, provided, you are able to accept it with grace.
Taking your leave with a very motivating quote from Harper Lee (Author of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’)
“Many receive advice but only wise profit from it”

TAKE IT, IT’S FREE

Yes, it’s free and doesn’t have a price tag either. It comes without asking and flows in when you don’t even want! Sometimes, it really helps in distress, but sometimes it becomes a pain to even listen to it. Pronto! You still racking your brains guessing about it!

I am talking about ‘Advice’ and in this article, I am going to give you the same from my bag of experiences.

1. Don’t neglect your health. I agree that for every teensy-weensy problem, rushing up to your physician is a complete no-no. But, if the problem persists for more than a couple of days, please don’t risk. I once did the same by neglecting my mild backache and had to spend more than one year to get it back to normal. The next time I had lingering pain in my head, I didn’t wait for more than a week and consulted the physician, who got my MRI done as the pain wasn’t going with the medication given. Thankfully the headache was only because of the accumulated mucus in my sinuses. 

2. Don’t let anyone’s negative thoughts weigh you down. I know its difficult, especially if people with negativity are present in your environment, polluting your mind. They may be your colleagues, so-called-friends or relatives. When it’s impossible to change your surroundings, wear a mask. Yes, neglect those who don’t make you happy.

3. Do the things you like. Try to do the things that you wish to do, that make you happy. Don’t wait for the right moment. Of course, if finances are involved, you need to post your plans, but otherwise, don’t wait for tomorrow, because tomorrow is ambiguous, and life is too short. That doesn’t imply that you don’t save for tomorrow!

4. It’s ok to be selfish sometimes. This advice is especially for the moms. We get so much involved with our kids, doing round the clock job that we don’t get time for ourselves. Whenever we succeed in doing so, we feel guilty about being selfish and thinking about ourselves. Trust me it’s completely normal to feel that way and there’s nothing to feel remorseful about it. Taking time for yourself = being happy = happy mom = happy home!

Justice and mercy meet within forgiveness. This is because in forgiving someone, you are paying for the debt that they owe you, balancing the proverbial scales of injustice. This is what makes forgiveness difficult.