Tuesday, August 30

You, Me and Stress (Part 5)

Aloha!

5's my lucky number and so, I'm going to make this post a little more personal and special...


A valuable point I came across in the Mars-Venus book (apart from those that I’ve already shared earlier) is the 90/10 principle. This means that men provide only 10% of the peace and happiness that women desire; the other 90% is what the woman herself is responsible for and it comes from various people in various ways. So, if a woman desires 100% support from her partner at every juncture, she’s setting herself up for disappointment. A woman is wrong in expecting her partner to be her primary source of love, support and understanding.


BOOM! Did I just wreck your world? Mine sure did…


I’ve lived my entire life believing that women rely on men for everything tiny and huge. So what if they can now earn and fend for themselves, a man is still supposed to be chivalrous and give a woman every damn thing be it mental, physical, emotional or material. Apparently not.


As Gray says, “let him top it off”, which basically means you have to be already happy for him to please you, else nothing he does will be satisfactory.


No wonder then that I have often experienced and expressed disapproval when a guy did not live up to my expected action or reaction. I was down in the dumps and waiting for him to lift me and place me on the throne, when in reality I had to be the one hauling myself up and steadying myself so that he could come and seat me down.


Let me be honest – this sounds unfair and absolutely ridiculous to me. I mean if he cannot be there to help in times of need, then why is he there in the first place? If I can’t count on him to make me smile, then why should I stand by him when he’s crying? Just because being kind and caring comes naturally to me and not to him does not mean that he seeks solace from me and I keep getting frustrated and lonely in unpleasant situations...


And let me confess, I’ve often ended friendships due to this reason. If I am there for you, I expect you to be there for me. If you endlessly approach me only in difficulty or boredom, I’m certainly not going to hang around forever as you abandon me when life dishes me out troubles. It’s gotta be just and rational, right? I ain’t a saint!


The author lists out 100 things a woman should do to make herself feel nice. Which isn’t such a bad idea, after all. I’ve ticked out 20-odd activities that I engage in when I want to pamper myself or just take it easy. A few examples? Visit the salon, go shopping, catch up with girlfriends, sing, read and blah.


The gist being, that when a woman is upset, she ought to talk to a friend or a counsellor or herself (in the form of writing a journal or speaking to the mirror), rather than her partner. A man will 98% of the times say something inappropriate and further stress her. So, the woman needs to calm down herself and then when she is relaxed, speak to her partner if she desires. A guy can only solve problems, not discuss them and give emotional bliss.


Sigh.


That’s a very pertinent and profound realization. One that can possibly mend a million relationships around the world. At least for women like me, who harbour absurd beliefs about their partners and relationships…


Here is an attention-grabbing paragraph: When men take time for themselves, women tend to feel rejected and neglected. The opposite is true for men; by taking time out for herself, a woman actually helps a man feel like a success in the relationship. Leaving a man alone and ignoring him is sometimes the best way support him. But women do not grasp this because they feel neglected or last priority when he doesn’t anticipate her needs. The truth is his brain does not work the same way! A man wants a woman to do less for him, and let him do more for her, in order to feel successful. Men need to feel needed and women need to feel they are not alone.


The writer goes on to elaborate about how women keep score in their relationships where points are given and cut for every single thing that both partners do or not do. It does not matter whether the action is big or small. Something that men do not comprehend. They do one big thing and then relax, forgetting that it only means one point. Instead, they can do ten tiny things that are meaningful and would earn them ten brownie points! So, it is not what you do, it is how much you do that counts.


Important: Hugs get men more points than actually providing for the family. Showing interest and concern are also easy ways to win. And voicing a thought before performing the action also doubles the number of points earned. Ka-ching!


There are also a 100 ways enumerated that a man can achieve more points with a woman. Examples are compliment her, love notes, common courtesies, hugs and verbal expressions of love, etc. (These I’ve ticked more than 30 of… not surprising, eh?)


Women, being experts at racking up points, also compute their man to be a zero when she seems to have done a lot more than him. A man is happy when he is winning, but when a woman has more points, she feels like she is losing. She needs their points to be balanced to feel his love and support. Receiving and giving need to be balanced for her to feel secure and happy about their relationship.


When women begin to feel they are not getting enough in return, they tend to give with strings attached. They give with negativity and anger, and count how much they are getting in return. She may still love her partner, but is willing to end the relationship as she feels resentful and dissatisfied. She has nothing left to give.


But let’s not end on a gloomy note. Here’s a juicy titbit… Especially for men and women of the 21st century :-)

Sex helps men release stress. They easily roll over and sleep. This is because they have a need for distance immediately after sex. On the other hand, women have a greater need to connect at that time.

Both need to understand their different needs, and make some minor changes if they want to be happy together and avoid bad feelings. Coz finally, these get pent up and lead to an explosion in the future that can destroy both their peace and joys.


Hope these pointers are helping you sort out the ruffles in your relationship! I'm planning to take a print out and post them all over my house when I'm married... Never know when one of these wise words will prove advantageous and effective...


So long!


Cheerio!
Princess


Friday, August 19

Woo hoooo!!

I’M OFF TO LEH - LADAKH FELLAS !!!


SEE YA WHEN I GET BACK…


ASTA LA VISTA :-)


Travellingly yours,
Princess

Monday, August 15

Been There, Done That

Now usually this phrase is used to talk about times when a person wants to show off his capability, versatility and experience.

I plan to do just the reverse. I’m going to tell you exactly how ineffective and na├»ve I’ve been in so many ways. In the past.

(Thankfully. I’ve grown with time, and seen myself change over the years… Though of course I still have the odd Alec telling me to “be mature”… as if I aren’t already! Duh…)

Nobody’s perfect, right? But I’m getting there :-)
It’s the journey that matters, the joy isn’t in the destination.
Or at least that’s what they say.

So I saw this friend lying to his girlfriend when we were out together. While he insisted that she wasn’t possessive, I presumed she wouldn’t be too happy to know that he and I were gallivanting for hours and having an awesome time. Which is precisely why he didn’t tell her the truth.

It was easy for me to comment on his behaviour and criticise hers, but it was a bitter realisation for me that I, too, have had a similar disposition and been in the same situation.

He went on to elaborate the girl’s other behaviours viz calling repeatedly when he was with his gang, and expecting him to talk endlessly to her on the phone while his buddies waited. And I listened quietly, reserving my thoughts and spontaneous retorts.

I had been in the girl’s shoes not too many years ago.

The next couple of minutes were enough for me to realise that people don’t lie out of choice. They lie because they want to avoid fights and hurt. They want to protect the ones they love from annoyance and sorrow, and that is why they hide the truth.

They want their partner to accept their preferences but when they suspect disagreement, the easy and only way out is to hide facts by either completely distorting reality or by concealing bits that could cause chaos.

I’m gonna give the entire world the benefit of a doubt and make a blanket statement: Each one of us prefers to tell the truth if only it were accepted with calmness and without judgement.

Wouldn’t life be so much more uncomplicated if we could tell each other the truth?

Obviously we don’t live in utopia, and this question ought to go unanswered. How could I even desire such perfection?! The next thing I’ll be asking for is paradise on earth!

(Though of course, the wise ones among us know it exists right here already if only we open our eyes and sense its presence…)

There have been umpteen times when I saw individuals and groups out to do something that I’d already tried before. Like doing something for the first time. Or doing something in a particular manner. And I’ve either succeeded beyond my wildest dreams or failed miserably or learnt something new.

(That’s the beauty of life – you never walk away empty-handed, you either have a memory to cherish or a lesson to remember.)

On most of these occasions, I’ve felt the need to enrich the person with my experience so as to make his going easier. And then I’ve held myself back. Coz it’s that person’s lesson to learn. Not mine to liberally pass on unsolicited.

Free advice is as welcome as unjustified punishment. And why not? It kills the excitement and novelty.

In fact, even when sought, hang on to your perception and knowledge. Let the other person experiment for him/herself. His learning and perspective might be remarkably different from yours. (Unless of course, it’s something lethal and risky. Not a merry thing to have guilt on your heart, right?)

I admit that it’s also very convenient to say “Oh, I’ve done that” when someone animatedly shares their first experience with you. For example, right after I visited Binsar, my uncle went there for a vacation. I’m not kidding when I tell you that he elaborated upon everything that happened in the journey, right from which train he took to where he ate what. Duh! I’d already done all of that just 2 weeks ago and told him to expect it! And here he was, sharing every moment with me as if it was something I’d neither heard nor read of earlier…

Just as I was about to say something smart, my conscience came forth and forbade me from being nasty. His need to talk was greater than my need to snap. It was his way of sharing his joy, and all he expected me to do was listen. So be it…

Ditto when someone younger (in either age or experience or both) comes with a hop-skip-jump and relates his/her “oh-gosh-you-must-hear-this” tale. And as I listen, I think back to the time I did it and itch to say how things had gone with me.

But, as I just said… sometimes silence is golden. So, curb the silver speech and listen. Enjoy the moment with the first-timer, laugh at his follies, smile at his wins, grin at his vivaciousness… But hold your tongue when you want to display your wit and pride. Some people merely stay mum to smirk at the end and voice, “I knew it but I wanted to see how you fared…” Not happening.

Damn, this post is getting to be another of my self-improvement rants. Duh!

So, anyway, I’ve made life hell for a lot of people by being possessive, short-tempered, demanding, rigid, and untrusting. All coz I was insecure for various reasons. All the times when I thought I was being intelligent and reasonable, and how easily I meted out conditions that others around me were supposed to fulfil.

Now, with over 2.5 decades of life behind me, I realise how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve learnt. I cannot discount any of the lessons I’ve learnt, nor would I prefer to learn them other than how I finally did. It’s made me who I am. And that’s the best way to learn. Yourself. Not through someone else. Experience things first-hand. So what if it hurts? So what if it’s not sweet as you thought it was? At least it’s your own to appreciate.

Peace out!

And hold that thought… Tell it to yourself, coz others will figure out what they have to…

Sooner or later.

That’s their decision and destiny.

Yours, you focus on.

In good faith, I remain…
Princess

Thursday, August 11

You, Me and Stress (Part 4)

Helllooooooo!

Ready for the gyaan session?

Buckle up!!

Let’s start with something extremely important…
- Men and women don’t complain about their partners when they are feeling good. Problems emerge when we are frazzled. Unrealistic expectations (such as that our partners be more like us) emerge when we attempt to get our partner’s help to lower our stress. The problem is never just our partner, it is also our inability to cope with tension and anxiety. It is unreasonable to expect our brains to suddenly adapt and thinking/behaving patterns to change.

In fact, going by experience, people NEVER change. Every transformation that you observe is bound to be artificial and temporary. As is reiterated in the Hollywood flick Ugly Truth, men are incapable of growth, change or progress… (I didn’t say it, don’t pass judgements on my being feministic!)

So, I guess your best bet would be to adjust with your partner the way he/she is, and in case you find that some qualities and aspects are just too annoying or unbearable to live with, then don’t commit. You’ll make life hell for both of you by making that decision, and then expecting him/her to alter habits hardened by time and environment.

- Women find comfort in talking about their problems and men prefer to retreat. This explains why she wants to interact and discuss things, while he withdraws into his cave to forget the problems of the day. Faced with stress, a man will often become quiet. Saying “forget it” is fruitless to hassled women, while a man can simply disconnect if exhausted.

This simple difference can be destructive if not appreciated or respected. When a man needs time alone or doesn’t want to talk, it doesn’t mean he cares less for his partner. Her strong emotional reactions don’t mean she doesn’t appreciate what he does for her.

Brief and direct comments that appear supportive from the Mars perspective can be downright insulting to Venus. She needs to be heard and understood to feel better, and a man usually focuses on solving her problems which leads to arguments and discontent on both sides.

I can cite N number of instances where I’ve taken hard knocks because either I felt rejected when the person expressed a desire (directly or indirectly) to be alone, or a person refused to understand (purposely or involuntarily) that I merely wanted to speak and reduce my frustration.

However, I must also share that there are times when I want to be left alone, and hence, I can empathize when a man expresses the same need. “Express” being the keyword. He has to SAY that he wants to be by himself, as this will assure the woman that it is not she who is annoying him, and he needs to convalesce in solitude. An unsaid assumption also being that he will approach her himself once he feels better...

It would be, thus, fair to say that expectations should be set in taxing situations. So, the woman clearly states, “I need to vent and I would like you to listen” and the man says, “Give me some time alone, and I’ll talk to you when I am back to normal.”

Of course, different people may think differently about this, yet I am going to risk a generalization here. Your comments are welcome!

- A woman has a never-ending to-do list; there is always something that needs to be done. If a man tries to change her perspective about something, she will feel misunderstood and bitter. He will feel defeated and stop trying coz nothing he does is useful. Instead of comparing and prioritizing her actions, men should just listen with interest and empathy and behave thoughtfully.

Things might get a little subjective here. “Behaving thoughtfully” could mean different things to different women. To one, it might mean the guy helping around the house. To another, it might just mean some advice. To a third one, it might mean something else. What remains common to all three, is that the guy should listen CAREFULLY and with INTEREST. On so many occasions, guys only pretend to be paying attention, and it’s a big turn off and irritant. Don’t blame us if that stresses or annoys us women. And once stressed, it’s child’s play for us to stress you out and bash you up. Beware!!

In continuation to the above…
- Men think that relaxing comes before tending to the home. He anyway operates better in emergency situations than mundane tasks, and resting is generally his first priority. What is of the essence, though, is that he has a genuine need to replenish his energy; what a woman considers laziness is actually a real requirement for him on a physical and mental level. Connecting at this time will stress him out further.

On the other hand, a woman can’t rest even if she wants to when there is work to be done. Stress levels increase for women when they return home because there is so much to be accomplished.

She will expect her man to notice, and do things, and he won’t. If she asks him to do it, he thinks she is nagging and do the job so half-heartedly that she would think it was better to do it herself.

The solution is – she needs to ask for his help in specific ways instead of criticising or rejecting him. Give him projects to complete rather than steps to follow. Easy wins motivate a man to do more. Don’t expect him to pitch in, just ASK. And ask directly. If you expect men to notice/conclude for themselves, then you’re mistaken.

Also, unsolicited help from a woman can annoy the man, when he is working on a task. What she sees as loving on her part, and helping him reach his potential, is viewed as interference by him. If you really want to be helpful, appreciate him for what he does.

Now this is interesting…
- It’s natural for men to look at other women. Don’t get offended or doubt him. But he should keep it respectful and brief, and follow it up with more attention and affection to his partner. A woman needs to trust that a man cares for her as much as she cares for him.

I used to feel restless about guys (even friends) ogling at other chics when we were out together. It made me feel less appealing and attractive. However, I learnt soon enough that if I tease the guy and he responds in a casual but genuine way, the situation will pass without any negativity. It actually becomes a joke for life.

How a guy behaves when he watches the girl and how he responds to the girl with him on being questioned is also vital. After all, a girl will not fall for crap and trust you if the evidence points otherwise. As John Gray has written, “look, but don’t drool!” And hey, the same applies to women too, in case they are “bird-watching” the guy should be ok with it! No emotional blackmail and nautanki allowed!!


Gotta wind up… There’s so much to share, I quite lose track of time and space!

G’day bud :-) And give a biiiiiiiiiiig hug to the one you love… The best way to make her and your day…

Cheerio!
Princess

Friday, August 5

Of Hearts and Hurts




“You think we should start thinking about the next step? Do you think it’s time we got introduced to each other’s families? Maybe we should talk about our goals in the near future…”

Gina was in a daze. Was she really hearing all this?

Qabir was her idea of a terrific guy, flaws and all. She had fallen for him a few days after they’d first met, and she had dreamt of their lives together a few weeks later. She felt so right about this, she knew there was no going back. It was meant to be. She and Qabir were destined to be man and wife. All that jazz about pairs being made in heaven was true, and she’d found her soulmate.

In six months, Gina had imagined their entire story as a happy, married couple.

Until Qabir had walked out of her life a couple of months later.

Gina was shocked.

Lost. Helpless. Lonely.

She had recovered from her pain with tremendous effort, and learnt to get over her sorrow amidst the love and support of friends. She let go of her shattered dreams as she immersed herself in work and other activities.

It was tough, complicated all the more by the fact that Qabir was often only a stone’s throw away – they lived close by, and even worked in the same office.

But Gina kept a firm leash on her heart, and promised her friends a million times that she would be cold to him, and show that she was unaffected.

Little did she know that this detachment was precisely what hurt him and goaded him to return to her…

He said that it was a sign when he felt her absence in his life. The emptiness she had left behind, the void that never went away since she’d gone, told him in not so subtle ways that she was his destiny. He wanted her. He had to have her back.

But what about her?

Was she ready to take him back again?

To accept the harsh truth that he’d walked away once, and was wishing to return into her life?

How could she find out for certain if he meant to stay this time?

Could she feel the exact same way for him again?

Did he really deserve to be given another chance after all that had occurred between them?

She did not know.

It was amusing that the question of fidelity and honesty never arose. Both of them were eager (and maybe imprudent) to believe that the other had been loyal even while they were not dating.

Weird are the ways of the heart…

Gina stared at him blankly.

Qabir looked on, a little bewildered by her silence.

“… Or you can tell me now, if you’re already seeing someone else, or have other plans in mind…” he continued. As if it did not really perturb or unsettle him.

Why did it happen this way? When you’re running behind something / someone, that entity moves farther away from you. What you want desperately tends to recede faster than words can say.

And when you accept fate, and mould your actions and ambitions in a way that you are safe and stress-free, life comes up with a whole range of perplexing options and possibilities.

Giving you a glimpse of what can be, a glimmer of hope about something that you’ve long given up…

Why?

Qabir held Gina’s hand. He loved her. Or so Gina felt.

She considered herself a dimwit to be so vulnerable and gullible. She truly deserved to be taken advantage of.

Maybe that’s why Qabir was doing it… Coz it was so easy…

Gina felt like a toy in Qabir’s hands. A doll that he could cuddle when he wished, tampered when he wanted and forget when he desired.

She wondered if he was coming back to her in despair. Not that he was short of opportunities. But well, she was certainly one of the best decisions he’d ever made. He’d himself admitted it so many times.

Gina suddenly felt uncomfortable. Like she needed to get awaqy from Qabir to think straight.

She excused herself, Qabir peering at her as she made her way to the washroom.

Once inside, Gina splashed cool water on her face and wiped it with a tissue.

She looked into the mirror, at the pretty girl who wore her heart on her sleeve and her intentions on her face. She could not fool her own reflection, forget anyone else. She knew what she had to do. She walked out.

“Are you all right?” asked Qabir.

Gina nodded.

“Q-Q-Q-Q-Qabir…” Gina stuttered.

“Yes, sweetheart?”

“All the while you were away, my friends helped me live through my agony. I owe them my confidence and strength today. And here you come, all apologetic and full of promises. And I find myself falling for it all again. I don’t know what I should do. My head and heart refuse to stay on the same side. And I know I ought to be insane to trust you again…”

Qabir lowered his eyes.

He could not gaze into Gina’s hazel grey eyes as she turned down his proposal. Rejected him for being a callous jerk. It was too late, he wanted to kick himself, turn back time and set things right when he still had that chance… when he still had her, emotionally and physically, body and soul.

“… and in fact, I’d vowed that I’d keep away from you…”

It was all over. He’d goofed up. Beyond repair or hope. His life would never be the same without Gina…

“But I love you.”

Qabir looked up expectantly. The voices in his head went silent.

“Yes, I love you”, Gina continued. “Maybe not in the same way that I used to, I don’t even know if I can do that again. But I do want to see where this will take us…”

Qabir hugged her in delight. He did not believe in God, but maybe there was someone out there who was giving him another chance…

Gina hadn’t given up on him. He would never disappoint her again.

Gina closed her eyes as she felt Qabir’s arms around her. She saw the faces of everyone that would be astounded, and angry with her for making this decision.

But sometimes, you have to follow your heart, knowing fully well that it would hurt those that care for you.

She was going to give destiny that chance.

That Qabir was a part of her destiny, she’d let destiny decide…


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P.S : And we've done it again... Selected as Blogadda's Tangy Tuesday Picks!
Link:
http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/08/09/indian-bloggers-mohnish-behl-digital-agencies
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Thanks Harish, and all you lovely readers!

Keep watching this space :)