One thing my mom always stressed on in our relationships with other people- be it friends, cousins, family, whoever, was that we must be positive about other people’s choices in life without trying to judge them. Of course it wasn’t phrased like this- I doubt it would have made much sense to me and my sisters while growing up but it was there in everythng she says and does in her own life. Her persistent dictum was that everyone needs afffirmation and if you can be the one to provide it, kudos to you. Eventually you will be the happier more fulfilled person. As my siblings and I grew older, we used to poke fun at my mom for being a saint, because none of inherited the calmness she has (blame my dad) and as the years roll by, I find at a lot of times, it’s a task and half to be supportive of other people’s choices in life without expecting the same in return from them.
Someone I liked very much once told me, about me, that I have a heightened sense of “right” which makes me a scary person. If I do x much for someone, somewhere inside me, even I don’t show it or admit it (even to myself sometimes), I expect something from them too. “That makes me scary?” I asked him. “Yes, because everyone doesn’t feel the same way about equality in relationships. There are givers and takers.” Of course I called him jaded and he called me idealistic and we are still friends and all, but his words come back to me sometimes, especially when I have been let down in whatever way by someone who I didn’t expect to be let down by.
When a cousin married at 21 and I didn’t quite agree with child marriage, I told her she was lucky that she was happy that she was doing what she wanted. When another one gave into the pressures of arranged, I told her she was lucky he seemed so understanding. When a friend dropped out of college to marry, I told her that it would be good because she would egt done with the children stuff and get back to her work comfortably later- when the rest of us would be having kids. Another friend I know gained immense amounts of weight after baby number 2, and I never once mentioned it at all. I figure it’s a choice to ignore the bad things that are happening to people and look for the good, because eys the good does exist however camouflaged it is. Why can’t people do that? Why does that random friend of mine who has become neurotically hyper after her very early three kids have the leeway to tell me that I have become “fat” (god i hate that word- it’s SO offensive)? Did I happen to mention to her she’s become insane? And why did my career inclined relative find it hilarious that I have joined the ranks of the stay home moms? Did I find it hilarious that her husband and her work so hard they don’t see each other?
I agree with my mom that overall for yourself and inner peace and what not, when you see positive strains in how other people, that is what you will automatically start to do so yourself too. In concept and principle, it’s perfect. A win win formula but then, when the reality of real live relationships takes over, where sometimes you need more than you can give or end up giving more than you will ever get, it’s then that you feel the halo start to slip a little.