My team at work is aged between 24 to 30 years, and (besides me) all are single. Some of them are looking for love, others are dating and confused, and a few are dating someone their families would never approve of. So my Monday tips (a ritual we began couple of months ago) today were all about love.
For those who are still seeking the right person:
1. If you don’t have someone in your life, work on being so happy and self-contained that you never really miss having anyone in your life. When you achieve that level of self-comfort and self-love, the universe responds with an equal partner. And in any case, by then, you really don’t care either way but you’d be happy to share your happiness with someone.
2. Those who need to do something, go out and do it come what may. This is my experience from life — for instance, those who want to lose weight just do it. Those who want to be successful in their careers just do it. So if you haven’t yet ‘done it’ and got yourself a partner, chances are, you don’t really want it. You have built certain walls inside yourself against love. Maybe you’ve been hurt or maybe you’re afraid of being hurt. Maybe you feel love is dangerous and you’re guarding yourself out of protective instinct. In any case, the answer is going back to point 1 and learning to love yourself and being whole within yourself. And then singledom is as heavenly as any other state of life.
For those who are dating but confused if they’ve found the right person yet, these are the parameters to help you decide:
1. Are you good friends? Friendship is key for a long, committed relationship. If you can’t have long meaningful conversations (and silences) with one another, then it probably isn’t a great idea.
2. Do you have physical chemistry? In a context such as India where a lot of the kids in my team will end up in arranged marriages, it’s essential to make sure there is some physical attraction with the person they’re all set to marry. You have to share the bed of this person for the rest of your life. It better be a pleasant experience. Listen to your body; it knows what is right for you.
3. Trust and respect. Those are the other most important ingredients in any long-term relationship. You should want to call the other person ‘aap‘ (respectful Hindi term for ‘you’) even if you don’t do it in real life (many young people use the more familiar ‘tum‘ for their partners). And you should be able to trust each other; if there are causes or cases of infidelity or financial mistrust, either work on them or walk away. Don’t ignore it.
For those who are in love with someone their parents don’t approve of:
1. Since India is a multi-religious, multi-caste and multi-lingual nation, it’s common to find ‘mixed’ couples these days. But there’s often a lot of back-story before they make it to ‘happily ever after’. In most cases, the biggest and only hurdle are the parents. The first thing in such a situation is to have conviction — unless YOU are 100% sure that this is the right person for you, your parents will jump to find excuses and opposition to the relationship.
2. Parents are hardwired to protect you. So unless you can prove to them that you are strong enough to take care of yourself, they’ll do anything to protect you even if it means making you miserable. So having that conviction in your love story (point 1) will not only make you more determined to go ahead and help you appreciate your partner, it will also make your parents respect you a little more.
3. For girls in such situations, it’s vital to make sure the boy is TOTALLY committed to the relationship. He should be willing to move mountains for you. After all, it’s the woman who leaves her home and moves in with the man. Unless he is going to be there for you later, you’re asking for trouble – you may have forsaken your own family by then. If he shows even the slightest hesitation, buys time or makes excuses about commitment, run a mile.
4. Success is measured by what you have to give up in order to get it. Is this man or woman worth leaving your entire family / clan behind? Is this person worth standing up to 50 people for the rest of your life or changing your religion? If you have any doubt about that, stop. Don’t move ahead. There are other ways of being in a relationship besides marriage.
Rest assured, if the boy and girl are both convinced and committed to one another, if they have clarity and courage, then I promise you, the entire universe will conspire in your favour. Love is magic and love is also for real. Believe in it.
4 thoughts on “Lessons in love (from an older person to her younger colleagues)”
Very interesting to see the concerns which young women in India have on your blog. I live in Trinidad and Tobago. Our norms are fractured….we have a very diverse ethnic mix of people, religions and customs…lots of sub-culture and different expectations depending on the groups you come from. But one thing is familiar…seeking happiness for yourself and a woman is mostly seen as selfish. I noted where you advise about assuring the seriousness of the boy as it is the woman who leaves her family. In contrast, I would recommend always to my daughter that she be financially independent, able to look after herself…before entering into a serious relationship. Different cultures I guess… 🙂
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Hi Samantha! What a wonderful comment. Yes, different cultures. The new generation of Indian girls are going out and working, but they will still leave their homes to live with the men they marry. Many will leave their jobs to raise children. Only in certain segments of society will women continue to work, make money and live life on their own terms even after marriage. But India is changing and it’s good to see young men and women changing too. Thank you so much for dropping by on my blog!
I enjoyed reading your article, great suggestions! I do agree with you, “work on being so happy and self-contained that you never really miss having anyone in your life.” That’s right, before we can love someone else, the first step is to love ourselves. Wish you a happy day, full of love!
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Same to you dear Duccio 🙂