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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Relationships: respecting differences

Bud and bristle

The potential for a conflict lies in differences between two individual entities. This is what makes life sweet and sour, and of course, different.(Yeah, I was thinking of the Maggi tomato ketchup ad) Imagine an extreme alternative: you have a constant companion who agrees to everything you say, wears the same kind of clothes, likes the same food, reads the same books, does the same job and so on and so forth. How predictable and how boring!

Even identical twins develop their own tastes. I have been fortunate enough to befriend a pair in my high school. I could also tell them apart- which was almost an impossible task for others. When I started noting the subtle differences they had- like their voice modulation, or their choice of spectacle frames, it was a piece of cake. Of course, I didn't divulge my little secret to the rest of my classmates then; I let myself bask in the reflected glory of their marvel.

When you start acknowledging the differences you have, you begin to learn to avoid unnecessary conflicts, and save a lot of unpleasantness. Though it is difficult sometimes: an aberrant behavior in your books might outrightly disgust you- like a child being rude to his/her parents, or pedophilia. But when you analyze, even though you might not accept it, you might see the reason why.

I believe that when you begin to value one relationship, you begin to respect other relations too. A near one might have been brought up with a different value system than you were. And that can influence his/her behavioral patterns considerably- if not solely. We see ourselves changing in a relation to accommodate the other. The other one undergoes changes too, we just don't observe them closely as we do ourselves and hence miss them out partially or completely.

Sometimes the changes are not even tangible, visible change. How do you map a thought process? I believe that I have become a lot more positive about my general outlook towards life and a lot more understanding, a little less aggressive and quick to show my temper. The outward manifestation (the later two) are more perceptible than the former two, which I believe are the causes. Not necessarily it has been imposed upon me by someone else, nor is it an improved version of Aparna Kar in every aspect. It is because I choose to be different. In my current lifestyle, aggression amounts to unprofessionalism. And I don't want to confuse it with assertiveness.

There are numerous other factors that can make you a different human being than you started with. Life acquaints you with some. Others you acquire by observation. Does it mean you can love your previous self more or less than your current self? I don't think so. When I look back and read the old pages of my blog sometimes, I get back in touch with the kind of person I was. Sometimes I feel jealous of my own self and covet the naivety. At others, I simply feel amused or even reverent. Whatever the difference lies : you with your own self or with an external being, it's best to acknowledge it. And work on it where it's necessary.

Quote of the day:
A beautiful relationship does not depend upon how good we understand someone but on how well we avoid misunderstandings.

Plus, something from Mark Gungor to understand differences better, with a little chortle if you may.


dolby said...

Not completely agreeable.

Aparna Kar said...

"Not completely agreeable." Can you be more explicit?

Mona said...

"The other one undergoes changes too, we just don't observe them closely as we do ourselves and hence miss them out partially or completely." - very true....

candid diary said...

Lovely post with clarity of thought.
Don’t feel bored as I have to agree with your ideas :D
I have no reason to disagree with your brainwaves.

dolby said...

Your first point : "The potential for a conflict lies in the differences between two individual entities."

The potential for conflict lies in the failure to understand/realize the difference between two individual entities. Not just the difference alone. When people understand and start appreciating the differences at either side no matter how different they are, i think there will be no conflict at all. India is so diversified where Hindus and Muslims live as brothers and sisters. Hindus feel killing another organism is sin. But Muslims consider having meat. This is one huge difference and one good reason to have conflict for lifetime. But if there is an understanding at the Muslim side that "For Hindus animals are god. Lets not do it deliberately in front of them as it will hurt their feeling" and at the Hindu side "Eating flesh is some of their customs. They have all rights unless they don't kill my cow or goat. So as a Hindu i cant force my thoughts on them however good i may feel about my way". Basically its takes lot of maturity to accept these differences/changes. It's something like TRUE LOVE where you really don't bother about the other side. How tall the man is and how short the women is? How fair the lady is and how surly the man is? How rich the women is and how poor the man is? In spite of immense difference you have but still you may find the LOVE for each other just bcos you both understand each other well and many a times it's those differences which makes you understand the other side better. And how much you understand by saying "I can understand?" really matters for the conflict you may end up with the other side. So i would say its not the difference in personalities which makes it directly proportional to conflict. Rather the level of understanding to appreciate/accept the difference. Did i made my first point clear?

dolby said...

Next point: "Imagine an extreme alternative: you have a constant companion who agrees to everything you say, wears the same kind of clothes, likes the same food, reads the same books, does the same job and so on and so forth. How predictable and how boring!"

Before you read on... Remember we are different but that doesn't mean we have to end up with a conflict in the cyber world. These are just my views and i hope you will understand. "How predictable and how boring!"... true but that need not be compared with someone but rather that is something to self introspect. In one of my previous post i mentioned this as

"Embrace change: If everything remains the same, how vague it would be. Prepare urself to embrace change, not jus to embrace the change wht u anticipate. How much interesting it will be to keep on reading the same “Da Vinci Code” everyday? First time is ok. May be second or third time is also ok. Come on man not life long. Give me a break. We all need new stories. Try to visualize everyday as a new story in the same chapter or new chapter in the same story. It’s this everyday suspense, which keeps the clock ticking."

"What’s new for today?: Have you ever tried painting? How about a indo-chinese or indo-mexican dish? Ur balance on roller skates? Ur luck in the ping pong game on the road side shop? Being an engineer trying to get a glimpse of banking notations? And what not? Try. Try something new. Something weird u thought but have never tried. I am not a born photographer or a blogger neither a web designer etc etc. What all I am doing is, trying to try everything in me. It’s not that always the bits and pieces have to make a complete picture. It’s these vagaries in life which make the run to be fun."

To conclude this, just a statistics and survey about doctors marrying doctors. They call it the MD2 (MD squared). One of the important conclusion is

"Nonetheless, both men and women MD2s enjoyed many advantages, compared to doctors whose spouses were not physicians. Their family incomes were substantially higher than the family incomes of other physicians (70 percent of MD2 households earned more than $200,000 compared to 47 percent of other doctors' households), they more often benefited from sharing professional interests with their spouses, and more often felt their spouses' careers were successful. Moreover, MD2s achieved career and family goals as often as doctors who married non-physicians, and they experienced conflict between their professional and family roles no more frequently than did other doctors."

Of course other side of the story is also there. But at least this tells what i mean t by "Completely not agreeable"

Aparna Kar said...

" failure to understand/realize the difference between two individual entities" That has been the whole point. But what I also explained was that it's the difference which gives rise to the possibility of a conflict and also makes life more interesting.

You must also admit that certain differences can never be bridged. And I say this from experience. Some people will never make an effort to see things your way- call it lack of emotional maturity or what you may. But the fact remains, and then even true love falls short to amend thing or keep things at a workable level. The effort has to be from both sides - be it a relation between two individuals, or peaceful co-existence between two religions or races as you rightly pointed out. Also, if you want to have conflicts/war a trifle difference can become an excuse and you might try to impose your view as the right one. Truth is - there's no absolute truth. What we perceive from our end might change considerably when we assume the position from where someone else sees it. But we don't do it.

Aparna Kar said...

The survey about the MD2 is inconclusive. Do you mean to suggest that people marrying into the same profession have better scope for professional advancement? I beg to differ and this is a serious issue. At the end, it boils to individual perceptions. Men have done well with housewives (of course that's household production and the GDP of a country would have risen considerably if their contribution was counted too.)

The argument is interesting. And so is your take on change. You can't embrace change always. At times, change embraces you and you can't run away from it. Some of the transformations that place will be owing to your active efforts, some elements will be drilled into you by environment. All in all, I am a worshiper of change.

Bubbles of FireWhiskey said...

i think the quote at the end of the post summed it all up beautifully...

dolby said...

seems u added the last quote of late...

Anyway coming to what u said "You must also admit that certain differences can never be bridged."... i dint get fully what u mean but shall i call it the attitude clash???.. if so no use, i agree.. u said "differences lead to conflict and extreme alternative of having someone who nods for everything will be boring... and u concluded this difference is what makes life more interesting..."

I say, in spite of differences still there could be no conflict if there is this understanding factor... Life remains interesting

Even if the other side is someone with all my taste still life shouldn't be boring unless i fail to break my own monotonous interest...

"You cant embrace change always"... YES one cant embrace it when it was not the change what they anticipated... if so then obviously change will embrace them...

"All in all, I am a worshiper of change."... Me too... it looks funny to me when u look at change this way... most of the people get bored just bcos of monotonous routine... CHANGE does happens all the time (I mean its also a routine process)... but we hardly felt monotonous about change

To conclude (shld i call it that way)... It's WE who says "Opposite attracts" and also "birds of same feather flock together"... may this is what they call two sides of a coin...

And for MD2 Yes.. its inconclusive in a way!