About a month back, I was feeling extremely low due to a lot of reasons. And that clearly reflected in my behavior. I often snapped at my husband, almost always complained to him of not taking care of me. I even started showing my irritation to my Mother in law and started complaining to her as well of so much work that I had to do because my husband won’t help me. Office work was piling up too and that also irritated me so much. So, overall it was a bad situation.

It was just a lot of work and I always had a huge To-Do list in front of me. I had absolutely no time for myself. “I have forgotten how to smile, I have forgotten how to be happy” I told my husband once.

Kapil (my husband) tried multiple things to help me. He tried sending me for a vacation which I refused saying that “I don’t have money”. He tried to convince me start my workouts and I refused saying that “I have no time”. He tried to persuade me to take up a hobby which I refused saying that “I can’t manage another commitment”. He gave up after a while.

There were too many arguments, too much crying and too much negativity.

Then one day he just fed sense into me. I already knew all that he said but he showed me the mirror. This was not the first time he asked me to join a gym nearby (Cult Fitness). But that day the way he said it so politely without pushing me or judging me that it sort of ringed some bells inside me. He said “If you keep giving in any relationship, the other person will keep asking for more. Why don’t you ask now? If you need time – demand it, if you need money – demand it”. That made some sense to me.

He knew that I had always been very fond of working out and I have stopped doing that regularly after having our baby. At night I looked up the website of Cult and to my surprise it was written there in Bold – 1 week free classes if you register till 31st of July. Ha! It was 31st of July and just 15 mins before the date would change.

I was in luck I thought. At least one week I can try! I registered for the free classes. There were a million questions in my head. How will I manage one hour? What all will I have to give up? For the 9 pm class, I would have to feed my son earlier. That would mean I will have to come home earlier. That means I will have to leave from work earlier. Oh man! But since I have registered I would do it.

Next day I told Kapil that I have a class at 9 pm. He was surprised that I did take this step. He was as enthusiastic as me or even more. He stayed for the whole class along with my son (which is quite unlike him). He made sure he changed his schedule so that I could make for the class every day.

That one week of free classes got over and I paid up for 3 months. I did a 16 days streak right in the beginning through a bout of fever and cold. I loved it so much. It changed my attitude towards me. I was doing something for myself and only for myself. That feeling itself was elating.

True it was, I just had to demand. I just had to ask my family for help. I just had to set the expectations with my son and my in-laws. Taking out 1 hour wasn’t difficult but I just wasn’t being selfish enough.

Since our childhood we are taught that “Selfish” is a bad word and being selfish is wrong. Really? Maybe it is. Selfishness means that you only know how to “Take” with no idea how to “Give”. Often we call a person selfish who takes from everybody but doesn’t bother to return the favor or even worse acknowledge the favor. So, being selfish is that extreme state where you just don’t know how to give back.

Selflessness is often thought to be good quality but that too has its own extreme. It means that a person only “Gives” and doesn’t know how to “take”. That doesn’t work in the relationship as well. If you keep giving, you become so empty that you have nothing at all left for yourself. And that is when all the irritation and frustration shows up.

Marriages often break when any one of these extremes is involved. The key is to balance. The key is for two people to really know when to give and when to demand, also how much to give and how much to demand. If we strike this golden balance in a relationship, relationship itself becomes golden.

This is true not just for marriages but for any relationship between two people. Strike the balance between being selfish and being selfless. That’s all!! Ain’t that simple but make a conscious effort and you will see it working.