The Essence of Human Relationship
By Nasim Hassan
During the course of my life, I have observed relationships falling apart over trifling annoyances. This invariably happens when we ignore the essentials of bonds that hold us together. There are multiple psychological, cultural and societal elements that sustain relationships between individuals, each one playing its important role in the background.
What are these essential interactions that keep a relationship on track?
The first essential, and most important, element for enduring relationships is communication. Communication is a basic key to any relationship. If communication breaks down for any reason, then there is no relationship. A few generations ago, people lived close by in a neighborhood, city, state or country. It was very easy to meet and discuss issues of mutual interest. While modern-day economy has pushed family members and friends to faraway places, technology has provided us communication tools to interact on phone, Skype, face book and email. So if we are keen to maintain our relationship, the first step in this undertaking is to keep the communication link intact.
The second important essential for maintaining a relationhip is tolerance. We must be tolerant to the faults or drawbacks of a person whom we want to retain as a friend. All human beings have certain characteristics. Some are winsome while others may not win our appreciation. No relationship can be sustained without tolerance of human faults. We have to keep our focus on the good attributes of a person and ignore his faults. At any juncture when the negatives multiply or become intolerable the relationship is the first casualty and snaps.
It is indeed difficult to point out the failings of a friend. However, it is imperative to point them out in a polite manner. This gives the other person a chance to make amends. He is likely to appear less irritable. He should be conveyed the message.
Most of us keep our thoughts to ourselves and seldom let the offender know what is bothering us. We should give the other person a chance to clarify his position. We could have misunderstood him. Lack of communication adds fuel to simmering tensions. I have observed many people keeping the issues to themselves. They may like to avoid confrontation but this attitude is not very helpful. Some people communicate the problems to others to relieve themselves. After a few days or weeks the unpleasantness returns but then that is a stage when things get out of hand. The person who receives our opinion or comment colors it to his liking. This is particularly true about negative comments or opinions.
After tolerance, the second essential to sustain a relationship is forgiveness. It acts both ways. People in any relationship not only have to forgive but also to accept an apology. Without forgiveness no relationship can survive. If we keep the anger within us and do not accept the offender’s apology the relationship is doomed.
Saying sorry is perhaps the most difficult and yet the most important thing to do. It is not easy. Confronted with such a situation, our own ego and the fault of the other person stare us in the face. When the word sorry is not uttered, or received in earnest, I have observed people opting for silence. The trifling annoyance plaguing a relationship intensifies and leads to the end of the road. Even loving relationships get frayed and end unceremoniously.
Here I like to point out a very simple and commonsense approach to maintain any relationship, whether personal or professional. Fairness in dealing with other people results in a stable relationship. In general, women have a legal right to inherit property from the parents. However, in South Asia, I have repeatedly seen women being sidelined without getting any inheritance. This strains the relationship between brothers, sisters, daughters and parents.
If a fair agreement is reached, then the relationship can continue. Fairness matters in our professional lives. If the employees are treated fairly they work with zest and devotion. If treated unfairly, they grumble endlessly and are always looking to take advantage of a situation.
Lastly, I would like to point out the ceaseless ongoing changes that take place in our life. A relationship cannot stay static at different stages of life. Relationships go through a process of evolution and continue to change from time to time. A child has a relationship with parents which changes when he approaches his teenage years. The change continues when kids grow up, get married, and have their own children. Both parents and children have to adapt to the evolving scene and adjust their behavioral pattern accordingly.
Each stage marks a critical juncture in life and calls for transformation in a relationship. Each one of us has to demonstrate an attitudinal change at different periods in time.
Each station in life has its own ambiance. Understanding the change goes a long way in keeping a relationship free from friction. Comments are welcome at [email protected]