The meaning of relationships has evolved to become limiting in its essence. Today, more than anything, relationships are based on physical looks, body image and attraction, all of which diminish with time bringing an emptiness and a feeling of loneliness even when everything seems to be going great. Vidya Bhat asks the question “is there spirituality in today’s relationships?”
First of all, let me define spiritualism in the context of relationships. Spirituality is the understanding of the Self. How much you know and understand yourself and how much are you willing to explore your innate nature to help your relationship survive, sustain, build and last?
Are you incomplete without a soul mate?
The world makes us believe that without a soul mate and family, we are incomplete. If single and alone, we are insecure and lonely. The fear of loneliness is enough to drive one crazy and go into depression. However, according to scriptures and spiritual books, the highest of all companionship is the company of the Self. How many of us can say that we are never bored of our own company and we love our own company? We are made to believe we are social creatures and we cannot live without being surrounded by people, love and companionship.
So who and what make us lonely?
Those who claim to love us, those whom we think we know very well, those who have been in our lives for a long time, all create loneliness as it makes us dependent and insecure. We become possessive and insecure with the fear of losing our loved one. We get dependent on certain people in our lives so much that they influence our life and relationships. It is as though we cannot live without our family, friends and loved ones and we are doomed to live a lonely single life if we don’t marry and have a family.
Neeta and Ramesh are a happy couple. They both are hard working professionals, successful at work and have two wonderful kids who are their joy. They have been married for 15 years and everything seems to be going great. Yet, there is a nagging feeling of emptiness. Both are trying to figure out what is wrong with them individually. They are too set into their routine – they go to work and look after the children. Life has come to that. They have discussed it many times, and still haven’t been able to figure outwhat is amiss. They think that a holiday will make the emptiness go away and go for family holiday. But that didn’t seem to help at all.
They decide to go to a counsellor to help them get an answer to this emptiness. Maybe their communication needs work. They have already tried many other solutions, but nothing seemed to have worked.
As they try to unravel the knots of frustration, they go back to the days of their romance in college to figure out what attracted them to each other and what made them commit to each other. They know that over time and with family and career, they have changed. But in the process, what have they lost, they ask themselves.
One of the first things to stir some interest in Neeta was her discovery and realization of her faith and trust in Ramesh. She realizes that the trust that has been built over a period of time and during testing times has diminished and she wonders how that happened and why.
Neeta discusses this with Ramesh. She discovers on introspection that it is not her faith in Ramesh that has decreased, but her faith in herself. She realizes that her faith and determination, the ability that saw them through their ups and downs, their testing times in marriage has diminished.
It has been a good marriage she thinks on introspection. It recognizes that it has been her faith in herself and in Ramesh that gave purpose and meaning to their relationship. She also realizes that she has overcome the big hurdles of married life with that strong faith she has had in herself. She remembers that the nurturing bond she has created by taking care of Ramesh and her in laws, paying attention to their needs, and attending to them had made her trust herself more and build that inner faith in herself.
The havoc insecurities create in our relationship!
So, how and when did the insecurities seep in, she wondered? She had devoted her mind, body, energy and resources to the children as they were growing up. However, she realized that over time, she had wrapped her insecurities around their safety, their studies, their future career and their lives with the constant nagging dark thoughts of her children being unsuccessful and how their failures would affect her and portray her as a bad mother who did not succeed in taking care of her children’s’ studies and life.
She lived in fear that her good image as a mother, a successful professional would be tarnished if she or her children did not succeed, if they failed and did not come out as winners. Her constant need to have a good image of herself in the minds of others had her being an overly strict mother who did not approve of failure – her children’s or hers. She set very high unrealistic levels of expectations and was embarrassed and ashamed when they failed. It was as if she had failed, when her daughter got a B grade. She realized that these high expectations she had set had harmed her as well as her relationship with her children over time. She had unnecessarily focused on failures when they didn’t exist and though her children tried their best to please her by working hard, it seemed that their mother was never satisfied, no matter how hard they tried. The distance grew.
As a woman, her body had changed with the birth of her two children. She had tried to get into shape, but kept slipping up in her routine and had become a little wider at the waist. She was afraid that Ramesh would not be attracted to her and would find other women attractive and leave her or have an affair. When Ramesh commented on any good looking woman on the street, Neeta would become insecure and then wallow in her own insecurity. The sex was good, but she now insisted that they do it in the dark and without the lights on.
Going through these insecurities, Neeta had put herself in a state of stress and worry. And while this was not seen openly, the impact psychologically affected the relationship with her husband and children.
Ramesh on the other hand, was totally unaware of these changes in Neeta. However, as they approached the counsellor for the third visit, Neeta shared her insecurities with him as well and slowly they were able to overcome the self doubts and the trust issues to lead a more relaxing, peaceful life.
The essence of this article is to highlight the role of spiritualism in our relationships. It is the understanding and effort to not get insecure with our imaginative fears and insecurities. It is human instinct to think in negative ways. The effort to think in the absolutely opposite direction is the ability that we need to develop in ourselves. We need to constantly keep telling ourselves to be positive and not take comments personally or create negative meanings out of situations when relationship conflicts arise. It is also human tendency to devote our minds, bodies, energies and resources to protect what we think is ours so that we do not lose those possessions to achieve the end result of happiness and contentment. But, when there is insecurity, there can be no happiness. People will only live in fear and allow it to colour their relationships and lives. Dependence on such relationships is ignorance that needs to be dispelled to pave way for a healthier relationship.
Weneed to give up our attachmentseen through the possessive attitude of people over what they believe is theirs, be it their wives or possessions. Here, I can only say, that people are not objects to be owned. People and relationships are to be nurtured with sincerity, honesty, faithfulness and a commitment, with a good intention of truly caring and with no expectations or agenda.For me, that is the power of love and affection that will make the loneliness and emptiness go away, for all to lead a happier, content and peaceful life!