Posts Tagged With: Conversation

Chronic advice-pusher

There is someone related to me who always has some sort of “you should” comment for whatever I say. It would nice to be able to be close to this person, but their need to know and subsequent criticism has made it very unsafe for me (and the remaining relationship). So I did tell this person how I felt belittled and even demeaned by the impression they convey of how I am an imcompetent twit who only makes bad decisions or cant make decisions. The open conversation solution worked for about two minutes as far as their interaction style, but I felt better enough about myself after to be able to stick to the weather and not resent this person.

Filed in my “change yourself because you can’t change the other person” folder.

As someone who’s had to deal with “unsolicited advisors” in my family and my social circles, I am not sure that I agreed that all I did in a conversation is complain. I could be sharing the happiest news of my life and still receive advice on what I should do now to make things even better. Also, I’ve gone the “how about this weather?” route, and I’m not a huge fan. I still use it when I have to, but that just means I can never have a meaningful conversation with this person again even though I want to maintain our relationship.

How about being responsible for what I say that triggers those suggestions? Don’t mention problems. Don’t share annoyances. Stick to all the hundreds of things that are awesome in my life and talk about that. Also, LISTEN more and ASK more questions. 

No, it still doesnt work.

I know people who see everything as a complaint they need to fix. I could say, What a gorgeous sunrise this morning and they’ll respond, You shouldn’t have looked out the window! You could hurt your eyes! 

Some people are pushy buttinskies, but some people’s personalities mean they like to solve problems. If you’re telling me about your situation in a what-should-I-do way, I am going to offer advice, unless you tell me, “I’m just using you as a sounding board here.”  

Years ago I went through a professional Training Programme, and I came away with a few life-changing understandings:

1. Offering an easy fix (i.e., unsolicited advice) to someone else’s problem indicates that you think you can fix a difficult situation after listening to a problem for 10 minutes. It’s not respectful of the hours and days of wrestling the person has spent on the problem already, and more often than not, snap advice offers an “obvious” but unworkable solution. 

2. Are you planning to take responsibility for the outcome if someone takes your snap advice, especially if it doesn’t work out as predicted? The person themself will have to live the consequences, so they’d best make the decision themself.

Easier said than done, aint it?

For me, hearing somone continually moaning about an issue while doing nothing to fix it feels like watching a toddler trying to fit the square peg into the round hole and screaming in frustration. I do adjust when my friend requests a simple sounding board, but at some point, please stop asking me to be your partner in this conversation.

Ugh.

Some “Unsolicited Advice-Givers” are also subtle, manipulative “fishers”…they get their self-worth from fishing for other people’s problems, sometimes without even asking the person directly (they ask others what is going on or go through other’s things). People like this use other people’s problems as a way to avoid dealing with their own. Their closet has more skeletons than anyone else because they are too afraid to deal with their own problems first—then when they are called out for being meddling, play victim, whining about how they “try so hard and noone is grateful for their help”. No—they are just upset that they have nothing better to do than face their own demons. (For the record, I have a family member like this, who I’ve had to try to avoid as much as I can for decades because of this unhealthy obsession with this person wanting to fight other people’s battles).

Remember:

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Tuesdays with Morrie:

I re-read Tuesdays with Morrie  and its still very poignant and evocative! Reminds me of the goodness in humanity. It is a life affirming book that teaches some crucial Life Lessons. I believe there are some core truths that apply to life, which this book might not help us in finding them in their entirety, but everyone has a Morrie in their life who remind them of truths forgotten and teach a few new truths as well.

In this book, Mitch chronicles the wisdom imparted by his mentor, Morrie, on many troubling TWMquestions about human existence. . Life is full of questions. Unfortunately we rarely ask them. And if we ever do, we never seem to ask the right person. Morrie’s wisdom puts all of it in perspective – with uncommon courage, humor, patience and candor. Sometimes it takes the wisdom of a dying man to jog our mind enough to realize that human relationships and health are more important than all the gadgets, modern conveniences, pressures to get ahead professionally and monetarily combined. When facing death, it will be who I have loved, what I have given, who has loved me and what I have gained from my relationships with others.

Many of us have gotten obsessed with the real trivialities of life. It’s a reminder to appreciate the simple, little things in life. It’s a reminder that when you’re dead, the things you’ve accumulated and the things you’ve done will disappear. What will remain is the ways that you’ve affected or touched other people. You can live your life where you’ll be able to look back at the end and feel peace and contentment.

Various topics covered in this book are thought provoking and a good starting point to begin evaluating our life and asking the big questions about what really matters. If nothing else, they make you pause.

  • Have you found someone with which to share your heart?
  • Are you giving to your community?
  • Are you at peace with yourself?
  • Are you trying to be as human as you can be?”

The author’s reluctance to answer had me wondering how I would answer. These are the answers that I don’t want to fail. It’s one that I want to practice everyday to master. As instructed by Morrie: Do what the Buddists do. Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I being the person I want to be?

If you have been following my blog for long, you will understand why the following quote resonates with me:

“There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.”

Morrie’s ability to look at the silver lining of every cloud, to constantly perceive every glass as half full instead of half empty, to always find a reason to celebrate the entirety of his life as opposed to decrying the pain and the miserably small amount of time left to him was truly inspiring. It’s not a story about being something…it’s a story about just being. It zeroes right in on what’s important versus what we think is important.

This slim volume is full of platitudes and isn’t going to tell you anything you haven’t heard before from parents, mentors and grannies. Earlier we nodded sagely at the advice and then goes on behaving exactly as before. But it may make you listen with a different perspective. I think this book is a wonderful recap of a similar journey you may have had. For those who want to give a thought to the purpose of their existence or discover the value of relationships, this might be the wake up call to start aligning daily thoughts, actions and activities in line with what you find most important.

The author, Mitch Albom, has paid his old professor Morrie Schwartz an unforgettable tribute. While I admire the Mitch Albom’s love for his former professor, the visits didn’t seem to change him. I wanted Albom to show some emotion. The book ultimately suffers from one fact: it’s often hard to put into words the profound effect that one person can have on another.

Everyone reads a book differently, through the filter of his or her own world view. NY Times in its book review slams this book and its shallowness however it can’t be denied to be read. “Tuesdays with Morrie” will leave you pondering on your journey and all those who have inspired and helped you make it this far.

My Two-cents: There is something about this book which continues to be among one of my re-read books. Along with Mitch, I became a student of Morrie. And for what that’s worth, I recommend it. Its veracity makes it heart-rending.

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I would do anything for love, but I won’t do…

I am blessed to be in a family who are proof that love exists and when I see old couples in love, it bestows my faith in it a notch higher. Even all my besties have had love marriages (will talk about arranged marriage some other time) which makes me believe in love. They always stump me when I see them going that extra mile for their loved one and later confuse me by cribbing how effort they have to put by living together. My failed relationships are like silver lining. I have my lessons learnt and although I would do anything for love, but____:

  • I can never be an early-riser. I will seek my silent-time in the morning where I enjoy a cup of tea and read the newspaper or simply take a little while to get going. No, I am not grumpy or in zombie-like state. Everyone takes a little time to wake up every morning, right?
  • I won’t give up a night-time bathing ritual. Nothing relaxes me more after a long day of commute and work. A warm shower before snuggling in bed..!
  • I will never share my toothbrush. Hell no!! Ick…
  • I won’t pick up dirty stinky socks or underwear if your habit is to come in the house and drop your coat over a certain chair instead of hanging it up or putting in laundry basket. I will simply move the chair from its place.  If this causes you to think then hang the coat where it belongs.
  • I will continue to enjoy my sweet cravings at night. Please, feel free to dig in my tiramisu or mud cake.
  • I will not enjoy conversations with “Mm hmm, mm hmm, yep…” while simultaneously playing Angry Birds or checking emails or when you’re glued to your iPhone.
  • Flowers are beautiful but bringing long-stemmed roses on self-proclaimed days such as Valentines or on obvious-days like birthday/anniversaries – please No! Peonies or Orchids are even better (if you’re asking).
  • I will not be swayed by inking my name on my wrist or nape of my neck or any body part; or ‘wishing’ I get your name inked on me. A temporary tattoo might be fun, if you may insist!
  • Getting me a ‘a little something’ because you like it sounds selfish to me. I will prefer something which I like so keep listening on the suggestions which I make.
  • I will not enjoy threesome everyday – me, my partner and TV. A quiet evening over a cup of tea or wine and talking about earlier holidays or to plan for one will count as quality time.
  • I don’t think a nickname shows intimacy so don’t call me names like babes or sexy or hottie – Hell no! I believe my nick-name (wait for it – ‘Sweety’) is far more sweeter. I will bend the rule if called Sweetheart!
  • It’s fine to want to be in constant contact, but give some time to miss each other. Smother me with chocolates and perfumes, not with texts and calls.
  • I will nurture my other relationships too. Weekend with my family, close friends or relatives without you is not asking for much, once in a while.
  • I will not remember our fights as I suffer from memory lapse. Lucky you, I break the myth of how females remember the fights. I believe in living in the present! Lets remember the lesson learnt and start afresh after each fight or should I say ‘tiff’. Do not “keep a scorecard” to justify current righteousness unless they are legitimately connected.
  • I will not find small and petty ways to piss you off. I will tell you what actually is upsetting me and then the ball is in your court.
  • It’s really so much about communication. As long as we tell each other what we are expecting or thinking, everything should be fine!

Note: This list is in draft-phase. With passing years, points will be added or reduced based on my relationship with my imperfect partner.

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Who writes letters these days?

As I was struggling to fill up a bank deposit slip for my nana, he pointed out to my sloppy writing. “Who writes these days?” I sheepishly defended myself. “Well, you should as you did earlier in your beautiful cursive handwriting”, said my nana softly. When we returned home, he opened a wooden box which had neatly stacked papers. He took out a brown envelope and scooped out few pages. I froze. They were my letters written to him. We sat together, read the letters and recollected those special memories. He read me his favorite parts from few letters- embarrassing school incidents, stupid complaints of my mother, pranks at school and ofcourse my class grades. Really?? I wrote all that to him?? I am glad that I did, because now I experienced each incident in my life twice: once when it actually happened, and once again when we read them.

Back then, when internet was not heard of, one of the most cheapest way of communication was letters. I remember writing letters to my family and friends, and kissing the envelopes before I put them in the mailbox hoping that they are not lost in transit.

Letters are like timeless little snowflakes of love being send to the people we love. Words are wrapped with love for whoever reads it and it builds a special bond which could be treasured forever and indeed are our conversations with the future. They are like journals, which tell stories of our lives to our beloved ones. When I returned to Mumbai, I brought my old box with me. It had some of the most cherished letters from a time when I didn’t really appreciate them but was glad I kept anyway. Reading old letters is like treasure hunting. Somewhere in those faded paper, there is a story that was packed away for years.

A handwritten letter is risky too. Unlike emails, handwritten letters can’t be re-read as soon as they are put in the mailbox, and couldn’t be un-send too. Once sent, it is gone. It is an object that no longer belongs to you but to the one whom it is sent. I often remembered the feeling of what I could have said more than the words which I wrote. More so, it is a one-sided conversation where I can’t see the reaction of the person I have written to, so there’s a great unknown feeling that requires a leap of faith. I have to choose the right words to express in sentences, and then, once the envelope is sealed, I have sent my thoughts to someone else, trusting that the feelings will be understood and intent correctly interpreted.

I suppose, there is a power in the act of handwriting. Have you noticed that the handwriting changes with emotions? They Talk. They Emote. They have life to them. They are thoughtful, honest and original. How childish to think that could be easy.

Well, in digital life of quick phone calls, emails, whatsapp, and snapchat, it’s so easy to never to find the time to write letters. I was so sandwichbusy zip-zapping through my life and looking for ways of connecting with everyone around the world – on my side and the other, that I somehow forgot about my special ‘sandwiched’ generation who are struggling to pace up with us. To be able to write beautiful words to the ones you love is a lost art gone with texting and cell phones. That’s a great pity -for me. I am starting to feel that with every breakthrough (or breakdown) in communication technology, our social connections, although admittedly more frequent, are becoming less visceral.

When was the last time I wrote? By hand. Today evening, I wrote a letter to my nana. I feared that my handwriting letter won’t be legible to anyone but me. And this autocorrect and keyboard shortcuts has made me a lazy speller too. Initially I observed that I was much more reluctant to express my actual thoughts and emotions but soon it was not difficult to  out to pour my feelings, but quite a bit in writing them down. I hadn’t hand-written an entire page since long. I am glad that I did. I can imagine the happiness he would feel when he will tear the envelope to read my handwritten words. Handwriting is a disappearing art!!

Food for Thought: History would have been a mystery if our ancestors did not write them for us. We read those letters to get a better understanding of life, cultures and people way back 100 years. Will my blog be read to understand me? Will my emails to my friends and family be read in the same as I intended it to be? May be photographs and videos would come close, but the handwritten stuff is always close to heart. I feel that the memories can be best retained in the form of letters.

“And that my soul embraces you this hour, and we affect each other without ever seeing each other, and never perhaps to see each other, is every bit as wonderful.” – Who Learns My Lesson Complete? by Walt Whitman

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*Note to my future generations*

I stumbled upon a very sweet incredible but also very emotional piece in the NY Times where a mother,  Jacqueline Mooreis finding solace in sharing the memories of her son, Jordan, who passed away in 2010, through his Facebook page – It’s a presence unique in its way!!

In a strange way, with all due respect, I didn’t find this comforting. I don’t want my loved ones to die, but I don’t think I would be comfortable getting too terribly close to virtual representations of them. I might be unable to accept their absence but can’t bear their virtual presence. Of course, there is nothing wrong with looking through old photos of the loved one every once in a while, but surely it can’t be healthy to live 24-7 with a virtual representation of someone, instead of mourning them then letting them go. But it would not be comforting to have a virtual copy of a deceased loved one.

Technology is advancing so much that very soon people will communicate with their virtual persona even when they can no longer talk to their actual self. They can leave messages and post pictures and videos to their wall, almost as if they were still there. I think especially for friends and family members having this possibility brings up a cathartic effect. I find this an interesting but spooky.

We keep forgetting who we are as a person and who we are with respect to the internet – they are often entirely different personas. That’s certainly an issue with the Internet as we know it today. When you live your life online and have connections with lots of friends around the world you will only notice that a person doesn’t come online anymore. But it is very hard to know why.

**Note to future generations: After I’m gone, please let me rest in peace. I might find the concept of a social networking site active in my name quite disturbing. You can grieve for me, but after a while please recover and live life. I don’t want a piece of software forever reminding you of what you have lost or (even worse) growing and evolving over time into something very different from the original me.**

The other side of the coin is also fascinating – parents who create a social media presence for their children, I always wonder what will children think of their social network profiles when they get older. Will they be amazed or embarrassed or appreciate your effort of introducing you to the world when they were struggling to crawl? I am glad that internet was still being invented in remote areas when I was born. I would hide under the bed and never come out if my parents would have updated my facebook wall like a news feed, tweeted about my stupid innocent questions, instagram-ed every move and cute-bum, and snap-chatted every cry and smile.

BTW, That Can Be My Next Tweet is a cool time-waster app which tells your next tweet based on the DNA of your twitter stream – can we be so predictable? Unfortunately, I think we can….;) What about you?

Categories: Muddled Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I am not…

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Categories: Muddled Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Her story: His story

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Often than not, this is what starts pushing a relationship to an end, ain’t it?
  • We stop communicating but start assuming.
  • We stop validating our love but how we frequently inadvertently invalidate each other without realizing it
  • We stop seeing we love each other so much but start seeing how we could rip each other to shreds in times of conflict.
  • We stop becoming less aware and more reactive.
  • We hesitate to take that extra step but never to step back thus creating the distance.
  • We complain about space but shrug away an after-fight hug.
  • We miss romantic dinners for two but we eat dinner while watching tv at home.
  • We start noticing the grey hair but not the wisdom which comes with it.
  • We forget the loving conversations but do remember what the last fight was about.
  • We put our heart in creating our vows but not so much in keeping them.
  • We miss the long hand-in-hand walks but don’t walk our partner to the door when they leave for work.
  • We ache for sweet-nothings but often do not realize the ache our hard words cause.
  • We long for a passionate kiss but not enough to keep the passion alive.
  • We look deep into the eyes not to find what lies beneath it but to find the lies in it.
  • We have advice on what could have been done but never what should be done.
  • We hear the words but never listen to the feelings behind them.
  • We love the feeling of falling in love but forget the feeling of being in love!!

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Categories: Relationship | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Prisoners of our own device!

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Artist: Unknown

And before these there was only radio and television to kill the art of conversation, kissing and cuddling. What comes next? (“,)

We are loosing out because devices need charging after a few hours of running our fingers all over them. Smart phones and tablets are turning people into hunch-backed zombies! We can take the consumer to the wifi, but we can’t take the wifi out of the us.

What were those lyrics by the Eagles…ohhh “We are all just prisoners here of our own device”.

Categories: Muddled Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who is MissUnderstood Genius??

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Secret is out!! Few of my blogger friends curiously have asked me the story behind my blog name. Calvin and Hobbes is to be blamed however sneaked in an ‘s’ to Mis(s)understood to add a female touch!! 🙂

Why did I start blogging? Because I spoke my mind which led people to misunderstand me as it never came out clearly enough when I tried to speak. With time, I found it a little difficult to put across my thoughts and opinions with people who know me as then the conversation was biased as often advises were masked with a shield to protect me from the pitfalls of my decision. They don’t enforce me with theirs but they want to ensure that I have weighed it enough.

And sometimes, the advice is also layered with a social lace. Indian society lives under a constant social pressure and certain rules are to be subtly abided by (and unmarried ME in her 30s is no less than a national issue). As much as I respect them, I do not see any reason to made to feel guilty if one does not. Each dodge the rules to fit theirs but others are questioned if they do. Being a late bloomer when it came to keeping my thoughts to myself and learning to speak what people actually wanted to hear, I often wondered why did they discuss if they only want to hear what they want to hear. Everyone pretends to be ‘free thinkers’ but they don’t want someone to challenge their thinking process and lose their grasp on reality. Isn’t a conversation a two-way street? I override emotion and social norms during a personal conversation with friends or a life-changing event. I am not a social creature…I always and always want people to take their decisions solely for themselves. Ofcourse, its difficult but as my parents always say, don’t take decisions based on temporary feelings but wait-for-it…based on the big picture.

Why anonymous? Like many others, I use it as a legitimate excuse to procrastinate, rant and rave of what I process in my head. My family and friends consist of most amazing souls who believe in me. They know that I have a blog, and have been writing in it for almost 2 years but they have been considerate enough to let me keep it a secret. Or probably they are avoiding some of those awkward conversations?!! Whatever be their reason, my reason of maintaining anonymity is that I can write uninhibited.

What do I blog about? If you are that interested you will find out and then you can see for yourself but it’s just random misunderstood things from my life which are written under a different spotlight. Ufff, the difficulty of having a mind that understands that it will always be misunderstood!! It’s because everyone has different definitions of bring reasonable. Mine is just misunderstood. Thus, I turned towards blogging because here, everyone speaks a language they don’t understand, but which now and then is understood by others.

It’s never easy to bare your soul to the world! It took a lot of courage to write and put myself out there for the world to love, hate and sometimes ignore. There is a strange intimacy when you open yourself up and let someone read your thoughts, emotions and/or rants and raves— allowing someone to fondle your mind. Sometimes you just got to get naked and see what happens, isn’t it?

So now you know the story behind my blog name and a little about me as well. Want to know more about me? Simply ask and I will compile and have another post…:)

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Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

I didn’t hear ya…

For New Year, WordPress presented us with the annual report of our blog. As much as I was happy to see the fireworks I created in year 2013, I was intrigued with the fact that number of likes on my posts is not even remotely proportional to the comments I received. While the Likes increased, the comments decreased to the extent of being extinct.

How should I interpret that? You read it. But you didn’t say what it was exactly that you read. Or if you liked it. Or hated it. Or if it made sense. Or if you connected with it at all. Probably you just nodded and ran away, thinking that whatever it was that you read was ridiculous and/or boring.

WordPress Stats feature allows us to see how many people read our posts (Visits v/s Views), but we can’t tell who, unless there are Likes or Comments. It caused me to pause and seriously think about why I do or don’t post comments. I truly enjoy skimming various blogs each day and gleaning bits of info and perspective. Dawns on me that it is a disservice to follow a blog and never let the author know that I enjoy their posts except simply Liking it to let them know I stopped by and partaken of their offering.comment-vs-like

I do realize that it just isn’t everyone’s “thing” to comment on blog posts. Yes, I am guilty of this too. If it’s well-written, well-expressed, thought-provoking, that’s reason enough for me to show appreciation even without a comment. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have anything of value to say or am unable to break out of reader mode. Sometimes when I have all the intention of commenting, someone’s already posted a similar comment I intended to make. I just don’t want to repeat an idea that’s been presented…other than the occasional “I agree”. I have given thumbs-ups and likes to several really tricky blog topics over the years even if I didn’t necessarily agree with the subject itself as they spoke of other side of the coin. I do enjoy commenting as much as I enjoy reading comments of posts which I enjoyed reading and sometimes, I skim it through, if they are pretty long and straight to the comments for a summary. Guilty as charged!!!

Please-CommentWe invest so much time and effort in sharing our views to a virtual world and are often left wondering if we are really connecting. We don’t realize the value of engaging in this “online conversation” as it were. This is Internet. Its mean for open exchange of information and ideas.

Sure, there are the naysayers, and those whose only pleasure in life is to harass others just for the sake of harassment. They derail conversations with raving accusations of bias, attacking other people for not knowing as much as they do, criticizing the content for not being good enough, overly critical, offensive and sometimes very personal but for the most part they disappear into the background of the good stuff. It’s getting to the stage where people may become afraid of expressing a personal opinion just in case they upset others or are branded a troll. There are polite ways for someone to comment or voicing his/her bit of view on anything published. Comments are equally beneficial and equally destructive. Of course it’s very hard not to take some of it personally. But, lets respect the fact that it’s an opinion after all.

Comments give a different perspective to the post, shows another side of the coin because of the diverse audience from all around the world. I have stumbled across other interesting blogs because of either the comments left by another blogger, or by me “bumping” into a commenter on one blog after another. The same way I occasionally trek through my friends Facebook posts or pictures just because I saw one post and then I just keep on looking.

I am just hard-pressed to think it could be just plain laziness at my end. I would try to shrug this laziness and will be better at letting others know that I read. It goes back to one of my favorite sayings: “What goes around comes around!”

So much for free speech. If you don’t have time to comment, just click the Like button down there and to the left. I just want know you were here sometimes. LOL!

Categories: Muddled Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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