Q1.If there is somebody who has wronged me, how can I be loving and kind to that person? Does that mean I need to accept everything that's being thrown at me? Can't I be angry with a person for the right reasons?
One can always get angry at a person.
But it is not beneficial to hold on to the anger. There is a difference between being angry at the ' action' of a person and being angry at the person. When one is angry at the action of a person, it becomes easier to utilise this anger in a constructive manner to take proactive action. It can also serve as a driving force for a greater cause, as in the case of Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.
On the other hand, anger towards a person only serves us to take personal revenge at most. This anger can become a reason for overwhelming emotional drain, which gradually weakens one. One of the proven effective ways to remain emotionally balanced and efficient is through the practice of Metta meditation, or Loving Kindness meditation. Practising Metta helps us become more calm, centred, balanced, compassionate and empathetic. It helps us go beyond emotional turmoil and think clearly and neutrally. Through practice one gets trained to appreciate the goodness in people in spite of their faults. But it also means if one has to stand up against a ' wrong' act, one can do so in a calm and collected manner.
Q2.I feel my whole family, except my father, judges me all the time. My sister is very close to my mom and somehow even though I want to connect with my mom I can't, because my mom tells everything to her. If I do something wrong, my mom always tells my sister first instead of coming up to me and this is leaving me helpless.
Her opinions about me get influenced by my sister's opinions and the whole judging process starts. Please help because I don't like the idea of not sharing anything with my mom just because of my sister.
We all want to prove that we are correct. So as we make assumptions and conclusions about people and situations, we simultaneously look for ways to prove to ourselves that we are right. When you make an assumption that ' my whole family except my father judges me all the time', unconsciously a part of you tries to prove that you are right. We develop a tendency to look at only those situations which highlight our assumptions/ beliefs. It might be possible that your mom is not sure how to communicate with you or is too apprehensive about your reaction.
We would suggest that you try spending time with your mom.
Initially try talking in general, sharing something casual and not emotionally charged. Don't try to address this ' hot topic' very fast, as it might lead to an argument, justifications or accusations. Wait for some time and when you are ready you can maybe go out with her and have a heart- to- heart chat about how you feel, just the way you are telling us, without blaming her.
Gently express yourself to her.
Reassure her with your behaviour.
Say that you are open and would welcome anything from her directly rather than coming from somebody else. Be brave and prove to her that you can take any criticism or advice calmly when it comes from her directly. Do not expect magic. You may have to do this many a time before she changes her communication pattern. Be patient.
Be gentle. Do not lose your cool. Do not retreat into your shell. Calmness and patience are the keys here.
Q.3.A) You have advised us to communicate one's needs. I tell my partner that I need his appreciation. He says that he is not that kind of a person and he won't be able to do all this.
B) My husband travels a lot and when he comes home, he is busy with his family, friends and his photography. I feel rejected and lonely. In spite of trying to explain my problem, he does not listen.
In both your cases, you'll have explained yourselves in every possible way, gently, calmly without blaming and still it possibly did not work. Having done so, when you choose to stay in the relationship, the only thing that can be done is to try and accept your partner the way he is, and make peace with the fact that probably you cannot ' make him' understand you, trust you, or give you love the way you want it. You can only work on yourself, your need for appreciation and your need for assurance that he trusts you or that he does not reject you.
For example, if you have a bedridden patient in your house, you would not expect him/ her to go answer the doorbell. Similarly, try to accept your husband's inability to appreciate you, if you want to have a relationship without fights.
Sometimes we do not get what we want. Introspect on your relationship. Many times the way we understand the expression of love is different from that of our partner.
Some express love verbally. Others express love in terms of spending quality ' us' time, and few show love silently by standing beside you when you need them in times of crisis.
Problem arises when two partners communicate in two different love languages. Not only does each expect his/ her partner to understand his/ her language but also reciprocate the love in their own language. An important aspect of relationships is to try and understand and accept the differences.
( Names have been withheld)
Dr Sangbarta Chattopadhyay and Dr Namita Bhuta are medical practitioners, psychotherapists and life coaches Share your problems with them.