A single question that is helping me change my perspective

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It’s a human tendency to take life for granted. I know this and you know it too. But why do we do it? Why do we take our family, friends, health, etc for granted? Why do we often miss out on acting in much better ways even though we ‘know’ nothing lasts forever?

Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, essayist, logician and a social critic aptly said once, “In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” Quite honestly, I haven’t make a list of all the things I take for granted in my life (probably it’s LIFE in general that I sometimes take for granted just like any other person) but I have come to a realisation that yes, indeed we don’t value our lives the way we should. I believe the pandemic is teaching us a lot in this domain.

Coming back to the question of why we take things in life for granted, psychology has some answers. Human beings are naturally inclined to ‘novelty’. It’s in our evolutionary history. Life, relationships, health seems like permanent. We think they have been there for a very long time and will stay with us for ‘always’. All this doesn’t feel novel or new so we don’t pay much attention. Until something big happens. The pandemic is giving us many examples. We are seeing with our own eyes that a single hour is enough to change our or the lives of our loved ones completely and forever. For many the wounds are never going to heal but others will forget everything and continue living their lives the way they had been living prior to the pandemic.

Isn’t it the perfect time to change that? After all, the losses are irreversible.

Only a couple days back I was pondering upon the same thought and something crossed my mind. It was nothing but a simple, single question. I have lost a very close relative to COVID-19. While reflecting back upon my own life I reminded myself how lucky I am. Quite frankly, I am very grateful of my life each day. Trying to keep myself in my cousin’s shoes I asked myself a question:


Without a doubt: A LOT!! Yes, my cousin would be willing to pay a lot. The cost will be very very high. Doesn’t that change your perspective, even a little bit? It changed mine. That question strikes me hard enough to pause for a moment and think things over again. Now, I am not saying I have become all perfect and will never take people in my life for granted. I am a human after all. I am conditioned to make mistakes. Nevertheless, I am going to try to never stop asking myself that question. It will keep me in check, I am sure.

The 4 Don’ts in Your Relationships

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Relationship is one of the pillars of our lives without which we cannot sustain. Sabotaging our good relationships for lesser important things is not a wise move. We know this truth but often times we forget our own learned lessons and do the exact thing we try hard to refrain ourselves from doing. Then comes the toxic relationships. In such relationships we are more of a slave to another person and loses our individuality in trying to conform to their ideas and beliefs. Sometimes we become so accustomed to such relationships that we forget there can be a liberation from such people. 

In this modern age we seem to have forgotten the importance of spending quality time with quality people. We are sacrificing them for another promotion, another job and another business project. We are depriving them of our full attention for another post on social media. And finally we are valuing our material possessions over them. Isn’t this all messed up? Yes. It is all messed up. But we can always fix things in our lives. We just need an intention and awareness. We can definitely start with these 4 don’ts if we want to start valuing people in our lives. 

1. The First Don’t/: Don’t text if you can call or meet in person.

Texting is the new normal. Is it New Year? Let’s text. Is it Christmas? Let’s text. Has someone got a promotion? Let’s congratulate through a text. Someone going through some hard time we are aware of? Let’s ask them how they are through a text message. Or even better- lets WhatsApp because it’s the perfect way to communicate. Personally I don’t like receiving text messages especially on occasions or when I am not feeling very good and people choosing texting to know about my well-being. I also do not like sending someone a text message on special occasions or when we haven’t been in touch for some time. I prefer calling at least. If possible meeting them. It is understandable when someone is far away from us and distance is a big issue because of which we can’t meet in person. It is also understandable that calling or meeting people is not possible all the time. In such cases texting is fine. Even during times like these when we have to abide by physical distancing. Unfortunately we have adopted texting so religiously that we don’t realise if that’s even the right thing to do. If you want to nurture your relationships you have to put in the efforts and time. You don’t have to call your loved ones every single day. You don’t even have to meet them every weekend. But whenever you plan to call them or meet them make sure you do that. And don’t let text messages come in between. 

2. The Second Don’t: Don’t let too much time come in between you and your loved ones.

There is this idea that prevails a lot and when I hear people talking about it I say to myself, “But, it’s ridiculous”. People think it is completely okay if they haven’t been in touch with their closed friends and family members for like 3 months or 6 months or even an year. They tell themselves that when there is love deep down their hearts then not being in touch is not an issue. Well, it is true. But only to an extent. We are living in a fast paced world and losing touch with people is very common. It happens with everyone. And letting ‘busyness’ come in between is just an excuse. While it is not possible and appropriate to call people everyday we should definitely make time. If you and your friend have very demanding jobs and family commitments schedule a call or meeting that works for both of you. However you do it just do not let too much time come in between. Sometimes it ruins a lot of relationships and we should know how to keep good people in our lives. 

3. The Third Don’t: Don’t make everything about yourself.

I am sure you have met many people who make everything about themselves. When you message or call them or even meet them they will eventually divert the whole conversation towards themselves. I have met such people and I do not prefer this quality in them. It’s not that they are bad people it’s just that they are not mature enough to understand a good and healthy conversation happens when everyone participates equally. If only one person is talking and the other person is listening then it’s not a conversation. Often times it happens that our friend is going through some hardships and in such situations it is our responsibility to become better listeners than talkers. Maybe the moment demands us to just listen mindfully and let our friend talk. This is a completely different scenario and it is completely apt to let our friend makes things about himself/herself. But a lot of times things are not so vulnerable and delicate and if we are arrogant we are definitely going to gather all the attention towards ourselves. There is so much that the other person might have to say and he/she will fail to do so if we are not going to give them a chance. So the next time you are having a conversation either with your loved ones or people in general make sure you take a step back and tell yourself that not everything is about you.

4. The Fourth Don’t: Don’t take people for granted.

We should not take good people in our lives for granted. I know it is easier said than done. But it’s worth the idea. It’s quite easy these days to form new relationships because of all this constant connectivity we have with everyone. Thanks to technology! At the same time, it is very hard to maintain and nurture them. It’s like watering a plant regularly and making sure it gets enough sunlight. The moment we stop doing all the necessary things the plant is going to die. The same thing happens in human relationships. If both the parties are not going to put in the necessary time and efforts in their relationship and take the other person for granted then the relationship is going to die soon. If you expect your friends or family to call you every time and give forth an excuse that you have been busy then you are just fooling yourself. Why? Firstly, busy is a decision. People always have time for what’s important in their lives. The fact you don’t call them simply means it is not a priority for you right now. And secondly, you are taking them for granted and they know you are. You believe if you are not calling them then they will because they do it every time and you don’t bother picking up the phone. Stop taking people for granted. Nobody is here till eternity.