Mother – A Wondrous Angel

We recently celebrated Mothers Day on May 9th. I wanted to do something special for my mother on that day. Since we could not take her out for dinner or get her any gifts due to the Covid 19 situation, I thought I will give her a break and handle her workload for the day. I thought that was equivalent to a day off at a resort if she does not have to cook and clean all day. I was in for a surprise.

All through the day, my mother kept interfering with my work. She was not able to relax and enjoy her holiday. My mom was constantly following me around the house as I worked. She was not relaxing in front of the TV or pursuing any of her hobbies. I thought that she might be worried that I am not doing a good job.

When I asked her what she would like to eat, my mom listed stuff that dad or I enjoy eating. She would insist on cooking it herself as a thank you for doing the housework. I was confused and told her that this was her mothers day gift. She should not thank me for it. My mother and I ended up arguing about her reason for not relaxing and enjoying the holiday.

By the end of the day, I realized that the whole idea was causing damage rather than being a gift. I sat her down and asked her what her problem was. I see that she could not relax even for a day and would interfere at every step. I gently prodded to see if she did not appreciate the gift. The answer she gave me was an insight into how a mother thinks.

She said she did not want a holiday from the housework though she appears to complain about it. She said that she complains so that we would work along with her. She felt she has a connection and communication line with us while we do the work. She was following me around the house and interfering in the work, only to start a conversation with me. She had no particular favourites in her mind because all the foods that we, her children, love bring back memories of us as kids. Every time she cooked my favourite dish, she reminisced on an incident where I was happy. That made her happy.

A mother doesn’t want a holiday from her responsibilities. She just wants her children to connect back with her in a way we did when we were young. She wants to feel relevant in our lives, especially now that we have become independent. Knowing this, I asked her for a redo of the gift. I promised to help her in the kitchen whenever I can. That way, she can teach me recipes I already know. I would help her clean the house, and she can teach me the importance of cleanliness all over again. This would be the best gift I could think of.

Make Sure Your Sacrifices Are Valued

A sacrifice means an act of giving up something of value for the sake of others. You can sacrifice your time, money, any possession etc, for the benefit of others. These ‘others’ that I refer to can be family, friends, siblings, co-workers, or obscure strangers for the purpose of a good cause.

When we give up something as a sacrifice, we look at it as a good deed, we don’t expect anything in return. However, in recent times, I have seen a transformation in the meaning of sacrifice. We are starting to expect something in return every time we sacrifice something. We expect intangible things like gratitude, loyalty, love and in some extreme cases, even servitude of our sacrifices. This shift in our expectations has adulterated the meaning and importance of sacrifice. People started viewing a sacrifice as a tool to bind someone to oneself, with a sense of duty and gratitude. Do I sound too dramatic?? Let me explain.

How many times have we heard the term; ‘after all the sacrifices I’ve made for you, is this what you give me?’; ‘is this your way of repaying us for our sacrifices?’; ‘don’t let my sacrifice go to waste’. I’m sure we have all said this at some point in life or had people say this to us. But, the response to these charges is what shows the importance of the sacrifice. When the opposite person says, ‘well who asked you to make those sacrifices?, I did not’; ‘You expect me to repay you for your sacrifice?’; then all our troubles appear insignificant and egotistical.

Neither do these accusations nor do the rejoinders make you a bad person. I am not trying to judge anyone here. It is only natural for a person to have expectations from loved ones. We love them, we want the best for them and we are ready to give up anything for them. In our rush to shower them with love, we forget what they need and want. We keep them guarded against all hardships, grief and loss.

When our loved ones do not know what we lost for them, how can they appreciate it? When they don’t go through the trouble of purchasing groceries, cooking a meal, maybe burn a finger or two, clean everything afterwards, how can a person appreciate the value of a delicious breakfast? We cannot blame them for not thanking us enough when they don’t know what trouble we went through.

The example I have given is very small, although it applies to most things that we take for granted. You may ask me what the solution is? Obviously, we cannot go around enumerating what all we have forfeited, at every step of the way. At the same time, we cannot sit by and stay detached when our loved ones are having difficulty. Let’s give more importance to communication, speak freely about what is needed and how to get what we want. Stop assuming on behalf of others and then blame them for not valuing you. If you have any expectations from loved ones, state them frankly rather than disguise them as repayment for past sacrifices.

Let me know what you think about this. Is this a real problem or is this unreal? What do you think of my suggestion? Does it feel utopian to you?

Counting My Blessings This Year

Hello readers!!
This year has been a memorable one for me due to various reasons. Some good reasons and some not so good reasons. You might say that is what life is about. There are ups and downs in everyone’s life. I have shared a few significant events of my life with you through my blog posts.

My year started out with high hopes and grand plans. The mood was upbeat, with the buzz of activity. As we were renovating our house, the world looked brighter and, I felt optimistic.

I have started my blog this year….that is definitely a happy memory. It has become a means to channel and compartmentalise my thoughts into valuable lessons. I would have forgotten them otherwise.

I have made some new friends this year. I became acquainted with some great people that inspire me and motivate me to work harder.

I have witnessed the loss of a dear cousin. I may not have been very open with my affection for this brother, but I sorely miss him.p

I also attended the marriage of a niece and a nephew. They were such joyful occasions that brought the whole family together.

As I keep counting the events of the year, I realised that despite the dreary mood, my year had been a reasonably fortunate one. In the face of some unfortunate news, I overlooked all the good things that happened to me. Isn’t this a typical situation? We are stuck on one news (it could be good or bad) and we ignore all the rest of the world. We even fail to see how that single event fits into the grander scheme of life events.

Attitude For Gratitude

Everyone must develop an attitude for gratitude. This is one of the main lessons that is taught by all self-help gurus, life coaches, personality development speakers etc. They always say that we must be grateful for what we have. We must say thank you to God or the universe or the people around us. Who you thank depends on what you are thankful for.

Every time I heard this phrase, I thought, “What do I have to be thankful for?” My job was a dead-end one, my personal life was going nowhere; I saw people around me moving forward while I felt stagnant. I had a very depressing sense of life. Every time I spoke to my sisters, I would always complain about my problems. Sometimes they would just listen, sometimes they would correct me on my thinking. My friends would try to reassure me and make me see the good in life around me. Some friends even introduced me to life coaches to help me find joy. My parents supported me by being patient and understanding. I appreciated all their efforts and yet, I found nothing to grateful for.

My mood continued to be sad for a few months. I don’t quite remember what made me turn to God for help, but I did that. I went to a temple, sat down and told my troubles to God. I asked him, “What is there to be grateful for in my life?” That was when my question was answered.

Before you think that I went crazy, let me explain, God did not actually answer my question. I had an epiphany while I was going to work. Though I have always complained of not having anything to be grateful for, I forgot about the biggest gift I always had, ‘someone to speak to’.

I always had my sisters, whom I ran to with my complaints. My friends tried to cheer me up. My parents never complained about my sour moods. My relatives also tried to help me find a way out. I have so much to be grateful for right here.

My job might be a dead-end one, but it keeps me busy through the day. My pay might be bad, but it keeps a roof on my head and food to eat. I have difficulties, but I have people who will listen to them. Whenever I feel lost, I have people who will show me the way back home. If I am moody, I have friends to cheer me up. What more can I ask for in life?

Indeed, I am not as successful as I could be or as rich as the next person. I might not lead as fulfilling a life as someone else. However, I still have the potential to achieve them. I have the means and resources to turn things around for myself.

That day, I thanked God, the universe and life in general for giving me all this. I found a direction to move forward in. Each and every one of us has the potential to be the best. We can achieve greatness and reach the highest point in our life. We just do not realize what we have. We always look at things we do not have and we feel bad. It reminds me of a proverb that my mother told us. There was once a man who was bothered about picking up the grains of wheat that fell down in front. He was so busy picking them, he missed all the tasty fruits and melons that were behind him. It is time we wake up and build our attitude for gratitude.