Relationships define the identity of any living being. Lets do a deep dive into this topic as we simplify the underlying complexities of this innocuous word, presented in a lucid, conversational style.
Q: The word relationship itself carries a ‘ship’ and it is this ship that carries our relation from birth to its existence. The paramount question that comes to our mind is, “What is a relationship and how would you define a perfect relationship?”
A: A relationship is a correspondence. So when I say correspondence, it is between two people or more than two people. There is a transmitter and there is a receiver. So right now, you are speaking to me, I am replying to you. So there is a correspondence between you and me. You are receiving whatever I’m saying, you are transmitting whatever you wish to say. So you have two components, reception and transmission. Similarly, I have two components, reception and transmission. So in this relationship between two people, there are four things happening. You are a receiver and transmitter, I am a receiver and transmitter. So this is as far as the relationship is concerned.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. There is a happy relationship or an unhappy relationship. When you say there is a happy relationship, then the expectations are fulfilled. Therefore, you are happy, I am happy. Our relationship is happy. Expectations are not fulfilled, and therefore, we have an unhappy relationship. Now I’m talking of two extremes, happy and unhappy. But life always does not operate at extremes, it operates in between. So, either you are partially happy—when I say partially, it could be, just to peg some figures, 25% happy, 50% happy, 75% happy, or 100% happy. So, there are degrees of happiness. So in a relationship, there are degrees of happiness. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship.
Q: So these degrees can be worked upon?
A: Sure. I can work towards making this relationship happier. Let’s say if it was 25/75, 25% happy and 75% unhappy, I can work towards making it 50/50. If I reach 50/50, I can work towards making it 75/25. Yes, it can be worked upon.
Q: So it’s a continuous process?
A: If you want it to be. Many times we are unconscious of our relationships. Take, within our own families. You are living with your parents, you are unconscious of the kind of relationship you are having with your parent till somebody points out, “Hey, you are rude to your father, you are misbehaving with your mother.” Or somebody says, “Father is a very cranky person, he’s shouting all the time.” You got accustomed to that behaviour and it doesn’t bother you, so you are not aware that this relationship is not the happiest relationship and I need to work on it. Till somebody points out that it needs working upon or till it becomes unbearable for you, and then either you dissociate, break the relationship, or you work on the relationship and try to make it more harmonious.
Q: But many times, or I think it’s always, expectations are intrinsic to humans. So how do we manage that in a relationship?
A: That’s a good word you used. Because everybody has expectations. And it’s not wrong to have expectations. Expecting a particular result is fine, but insisting that the same result should happen, that’s unrealistic. I can expect to score 100 marks in an exam, nothing wrong with expecting that. But if I score 99 and I become terribly upset that I missed one mark, that’s unrealistic. Because I must be mature enough to accept—that’s the second word—accept what comes my way. When the expectation is not fulfilled, the next best thing is to accept the result. It doesn’t mean tolerate the mediocre. By no stretch of imagination I’m suggesting that you should tolerate the mediocre. Yes, I had an expectation of a 100% result. I scored 78%. So there is a scope for improvement by 22%. Next time, I scored 87%. I still have a gap of 13%. I may never reach 100%, but striving to improve on yesterday is the key. That’s the only way I can improve my status as of today.
Do share with us your learnings or thoughts on this topic.