HOW TO MANAGE AN UNAVOIDABLE BARRIER IN RELATIONSHIP

We had a great week discussing the barriers in any sort of relationships, especially marital ones. As I was thinking about those barriers, I realised they are to be very common and known to all and we always can try to rectify our relationships by breaking them at some point in our life. But there are a couple of barriers that are unavoidable and unbreakable in life. I am gonna talk about one today.

Usually, a sickness enhances any sort of relationships. How? When someone is sick in the family, all others in the family display their love and care for that sick member and that exchange of loving emotions enhance the bonding between each member in the family. This happens when the sickness is temporary and short term. But in the case of prolonged sicknesses, the exchange of emotions take a different turn.

The whole world now knows I am born with a cardiac issue. Being so, I was the centre of attraction, love and care in the family. But for how long? There were frustrations, bitterness, impatience and irritation that I had felt in my family members along with their immense love and care. Their love and care for me were supreme but they did feel negative emotions creeping in, at times.

My Mom, for example, had to stay back from all the family functions or travels all because of me. I used to be sick and she used to be taking care of me all the time sacrificing all her fun and joy. She never showed it, never made me feel. But at times, it did show up through her anger and behaviour which were natural and unavoidable though I was just an infant to understand those feelings at that particular stage of my life. I heard the stories of her sacrifice later when I grew up.

In schools and colleges, generally, boys and girls rely mostly on their friends. My friends didn’t have that reliance on me when it came to any physical activity, helping someone or in sports. In that regard, my health condition became the biggest barrier to establish friendships with many. I never had the guts or condition or state of adrenaline rush which define teenagers or young boys and girls. This is the foundation of my bonding with peers at that stage of human life. I missed or rather failed to either build or even sustain a friendship basing on it.

The unavoidable barrier of sickness which I was carrying with me was still manageable or can be ignored in all the above relationships or friendships at those stages of my life but when I became a man and there was a need for the higher level of relationship, I faced a real challenge. I reckon I missed out on establishing many possible relationships in my life when I became an adult. And probably for my sickness, many have fallen out after falling in for me. That’s an assumption, I don’t know it correctly, so let’s cut it out.

When I actually got into a bond, a marital knot, I realised how my sickness became such a deadly barrier in my relationship with my better-half.

I remember, we went on a trip to the mountains. And at one point we had to climb up to watch the sunrise on Kanchenjunga peak (Part of the Himalayas). She had to stay back because I can’t climb up. She did it for the sake of love but there was a tiny trace of frustration and unfulfilling desire that remained in her heart. I encouraged her to go up with others later. She climbed up with others but there was a trace of not being together or being alone imprinted in her heart. In my case, I had that anger and frustration within me for not being a man for my woman when she needed me to be the one. And there were many such incidents that brought bitterness into our relationship.

Was there a shortage of love between us? No, not at all. But the charm or the glow of our love was missing. Blame it on the barrier, the unavoidable barrier called, sickness.

Almost all the time of our life till now, she has been doing the outside work, household work as well as taking care of me. Her love and sacrifice for me add so much value to our relationship but the bitterness, frustration, stress out of doing everything all alone and being deprived of a few of joys in a relationship suck off all the juices out of our bond. Blame it on the barrier, the unavoidable barrier called, sickness.

Individuals like me, who live with chronic sicknesses are always very aware of how much our partners do for us. I often feel very selfish and guilty for being such a burden to others, to my wife. One husband says, “My wife lives with the illness, and I live with her. So, in a way, I live with the illness, too”. And these reactions of our partners hit us all the more as we can’t do anything about our own illness. Although if we think from their point of views, we understand how hurting it is for them as well. Again, blame it on the unavoidable barrier called, sickness

How to deal with this barrier in a relationship if we can’t avoid it or break it forever? I can share TWO major ways how I deal with it, though I struggle a lot at times even when I apply all my own tactics.

ACCEPTING the fact
It is applicable for both the sick partner and for the healthy partner. A sick partner should not feel bad or feel guilty of being a burden to his or her partner and the healthy partner should accept the fact s/he has to live with it. Instead of grumbling s/he should find ways to live with it happily otherwise it becomes more taxing for both of them. Accepting also means, keeping the communication channel open to talk about each other’s deepest and darker feelings considering the vulnerabilities of the relationship they both are in. Due to ill health all the time, a couple often feel sad, angry and overwhelmed and it is of utmost importance if they both open up and encourage each other to talk about their feelings without being judgemental.  Accepting is also knowing and understanding the painful thoughts and emotions that pop into our heads due to the presence of chronic sickness of one partner in a relationship. I haven’t seen her treating me as a sick person but have always considered my ill-health by doing things before even I ask her to do. That is her way of accepting me and my share of responsibility on her shoulders.

ALLOWING unthinkable space (or grace)
These kind of relationships are rare and should be managed differently as well. A person like me who suffers almost all the days of the year needs space to regain my strengths, joys and happiness to live further. And this happens almost regularly as the sickness is a regular affair. Similarly, the other partner, who does everything for his or her sick partner needs an enormous amount of mental space and strength to stay encouraged. Instead of terming it as Allowing Space, I will call it Allowing Grace to each other to pacify the barrier of sickness in the relationship. I’ve learnt to just eat whatever she cooks. That helps her not to be so worried about what to cook and how to cook. I don’t even interrogate her about where she goes and what she does. That is my way of allowing space or grace for what she has been doing for me all these years. Allowing that grace to her is in my hand and I do it wholeheartedly. When I shout or don’t talk with people, she makes others understand the reason and they understand it. She doesn’t look into my mobile or inspect what I do all day. This is her way of allowing grace to me.

Have I overcome this barrier forever? No, I can’t. But I am still managing to break a hole in it to keep my relationship with her alive and kicking.

It will be amazing when we take responsibility of managing to break through any barriers and make each of our existing relationships a sanctuary where each person can be seen and loved for who they are. 

Stay Blessed!

MAKE SOME SPACE FOR LOVE

Set the alarm for the next day, have put the kids to sleep, hand cream ✔️, moisturizer ✔️, time to hit the sack and before calling it a day one important ritual to perform. Praying ❎, Reading a book ❎, Writing diary ❎, it’s a ritual followed more religiously, relentlessly – social media surfing. Yes, this is my confession laced with a teaspoonful of embarrassment and gallons of regret. What is so embarrassing and regretful about surfing the social networking / media sites, the world is on it. Yes it is but somehow it is not being utilised the way it was intended to. I understand this is becoming quite a confused narration and preachy by miles. Let me make it more comprehensible, let me give you a detour of my state of mind few days back.

Scenario 1: I have a moderately right leaning ideology when it comes to political view. So when I find material vis a vis reflecting or condonig the same, I proceed further to check the comment section. That’s the trigger point!! I find people disagreeing, that is still fine but people abusing particular ideologies, preferences, religious beliefs hurts and anguishes me the most. The level of discord within reaches to an extent of leaving me fuming within myself. Be it Twitter, Facebook, Youtube – the content I am consuming is giving me information but the anger /resentment it fans is unmatchable. Looking at disturbed me even my husband expressed his fear of me being overtly getting effected or absorbed by sort of lunacy that seeks validation of viewpoints.

Scenario 2: Due to my family issues I have no social life whatsoever. And a peek into others’ lives via Facebook or Instagram made me feel “what a life!!” (Others’ life) and “what life😔” (my side of the fence). This emotion is not a regular affair though, yet been quite an acquaintance.

So in the first instance it’s the anger and resentment and in the second scenario it’s self pity that filled my heart. And these strong negative emotions are nothing less than weeds that once start yielding can empty our hearts of its rightful owner – LOVE. Anger left unattended turns into hatred, self pity whereas have many cousins like dissatisfaction, jealousy, pessimism. And together they are toxins of higher order that engulfs our wisdom, dwarfing us to mere numbers for government records.

So what did I do? I deactivated my twitter, uninstalled my Instagram, Facebook (account still active, me not so ), unsubscribed from many channels on YouTube and watching roast, reviews, creative stuff for entertainment and otherwise

Did it help? Yes, to a great extent. Mind is slowly decluttering. I don’t see countries falling Left, Right and Centre the way it was being projected. I have no idea about the mood swings or brawls taking place before or after that rosy picture that’s being posted on Facebook, then why I am losing out my mind and peace instead of enjoying the knitty bits of my life. My mental detoxification trial period has given me an important realisation :

There’s more to life than lifestyles and a set of ideologies.

Then what is impeding us from loving our life? Probably consuming the content without filter and discretion. Be it propaganda, entertainment or simply brand endorsements, vulnerable minds are the targets. Conscious and continuous efforts are put in to fine tune our minds sometimes to an extent of us belittling and putting down ourselves (and others too). This slow poison slowly drains out the logic and love out of her head and hearts. This is one of the prime reason for so much discontent, dissatisfaction, disorientation, hatred, abuse we see around. Respect and love for the most precious gift of life is lost!! This calls for a caution:

Consume the content, don’t get consumed by it.

End Note: Be pragmatic precisely. Devaluing the life itself is highly unpardonable and no amount of regret can restore the time lost in drawing parallels and nursing grudges. Loving your life have varied connotations. Self love – from skin care to designing and deciding career it’s more about “me” and “myself”. And nothing wrong with that because it’s always better to be a participant in your own life than a mere spectator. Whereas the deeper and profound aspect of loving life means to respect it, to be content from within, to appreciate it, finding peace within and reflecting / spreading it to everything and everyone around. Being content doesn’t necessarily mean not driven in life but what makes a difference is what is that driving force – jealousy/competition or service/token of gratitude. If we love our life the factors mentioned later are our drivers. Spend some more time with yourself, do something that you love or always wanted to do, infuse the lost interest in your life, rekindle your love for your life.

Social media isn’t demonic or forbidden ground to foray. There is a plethora of useful information that we can very well put into use for our skill or knowledge enhancement. So many instances of inspiring lives (not lifestyles but lives) get featured on these platforms that not only touch or motivate people but capable of changing life stories of many. To say the least a good source of entertainment. But it all depends on what we absorb, what amount of restrain we can put forth, how conscious we are. The idea was to make lives better, isn’t it? Then why we are letting toxins fill up our hearts and pouring out the nectar of love – love for ourselves, love for others and love for life itself?? Something to ponder.

I have learnt my lesson, have you?

SHUN THE BARRIER

Love is a beautiful feeling, an integral emotion and a wonderful experience altogether. Yet, love isn’t everything. And people come at the crossroads where they realize that love isn’t working anymore. Disagreement, turmoil, shortcomings and other disturbances ruin love, the basis of every relation.

Ujjwala, found her love during her yoga classes. A man used to learn yoga along with her. It was love at first sight. Both got attracted to each other and became close friends. Though she was madly in love, she refused to settle down with him because his nationality was different and there were many religious and social constraints too. Consequently, they went their separate ways.

Many relations succumb to the pressure from the couples and end their relationships. But, some people also stand up against such barriers, not caring about how they will be judged and treated. However, when the people in relationships become the barrier, the relation is bound to break.

Another friend of mine was highly disturbed lately because money was being a problem in his relationship. It was getting difficult for him to live on a foreign land and maintaining an expensive lifestyle. Though his wife was earning equally good amount, she wasn’t contributing in household expenses and refused to do so. As a result, my friend has got an aversion for his wife now!

Emotional barriers also make the relationships vulnerable. Fear of rejection, lack of faith, past experiences, etc., can impact the current relation and resist the people in developing a deeper connection. 

Love is a vital energy, yet the feeling of being loved can be often taken for granted. Love knows no boundaries, yet the boundaries get created sometimes in a relation, knowingly or unknowingly.

Be understanding, forgiving and appreciating to remove the barriers to love.

“OUR Love must be TRUE and WE SHOULD shun all the barriers AND WHAT IS EVIL IN RELATIONSHIPS.”

THE SELF – A BARRIER IN EXPRESSING AND EXPERIENCING LOVE

Love, being an intrinsic human attribute and need, cannot be effectively caged behind bars. It always yearns for expression. However, love cannot always be expressed and/ or experienced sans roadblocks. Though love faces many barriers in its way, I will talk about one major hiccup to expressing and/ or experiencing love.

The fly in the ointment is none other than SELF.

A few examples –

Joy could never love his wife, no matter how hard she tried to please him. Joy knew this was injustice for his wife, but he did not want to deal with it. The emotional baggage that he was carrying was proving hazardous for his marriage. His mother had deserted him and his father when he was a child. His devoted father had raised him up single-handedly. He had often heard his father lament about his wife of few years whom he had loved a lot. When Joy got married, he decided not to love his wife so that if she deserted him (as his mother had done), he would not whine away the remaining years of his life. Joy erected HIMSELF as a barrier between expressing and experiencing love. In his desire not to get hurt by his wife, he was hurting himself and his wife and was leading a lovelorn life.

Koyna never wanted to enter into a relationship with a man. She saw her friends in stable relationships, but spurned all proposals that came her way. She had grown up seeing her mother at the mercy of her abusive father and had decided in childhood itself that she would never be with a man. There were times in which she felt lonely and in desperate need for the arm of a comforting man around her. But, she had determined that it is better to be safe than sorry. Nightmares of her childhood haunted her all the while. Koyna had erected HERSELF as a barrier between expressing and experiencing love. She chose to stay away from smelling flowers, lest she ended up being stung by a bee.

Shikha had an avoidant attitude towards all her colleagues. No one’s hospitality could prompt her to socialise with others. She sat alone during lunch hours, never went for staff picnics, never attended official parties and never spoke beyond work with anyone whenever she spoke at all. She was fighting an emotionally draining legal battle with her estranged husband. Her health had begun to slide downhill. Her colleagues knew it all and few of them showed genuine concern and love. But, Shikha had erected HERSELF as a barrier between expressing and experiencing love. Her aloofness was killing her from within and from without as she refused to admit entry to genuine care.

Robin was a chain-smoker. No attempts by his devout parents to make him quit smoking were ever successful. He had screwed up his academics and had no fear of God or man. His younger sister had fallen off the terrace to her death when he was six years old. He had never been able to come to terms with it. Initially, he had held God responsible for not saving his sister. Later, he went on to proclaim himself as an atheist, going out of his ways to defy the existence of God and condemn anyone who spoke of God. He held his parents responsible for having built no parapets on the terrace of their new house which led to his sister’s death. Robin had erected HIMSELF as a barrier between expressing and experiencing love. He could not experience God’s love. He was bitter within and venomous without as he rejected the healing that love provides.

The names mentioned in the above examples are fictional, but the stories are not. When we hoist ourselves as barriers in the way of love, the natural inflow and outflow of love is hindered. A build up of plaque in the arteries reduces blood flow to the heart which can eventually cause a heart attack. A blockage in the pulmonary vein obstructs blood from flowing out of the heart and similarly leads to heart failure. It is only when the obstruction or the blockage is treated and removed that smooth inflow and outflow of blood to and from the heart is resumed and the person gets better gradually.

Life events are not always fair. We do not have answers to all the ‘whys’ of life. There are episodes which are within our control and some which are out of our control that leave us shattered. When we carry the baggages of these events and obstruct the expressing and experiencing of love, we start stifling ourselves towards a death of our souls.

SEEK HELP REMOVE THE BLOCKAGE

It is injustice to self, to wallow in the bitterness of life events when help is available to deal with those emotional baggages. At times, the issues are ongoing ones and a one-time cure is not sufficient. At times multiple surgeries are required to remove blockages completely. Seek constant help from the source available to you (it may be from a friend, a colleague, parents, Counselor or any mature understanding confidante) so that the blockage is removed and the barrier-less inflow and outflow of love is resumed.

HELP REMOVE THE BLOCKAGE IN OTHERS

We may undoubtedly have people around us who have erected themselves as barriers to expressing and experiencing love. Sensible sensitivity on our part would help them come out of their self-made cocoons. A hurting person would not instantly welcome your intervention or accept your suggestion for seeking professional intervention. What helps make the way in such cases is prayer. There is no barrier that is impossible for God to remove. Fervent intercession on behalf of such people would gradually make them open to work towards demolishing the impenetrable SELF that has stood tall long enough to make their lives loveless.

There are many barriers to love, but a conscious erection of the SELF as a roadblock mostly goes unnoticed or is often ascribed to other more obvious causes.